Just one short week away; the countdown begins on a dream adventure that will see me run from Johannesburg to Cape Town as part of an event called Mad2Run. Not on my own. Vok no. I’m not crazy.
I’ll be running the 1,520 kilometres in a continuous 24-hour relay style over 7 days between Friday 12th and 19th of April with 42 other runners, while 12 brave cyclists will each cycle the full distance together, all accompanied by a vital support team of 35 (medics, chefs, massage therapists, mechanics, drivers) who will help us to get there safely. We’ll then run the Old Mutual Two Oceans half-marathon in celebration together on Saturday 20.
It’s the 6th edition of this amazing event, founded by Shaun Raaff, that raises funds for Francois Pienaar’s amazing Make A Difference Leadership Foundation. Shaun was incredibly moved by a fundraising effort by acclaimed South Africa adventurer Braam Malherbe who raised over R2 million for Operation Smile by running the entire length of the Great Wall of China (4,200 km’s over 100 days). Seeing the impact that adventure had, Shaun decided he needed to do more and decided to find a platform and a way to give back himself.
And so, what began as a once-off run from Joburg to Cape Town with some close mates, has morphed into a major logistical effort involving a whole team of people and a considerable amount of planning, which now sees Shaun’s wife Dayle working on the annual event full time.
It was by accident they stumbled onto the MAD Leadership Foundation but were so impressed with the way they undertook their mission, that it became a natural fit for their fundraising plans.
In addition to providing the financial resources to selected scholars from Grade 8 to Tertiary education, they take care of the almost more important emotional wellbeing of the scholars to give them every chance of completing their studies and making a smooth transition into the working world. In addition, the programme aims to instill the qualities of a leader and develop scholars to be future leaders who as Francois Pienaar (the founder) puts it “are ready to become active citizens that our country needs”. It really is the ultimate holistic programme.
I stumbled rather accidentally into this year’s event. 3 colleagues partook in last year’s event and as a keen runner, I followed their journey keenly with major FOMO at their chance to traverse a large part of our beautiful country on foot. Fundraising has also been a big part of my running life having raised funds for a variety of different events all the way back to my very first marathon (London 2007).
So when one of this year’s runners mentioned at a kids party, that he was off to do the MiniMad – a 2-day pre-event to school participants in the logistics – and I told him I was jealous, he alerted me to the fact there’d been a few withdrawals and that they may need replacements.
I made a somewhat tentative (as family and work still needed consulting) call to Dayle expressing my desire to join the team, and that serendipitous conversation must have been fate because the stars all seemed to align, and here I am one week out and super excited about what’s to come.
As I pen this, it’s 07:22 and I’ll be 3hrs38 minutes off the completion of my first no-doubt challenging shift (from 01:20 till 10:00 next Saturday 13 April). More on some of the logistics next time around.
If you feel at all inspired by the MAD Leadership foundation, our efforts to fundraise for them or any part of Shaun and Dayle’s amazing story, please contribute to what they’re doing and MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
It’s really simple to donate using one of the 2 simple methods below:
1. EFT: Directly into the MAD bank account at:
Acc No: 62466617077
Branch code: 260 231
* Section18A tax certificates can be issued on request for all cash donation.
Just scan the QR code, click in the amount area and type in the amount you wish to donate.