The Freedom Challenge was initiated in 2003 when David Waddilove ran the Two Oceans Marathon and then continued running along the route which is now the Freedom Trail, arriving in Pietermaritzburg after 42 days of running, to then do the Comrades Marathon.
The inaugural event took place in 2004. The participants were David Waddilove, Rob Waddilove and Andrew King. They had varied times for both the Comrades run and Berg River paddle sections. They finished the RASA section of the race in 22 days and 15 hours. The last day they had a leisurely start at around 7 o’clock thinking they would finish just after lunch. Stettynskloof made itself felt for the very first time. They eventually arrived at the finish at 10pm. Most of the welcoming party had either gone home or got happily drunk while waiting
In 2006 the Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa was offered as a stand alone mountain biking event and the Ride to Rhodes was launched as a taster. In 2013 the Ride to Rhodes was offered as a non-stop event for the first time. It ran concurrently with RASA and due to some RASA riders posting quicker times to Rhodes, no official winners or record holders were acknowledged - until 2015, when the Race to Rhodes was recognised for the first time as a stand alone event with it’s own winners and records.
In 2010 the Comrades moved to an earlier date. This resulted in the launch of the 85km Umgeni River Run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg which took place on 16 June and served as the running leg for those doing the Extreme Triathlon Challenge. With a further change to the dates for the Berg River Canoe Marathon in 2014, the Extreme Triathlon became impractical due to the breaks between events and is no longer offered.
201120d15h04m(Umgeni Run 08:59:54 RASA 19d07h55 Berg River 18h30m)
201120d15h04m(Umgeni Run 07:51:39 RASA 19d07h55 Berg River 18h30m)