Kirsten Landman is not your average sportswoman.
The 28 year old South African competes in the male dominated sport of Hard Enduro, but this has never held her back. She has made history by becoming the first female to finish extreme events such as Redbull Romaniacs, Sea to Sky, Redbull Megawatt 111, Redbull Braveman and The Roof of Africa.
But there is so much more to her story than these achievements. For Kirsten, competing in one of the most physically demanding sports in the world, and being the only female to truly excel in such a place, has been a passion of hers from a very young age.
Living in South Africa and riding in its harsh, rugged and technical terrain and competing against men has built an appetite for always aiming higher and realising her dreams. After finishing school, Kirsten worked and funded her own racing and training until she was picked up by her first sponsor in 2011.
Her career kicked off properly when she entered her first ever extreme enduro, the Roof of Africa in 2012, where she managed a bronze finish. In 2013, Kirsten’s abilities were duly noticed by South Africa’s most prestigious off road and enduro team, KTM. She began competing nationally with them from there.
In June 2013, high flying Kirsten’s career suffered an early setback with a life threatening accident while racing the Dessert 1000 National in Botswana. She crashed at high speed and landed on a tree stump, sustaining life-threatening internal damage. Due to complications with the medical treatment in Botswana, Kirsten was only treated 36 hours after the accident once being airlifted back to South Africa. Her pancreas was severed off from her small intestine, and due to the delay in treatment, all of Kirsten’s organs had gone septic. Being placed on life support and put into an induced coma, her recovery was like a roller coaster with complications along the way. Nevertheless she made a full recovery.
On top of that, she returned to racing more motivated than ever, driven by her what was always her destiny. In 2014 Kirsten made her first international appearance at Redbull Romaniacs, finishing the bronze class and being the highest placed female.
Since then Kirsten has made history by becoming the first and only female to finish world extreme events such as Redbulll Romaniacs Silver Class, Sea to Sky Gold Class, Redbull Megawatt 111, Redbull Braveman and The Roof of Africa Gold Class in all male dominated classes.
Knowing what she is capable of, Kirsten’s goals in 2018 went to the next level. To well and truly conquer her fears after the accident in Botswana, she knew she had to tackle the biggest off road race of them all. The Dakar Rally. The first step of this journey was to return to the race that nearly ended her life. Undeterred she got her finisher’s medal there, and then went onto the Merzouga Rally in Morocco. This event was her chance to officially qualify for The Dakar Rally, something she naturally did by having the perfect race with no penalties.
She finished as the 1st of the female competitors and 29th overall. With that the ultimate stage is now set, as Kirsten hopes to make history in the world of rally by becoming the first ever African woman to finish the Dakar Rally.