Fundraiser turned annual event
In 2013, we organised a fundraiser for paraglider Pierre Carter and supporter James Braid from South Africa to help cover their cost to participate in the RedBull X-Alps race in Europe. The organisers, Linda Willemse, Pierre Carter & Alistair Stuart, realised that the handful of paragliders willing to take on the challenge was not enough to raise sufficient funds, so they invited their running and cycling friends to come join the fun in challenging Pierre in his backyard, the Drakensberg. Linda landed the job as meet director at the inaugural event with Alistair competing on his bicycle alongside teammate Guy Pitman. Mountain bike team Piers Pirow and James Pitman took first place podium, with Alistair & Guy in 2nd place for this event. The race route kicked off at Oliviershoek in the northern Drakensberg and finished in Underberg with the winning team doing approximately 280km cycling in a time of 34:23:10. Participants of this unique adventure instantly fell in love with the race concept and begged the trio to organise another one… and so the X-Berg Challenge annual event was born.
Founder & Event Manager
Linda has been organising unique travel & events for more than two decades, predominantly in Africa. She is an adventure junkie herself, from jumping out of hot air balloons with only a paraglider attached at her back to rock climbing, hiking, sailing and cycling. She has also assisted in organising world-class events such as the Kilimanjaro and Victoria Falls Marathon. With a passion for giving to the needy through her outdoor endeavors, she’s the leading lady co-ordinating the X-Berg Challenge. Throughout the rest of the year she manages Between Heaven and Earth’s adventures around the globe. She’s at her happiest surrounded by wildlife in some off-the-beaten-track environments in Africa.
Founder & Race Route Designer
Pierre’s main focus for the past few years has been to climb and paraglide off the highest summit on each continent (7 Summits 7 Flights). A former National Team Paragliding member, and one of only three SA pilots ever to participate in the RedBull X-Alps, Pierre has years of experience in adventure sports. The Drakensberg has been his back garden since he was a young boy…needless to say he knows this part of Africa intimately! You can find Pierre climbing, hiking, paragliding, cycling and simply just being in these mountains with every available opportunity. Pierre sets the race route for the X-Berg Challenge each year hoping to make it equally tough for all those who dares to come chase the Dragon.
Founder & Business Development
Alistair can usually be found sailing, paragliding, cycling, hiking or kite-surfing when not slaving away at his “real” engineering job. He is a qualified spinning instructor, loves the Drakensberg, and has taken part in various sporting competitions around the globe. He has a way with words and can take decent photographs from time to time. He is well travelled and offers valuable guidance during the planning stages of the X-Berg Challenge, being the voice of reason and master of finance for the event.
Social media & EVENT assistant
Kirsten is a trail runner, paraglider and outdoor enthusiast who has lived, played and worked in East and Southern Africa. With many years of travel coordination experience behind her, Kirsten joined our team in October 2018 and has been hard at work behind the scenes of the X-Berg Challenge. From perfecting our newsletters to assisting with general administrative tasks, this walking ‘thesaurus’ is a welcome addition to our team and we hope to fully exploit all of her talents in our quest to organise adventures of a lifetime.
Georgia is an impressive young journalist! She gets the message across and doubles up as a fantastic photographer. When she is not crafting words into a captivating article, she is also a singer who performs from time to time. She’s a hiking, yoga, and pilates enthusiast and hopes to receive her paragliding licence in the near future. We are blessed to have this incredibly talented lady as part of our team since July 2019. Georgia spent much of her childhood in the Drakensberg with her family and absolutely loves this part of the world.
Event Owned & Managed by:
Between Heaven and earth (pTY)lTD