MISSION POSSIBLE: Resolute in their mission of raising R1 Million for the MRP Foundation, 50 cyclists overcame soaring temperatures and fatigue to finish the 606 km Ride for MRP Foundation. Photo by Tim Lubbe / MRP Foundation
A common goal of breaking the cycle of poverty and inequality in South Africa inspired and united a brave group of 50 cyclists from diverse backgrounds to ride an incredible 606 km in just two days in the eighth edition of the challenging Ride for MRP Foundation supported by Absa (3 - 4 December).
South African Rugby Legends, John Smit, Jeremy Thomson and Wayne Fyvie, along with Chairman of the Mr Price Group Nigel Payne (Jnb), previous Dusi2C winner Mbongeni Ngcobo (Cato Ridge, Durban) and SA triathlete, Mhlengi Gwala (Chesterville, Durban), all committed to put their bodies on the line to help raise R1 Million for the MRP Foundation’s programmes in skills development and education.
With just over 24 hours of cycling time, the tight-knit peloton relied on camaraderie to fight mind and body fatigue as well as soaring temperatures of 40 degrees celsius to complete the strenuous ride with purpose. Day one saw the passionate cyclists depart Nigel, Johannesburg before daybreak to tackle 346 kms with them powering through 261 kms on day two. Upon approaching Durban, the tired but determined peloton was escorted by the Metro police through the bustling CBD, to the finish line at the Mr Price Group Support Centre, atop the Durban Station, for a high-spirited end.
It was the first time former Springbok Captain John Smit cycled such a distance but the SA Rugby Legend managed to finish the endurance ride strong: “The heat and pace were an incredible challenge but it was amazing to see how everyone worked together. This ride resonated with me as it just doesn't make sense - it's crazy to think you're going to ride on a bike for two days from Johannesburg to Durban. MRP Foundation realised there’s a need to make a difference without waiting for others, and the people that have come along on this journey all have that same purpose, of trying to make a difference in this country.”
The ride also attracted other athletes, like SA triathlete, Mhlengi Gwala, who was inspired by the idea of a cycle challenge, just as much as he had a heart for seeing South Africa’s youth empowered: “It was a tough first day as it was extremely hot and we were at high altitudes. But it was the highlight of my ride, as we rode through three provinces in a single day. The ride is very important to me as this Foundation is helping my brothers and sisters by giving them the opportunity study and to work. It was a good experience and I'm looking forward to doing it again.”
Just like the strong sense of teamwork evident in the peloton, the ride represents the power of teamwork in achieving a larger common goal, a concept Karen Wells, MRP Foundation Manager, believes is true of South Africa. “At the heart of doing good, is the power of partnerships and working as a team with one purpose in mind. We’re only able to build a stronger country if we join hands and work together as a team. By reaching our fundraising goal of R1 Million, we can unlock the potential of so many more young South Africans.
A big thank you to all the 2017 Ride for MRP Foundation partners: Absa, SPAR, Futurelife, CMH Nissan Durban, Expand-a-Sign, Maxed, City Logistics, KTM South Africa, Traderplus, Cyclesphere and Giant Bicycles.
Help raise One Million Rand by donating here. You can also donate and stand a chance to win a new Nissan Micra Active from CMH Nissan Durban.
Ride for MRP Foundation Cyclists:
KZN/North Coast: Craig Jones (Ballito), Andrew Bateson (Ballito), Jonathan Morse (Simbithi)Quintus van der Berg (Umhlanga), John Smit (Durban North)
KZN/Upper Highway: Natasja Ambrosio (Hillcrest), Keagan Matthews (Hillcrest), Claire Matthews (Hillcrest), Bruce Macdonald (Hillcrest), Michael Rowland (Hillcrest), John Armstrong (Hillcrest), John Campbell (Hillcrest), Tiffany Keep (Hillcrest), Wayne Englund (Hillcrest), Paul Kraus (Hillcrest), Matthew Wickham (Kloof), Lauren Brown (Kloof), Dylan Cherry (Kloof), Dave Duke (Kloof), Greg Stedman (Kloof), Travis Stedman (Kloof), Kevin Bonner (Kloof), Tanner Quinn (Gillitts), Gary Raath (New Germany), Peter-John Paulson (New Germany), Bruce Titmuss (Pinetown), Clynt Lund (Winston Park), Mhlengi Gwala (Chesterville)
KZN/Durban: Brad Rowlett (Durban), Randy Walker (Durban), Mark Sterley (Durban), Fanele Mbuyazi (Durban), Jeremy Thomson (Durban), Mike Viljoen (Durban), Wayne Fyvie (Durban)
KZN/Pietermaritzburg and surrounds: Mboneni Ngcobo (Cato Ridge), Tessa Hesse (Pietermaritzburg), Rob Alexander (Pietermaritzburg), Dion Ross (Ashburton)
GAUTENG/Johannesburg: Leon Crous (Ruimsig), Nolan Waldhausen (Craighall), Nigel Payne (Sandton), Matthew Lee (Fourways), Ryan Katz (Parkwood), Geoffrey Lee (Parkwood), George Oertel (Benoni), Gordon Weir (Bedfordview)
MPUMALANGA: Gary Watson (Secunda).
WESTERN CAPE: Taschyana Hurter (Green Point), Sarah Alexander (Cape Town)