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Can one use ‘adventure racing girls’ and ‘make-up’ in the same sentence? Hell yes!

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Women in Adventure Racing 2019 Calendar – post photo shoot report

Written by Joléne Matthysen. Adventurer, adventure racer, Co-Founder of Addicted2Adventure.co.za and ‘model’ for the ‘Woman in Adventure Racing 2019 calendar’ 🙂


Owner of Adventure Life and adventure photographer for the ‘Woman in Adventure Racing 2019 calendar’ shoot, Terence Vrugtman, wore a strange looking silver dish on his back the whole weekend of the shoot, resulting in a rather funny and questioning comment from one of the ‘models’, Tracey Campbell: “Maybe we’re all aliens and Terence is preventing us from being abducted!” 🙂

That sentence was the inspiration I needed for writing this blog post.

Imagine throwing a bunch of adventure racing girls together for a full weekend, staying together on the peaceful Sanctuary Life Farm in the Magaliesberg area, enjoying meals together, sipping on some refreshing wine, motivating and complimenting each other after every individual’s shoot…alarming Terence and Simon Faragher, the videographer and co-owner of Elevated Adventure Films as well as the only two guys on the shoot, as all the giggling and laughter echoed through the Tonquani & Cedarberg kloofs, hoping that no one had fallen off the mountain, and triggering the thought that these girls must be from another planet.

Why? Because there was no fighting, bad mouthing, jealousy or even mood swings visible on this weekend. An amazing, first time ever project dreamed up by Sharla Faragher, who project managed and professionally staged the girls.

What a start to the weekend. Sundowners on the Sanctuary Life Farm

Only 6 of the 12 adventure racing girls, each girl representing one month in the 2019 calendar, was available for the shoot the weekend from 7 – 9 September 2018, in the beautiful Magaliesberg, South Africa.

Fact: 🙂 The Magaliesberg mountains are of the oldest in the world and the region is recognised as the birthplace of mankind.

Never try to restrict adventure racing girls. Don’t even dare 🙂 From L to R: Tracey Campbell, Madelief Roux, Brigitte Joubert, Joléne Matthysen, Marike van der Merwe, Marietjie Bentz & Sharla Faragher

The remaining 6 girls will be treated to their photo shoot on the weekend of the 12th – 14th of October 2018. They will experience their shoot in the gob-smacking beautiful Middleton area in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Here’s a sneak peek and a little bragging about the first 6 adventure racing girls:

Sat, 8 Sept 2018:

  • The first shoot was done at the Buffelspoortdam in the North-West Province at 05:30’ish in the morning. The sensible temperature was 5 degrees Celsius and the water which Brigitte Joubert, the first ‘model’ of the day had to stand in for her ‘Fluid Kayak shot’ were cccccold! Only a few screams, laughs and goose bumps to get the perfect sunrise shot! Wow – she looked strong, amped and beautiful.

    I don’t want to give away too much of the photo…but just imagine what the final product is going to look like… From L to R: Brigitte Joubert, Terence Vrugtman & Simon Faragher


  • Marike van der Merwe who raced with me in the Expedition India adventure race in 2017 was called next. She had to represent the Red Paddle Co. Stand Up Paddle (SUP) discipline, one of the legs we sometimes get to do in an adventure race. The flower in her hair, the funky pants, her smile and her stunning legs resulted in a photo for the magazine covers.

    Wow is all I can say! Marike van der Merwe


  • I am sure many people can remember Tracey Campbell from the post-race video of Expedition Africa – Knysna 2016, where she cried out of fear for having to go down a 50m abseil – heights being her greatest fear. Well, she was the girl who specifically asked for the 80m abseil/jumar shoot location because, as she said, she really wanted to conquer this fear. Within her first couple of steps down this scary high cliff, she breathed hard yet anxiously. She came back to the top once, but then…then she decided to tackle this beast. She went down, slowly, surely, biting her lip and her heart pulsing. She did it!!! She made it!!! Wow – sooo proud of this wonder woman! The strength of this beauty, her arms, legs, abs….everything…she is a different kind of breed indeed.

