Having studied Science, lived and worked in the bush in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, Zane has always had a love for the African bush and wildlife. He decided, upon his return to Cape Town, that this ‘passionate energy’ (as he describes it) which drives him, could be used for the benefit of wildlife in general. It was because of this that Course for Africa was established with the aim to gain awareness and raise funds for nature conservation in Southern Africa.
With running being close to Zane’s heart and coming from a family who loves and enjoys the outdoors, it was an easy choice in deciding the challenge would be a run along one of South Africa’s most notorious and spectacular routes, the Garden Route.
Averaging a gruelling 70km per day, in the hope of concluding the expedition by participating in the Knysna Forest Marathon, Zane set out from his Kenilworth home on Friday 6th July 2012.
With icy temperatures, long roads and some not so forgiving weather conditions, this challenge was bound to be a tough one from the start.
The average day started with Zane waking early in order to hit the road at around 5am and completing a morning session run of around 45-50 kilometres. The mid-morning break and snack consisted of peanut butter sammies, cup a soup, as well as a much needed Toyota Hilux front seat rest for about 20-30 minutes.
It was then back on the road for another couple of hours until around 12h30pm when the support vehicle would meet up with
him and get his lunch time meal ready.
Support was in the form of Lucy Van Der Spuy, who was with Zane over the 7 days. The supporter’s tasks included setting up quick stops (between 20 and 30km’s apart), mid-morning and lunch time stops as well as unpacking and packing the vehicle at accommodation stops along the way. Afternoon sessions were always tough, especially after the 1-2 hour lunch time break which included a short snooze and chance for Zane to elevate his feet but not enough time to recover fully.
By late afternoon the, daily target would hopefully have been reached and some days were completed with extra kilometres which helped knock off valuable kilometres for the final day. Starting and finishing points for the day were rarely in the town where the team was staying and so an early start was had for all!
The countryside along the N2, the views and the experience that one has when not travelling through that beautiful area at 120km per hour was truly unique and spectacular. Peaceful mornings whilst the rest of the world slept in, except for a few large trucks, as well as beautiful sunrises were an absolute highlight.
Running over yet another steep incline to see the breaking waves of the ocean just near Mossel Bay meant that the finish line was almost in sight and spirits were lifted. After 7 long, cold and painful days, the sight of the Knysna lagoon, family and other supporters was an extremely welcoming and comforting sight.
The aim of the challenge was to end off with the Knysna Forest Marathon on the 14th July 2012, but due to unforeseen weather conditions the marathon was called off for the first time in over 20 years. That didn’t stop Zane from getting back out there early on Sunday morning, with a few supporters, and running a cool couple of kilometres from Brenton on Sea to Knysna to mark the end of a truly remarkable challenge!
Weather conditions, although favourable most days, were extremely cold. Dark, early mornings as well as rain on some occasions were a challenge but after a little self-pep talk and remembering what the he was doing this all for, it was up and out onto the road again!
A leg and more specifically a knee injury which started to niggle after just the first 30 kilometres out of Cape Town, set Zane back physically but not mentally. He has a new found respect for his right leg and his body but especially at how powerful one’s mind can be.
Zane Franklin and Course for Africa are in the process of planning the next expedition which will occur in the second quarter of 2013 and will take place over a total of 52 weeks. For further news and info join our Course for Africa Facebook page, follow on twitter at coursefroafrica or keep updated via Zane’s blog www.courseforafrica.wordpress.com
The not for profit organisation that was chosen for fundraising efforts is the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT). The emphasis of EWT is to the dedicated conservation of threatened species and eco-systems within Southern Africa with a focus of this conservation benefiting all people concerned.
For further information on how to sponsor this worthy cause please visit www.courseforafrica.givengain.org before 31 July 2012, otherwise donations can be made to Capitec Bank, Acc. name: COURSE FOR AFR, Acc. No: 1317107959, where all proceeds go directly to the Endangered Wildlife Trust.