John Collins is a legend in Adventure Racing with a win at the 2016 Expedition Africa as a standout result. At the age of 47 John is still a hardy competitor but he is also a father and family man with a deep love for wilderness areas.

Let’s find out what really makes him tick;

1. Who is John Collins?

In my formative years, I followed my parents around on their geological prospecting trips. The outdoor ethos was reinforced during my schooling years at Treveton College which had this outdoor pursuits program. During this period I had good success in middle and long distance running. Post-school it took a year or two to return to competitive sport. It was at the age of 22 that a good friend of mine entered us into South Africa’s 3rd or 4th Adventure Race. Being rated as underdogs, we manage to pull off one of our most convincing victories to date. This happened not because of our fitness, but rather our strategy and implementation thereof. This put Mark (my brother) and I on this incredible journey that has lasted 27 years – yip – at least 20 years past my sell-by date. We met our wives on this journey. In fact, I travelled around the world twice with my wife before she knew my name (unforgivable). We managed to start a business supplying the sports industry with products and services over the years and even an event or two.

2. Where is home?


3. When did you fall in love with Adventure Racing/Trail Running?

In 1997

4. What is it that attracts you to the sport? The sport requires a mixture of elements including fitness, endurance & navigation. The race courses are always new and in wilderness areas.

5. Palmarès (top achievements)?

2nd Overall at Camel Trophy, and 4th Overall at both Eco Challenge & Adventure Racing World Championships.

6. Most valuable life lesson learned from Adventure Racing/Trail Running?

Movement. I believe in Adventure racing that you should keep on moving forward in a rightish direction. Extrapolating this to life has kind of worked for me, not that I can retire!

7. Your goals for 2023 and/or2024?

I would like to get my son into this or similar sports by participating with him. The same will apply to my daughter 2 years later.

8. Strangest food you thought of while racing?

Slap chips – always after a day of racing I dream of salty high-carb junk food.

9. Your favourite Squirt Cycling Product and why? Barrier Balm! Trust me, we use it not only on our feet but in, on and around all moving parts.

10. Best tip for beginners? Mentally prepare – it’s tough, it’s long. Upskill with navigation.

Please complete the following

1. I like my coffee…I’m no coffee snob. Just filtered with a large cup…

2. I would love to go ride with… dad. He’s long gone, however it would have been nice to share my world with him, share a ride with him. He was a proud father & supporter.

3. The secret to happiness…Sharing.

4. My greatest exhilaration…I think it was my 3rd race, a small unknown race which gave me the confidence that I can do this. It wasn’t luck or a weak field but rather skill and fitness that were key to our victory.

5. I fear…letting teammates down. It’s becoming extremely difficult with age to add anything to the team. The body is a shadow of what it was both in fitness and skills.

6. Passion…I have a passion for wilderness areas. There are far too few of them and not enough justification to keep them.

7. When I wake up…(my Wife is going to kill me for this) I’m handed a cup of coffee (in bed) and relax for a few minutes looking over the Knysna Lagoon facing the Knysna Heads, observing the daily rituals of the Egrets flying up the estuary and noting whether the tide is pushing or pulling out of the Lagoon.

8. I wish…….and I heard this before – I wish I knew then what I know now.

Athlete Profile

1. Name: John Collins

2. Nickname:

3. Age: 49

4. Birthdate 17 November 1973

5. Birthplace: Upington

6. Height: 185

7. Shoe size: 11

8. Social media handles