With Easter not too far off, most people are already thinking about how they would like to spend the long weekend doing absolutely nothing.
But there’s a group of people using this time to run across the country to make sure schoolchildren have the means to better themselves.
Over seven days and spanning a gruelling distance of 1 520km, these selfless individuals will run from Johannesburg to Cape Town in a 24-hour relay-style running adventure, all in support of the MAD Leadership Foundation.
The Citizen caught up with Katie Hill, an exceptional woman who will be taking part in the marathon, which aims to raise R2 million to give children at various schools a better future. “Every team member has set their own personal goal, but I aim to run 200km in total,” says Hill, whose longest run is 42km in last year’s Cape Town marathon.
“So I’ll be doing a distance about 23km a day.”
Having only started running at the age of 20, she is relatively new to distance running, but says knowing what a difference her effort will make for children is what motivates her and the team.
“The Make A Difference [MAD] Leadership Foundation is an awesome organisation that takes scholars with a lot of potential, who may not have the means to get to where they want to be in life, and helps them reach their dreams by educating them to whatever level they need and helping them out along the way,” said 27-year-old Hill.
“By doing this, the organisation is helping to produce incredible leaders for the future of the country, who will guide South Africa to a bigger and brighter things.” The MAD2Run event was initiated in 2012, when Shaun Raaff decided it was time to be proactive and make a positive contribution to the country.
After watching an inspirational talk given by Braam Malherbe, who ran the length of Great Wall of China in aid of the charity Miles for Smiles, he got home, rather emotional, and immediately sent out an e-mail to all of his friends, inviting them for an “emergency braai”.
Raaff was able to convince them that they needed to do something meaningful in their lives.
The maddest suggestion came up: “Let’s run to Cape Town!” But what kind of training and dedication goes into running such a long distance? Hill says that at the moment, they are all focused on increasing their mileage each week so their legs are used to the distance.
“So it’s about finding the balance between running enough and running too much,” she said.
“We also need to fit in some strength training so that all the right muscles are strong enough to keep us running every day for so many days in a row, without getting injured.
“We’re lucky to have FitPro involved as fitness partner and they have been awesome with providing us with training programmes and hosting conditioning days.”
And there’s more. When the runners get to Cape Town, they will run Two Oceans Marathon to ensure they reach their R2 million target to ensure some of South Africa’s youth have access to a better education.
So, while enjoying a fish braai, hot cross buns and a beer over the long Easter weekend, spare a thought for the selfless effort of a group of runners who care too much.
If you would like to make a donation, however small it may be, do so at www.givengain.com