    Tracey being assisted by Alistair from CityRock JHB to get the perfect shot


  • Then the kloof and clear pools beckoned to us. With backpacks, camera gear and excitement, everyone headed down to the kloof which welcomed us with ferns, rocks, pool, a waterfall and absolute quietness. Madelief Roux, a strong woman, inside and out, had to stand on a cliff, looking down as if she was going to jump and still tried to look confident for a photo. Her beautiful muscled and toned body really got all of our attention. If I looked like that, I would feel like Miss Universe. She ended up opting out for her second location shoot due to the cold water.

    Rocks, a pool and a ‘model’ of note! From L to R: Madelief Roux & Terence Vrugtman


  • The 5th location was prepped for me, Joléne Matthysen, with every detail in place. As I’m not a model, beauty queen or even a good ‘selfie poser’, the confidence and comfort I have received from the media team was heart-warming. This was when I realised how good Terence is within his photography profession. It was also amazing to see how well Sharla knows me as she chose a location and ‘props’ that spoke to my heart and soul. Both my locations were at night, in a stable on the farm where we were staying. Thousands of stars, me sitting on some hay, enjoying a few minutes of rest before I continued with the ‘race’. The 2nd shot was even better, horses decided to join in the fun. Watch this space!

    Spot the horses …. 🙂 Joléne Matthysen


Sun, 9 Sept 2018:

  • The location for this shoot was kept a secret until we have arrived. Shelly Plumb, the last ‘model’ for the weekend, was to run with the elephants at the Askari Game Lodge. How African is that?!? She looked great and her running shots were just powerful. The ellies even greeted us with their thundering rumbles, as if they were telling us that they had also enjoyed the shoot.

    These gentle giants, the ellies, was really accommodating and played ‘their part’ well. From L to R: Sharla Faragher, Terence Vrugtman, Simon Faragher & Shelly Plumb

    Soooo, my favourite part of this whole weekend was when Brigitte, Terence, Simon and myself jumped from a 6m+ rock into the kloofs’ ice cold water. They don’t call it the Help Help pools for nothing – it was scaaary! It’s here where I have lived my ultimate passion again…being Addicted2Adventure!

    Jump, fall, scream, shiver … all-in-one! Joléne Matthysen

    The hike in the kloof back to the vehicles after all the shoots were done for the day – an adventure on its own. L: Joléne Matthysen, R: Marike van der Merwe

    As they say “a cup of tea is nice”. So to say the weekend was nice…will be an insult. This weekend was amazing, awesome, beautiful, super, special, dazzling, glamorous, adventurous, muscular, skinny, ambitious, brave, happy, jolly, nervous, proud… I’m running out of adjectives here but I’m sure you get the point 🙂


One very important thing that is on my heart: I hope that this blog post as well as this ‘Woman in Adventure Racing 2019 calendar’ will inspire and motivate all the adventure racing girls and wanna-be-adventure racing girls out there. Like Walt Disney said: “If you can dream it – you can do it!”

‘Calendar girls’, I can’t wait to see you all at the next adventure races. As Heidi Muller, one of the 12 calendar models and co-owner of Kinetic Events always says:


  • When will this calendar be launched? If all goes according to plan: beginning of Nov 2018
  • Addicted2Adventure.co.za is a proud sponsor for this project. Thank you to all the other sponsors for assisting in making this project become a reality
  • A BIG thank you to Sharla & Simon Faragher from Elevated Adventure Films. Your professionalism and loving attitudes are always outstanding
  • Thanks A LOT to Terence Vrugtman from Adventure Life, a guy who’s passion is reflecting in his adventure photos

A powerful, passionate and productive team. From L to R: Terence Vrugtman from Adventure Life, Sharla & Simon Faragher from Elevated Adventure Films

The proud sponsors


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