Athletes showcased incredible will and endurance in the South Coast 100 in Uvongo at the weekend.
The event centred around Pastor Daan van Niekerk and Willa van der Walt, who achieved their goals of completing 24-hour and 12-hour prayer runs respectively.
The South Coast Striders duo prayed for 100 countries and 100 South African cities as they ran. They carried a small flag with the name of a country and city for each 1km lap at the Uvongo pier parking lot.
They were joined in prayer by other runners and supporters. Runners from Durban and even Gauteng participated in the event, which came about following the cancellation of the 100 Capital Classic.
Seven brave athletes took on the 24-hour event. Van Niekerk, who’d battled with flu during the week, pushed through the pain and fatigue and ran from 9am on Saturday until 9am on Sunday, amassing a total of 125km.
Van der Walt reached her goal of 12 hours and totalled 65km.
Fellow South Coast Striders Goodman Nqayi and Graeme Milligan managed 73km and 55km respectively in their six-hour runs.
“My main goal was carrying a different little flag of a different world country and SA municipal area on each kilometre for 100km, praying for them and raising awareness to the general human being out there that we can pray even for those we don’t know,” said Van Niekerk.
“In fact, I believe there is a special kind of blessing for those who can earnestly pray for the one in need and dire straits, even unknown to yourselves. We tend to live in our own little cocoons, and only care about those we know or see.
“With famines, tornadoes, hurricanes, terrorism, wars, corruption, misguidance, poverty, murders, lack of education and so many more negativity all over the globe, as well as in our own beloved country, there are so many standing in the need of prayer and so much people have to endure.
“I would like to think we can make a difference by praying. In fact, I believe it with all of my heart. So for those who prayed with me…may you be blessed. Those standing in the need of prayer….I may not know your name and location…but I tell you my friend, God does….and He answers prayers. Thank you Lord for giving me the ability to raise prayer-awareness!
“I would also like to thank John Hall, Eric Wright and Mark Smith without whom this event would not have been able to take place. Each and every member of both the Members in Christ Church and South Coast Striders who supported, ran a few or participated in the actual event…..you are inspirational.
“Also, everyone who came from far and took this task by the horns after the 100 Capital Classic was cancelled, thank you for helping us make this something to remember.
“A huge congrats to Cornel Metcalfe and Bradley Cavanagh who both pushed through to 161km (100miles) in 22h00:32 and 22h50:08 respectively.
“I don’t feel bad at all with my third place behind such legends in the field. They are hugely respected amongst the 100 miler runners, which is not a sport for the faint-hearted.
“Hats off to Willa, who by the time I ran the 100 Capital Classic last year, were part of my seconding team, and had not even run a marathon yet, but also fell in love with the idea of circuit running and decided there and then that she will do the 12-hour event in 2018 with 60km as minimum goal. She stacked up 65km with a smile on Saturday and already mentioned 24 hours for the future.”
Mark Smith, the club’s running captain, said, “I cannot express how proud we are. Throughout the day, we were joined by many local runners, most of them being members from our team. This was very inspirational for the runners that were pushing through their personal hardships to reach the 24-hour mark.
“I would like to thank all the seconders who had to support us all for 24 hours with no rest. These people included Daan’s wife Bernice, family, friends and members from Pastor Daan’s church.
“Also, a big thank you to Graeme Milligan and Harbourview Spar for his donation of cold drinks, water, ice and sweets that kept the runners nourished.
“Lastly, thank you to each and every runner that came down to support Daan and Willa, either by running with them or cheering them on.”