In a historic world first endurance challenge, two veteran South Africans have run a marathon on six out of seven days for the last three months along Southeast Asia’s Mekong River in the name of charity.
For further perspective, they have run almost 3,000 kilometres in three months through three countries including Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam to shine the spotlight on and raise funds for Western Cape Child Protection Organisation, Home from Home. As they reach their destination, they make a plea to South Africans to mark this momentous occasion by donating R1 for every one of the 62 back breaking marathons completed.
Sports scientist Dr David Crombie, a 60 something year old cancer patient who survived a bone marrow transplant a little over a year ago and veterinary surgeon Dr Mark Barron began their incredible journey early November 2012. Despite grappling with a recent bout of stomach flu, the South African endurance athletes completed the challenge with a celebratory swim in the sea at Phuroc Cung, located on the South China Sea on Wednesday, 23 January 2013.
“It has been an incredible journey testing endurance yes, but strength and resolve too. I extend thanks to our sponsors for making our challenge that little more comfortable but this challenge was never about comfort. We undertook it to raise awareness for the Home From Home children in need of a home. Our journey was eventful to say the least, having been met with landslides, monsoons, extreme temperatures, snakes, ill health and militia. And, that was on a good day. I therefore challenge all South Africans to help us make a difference by donating R1 for every marathon we completed,” says Dr David Crombie.
Patron of the challenge Professor Tim Noakes, commends Crombie and Barron for their courage and determination in tackling this unique challenge for Home from Home. “What an incredible achievement that’s made even better thanks to its wonderful cause. The logistical and physical challenges that the two men have overcome were daunting and I am immensely pleased that their initial concerns for their safety did not materialize. An epic event that few but these two men could ever complete so brilliantly,” comments Noakes.
Home from Home founding trustee and development director Pippa Shaper said funds raised from the Mekong River Challenge will ensure that more South African children in need will get the chance to live in secure, loving and protective family homes.
“But it’s about more than that,” says Shaper, “it’s about the spirit and selfless manner in which these two men have tirelessly worked to help other South Africans in need. Their dedication is exemplary, their courage commendable. After their incredible journey on behalf of Home from Home, a thank you seems vastly inappropriate. Instead, I extend a thank you on behalf of all the children for which your steadfast endurance has provided homes and perhaps even a chance at being tomorrow’s endurance athletes.”
Home from Home sets up and runs small, community based family foster homes. Each home is a “normal house in a normal street” with no more than six children cared for by a foster mother, or foster parents. The children and foster parents are supported and supervised by Home from Home, its fulltime social workers and local community groups. Home from Home currently runs 28 homes in the Western Cape, with several more scheduled to open in the next few months. All funds raised from the Mekong River Run will go to the setting up and running of new homes.