Pedalling against poverty


Ride for MRP Foundation rallies cyclists to raise funds and awareness to break the cycle of poverty and inequality in South Africa.

South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala (left) and Dusi2c winner Mboneni Ngcobo lead the Ride for MRP Foundation peloton out of Estcourt enroute to Mooi River in the early hours of Monday, 3 December, the second stage of the 606 km ride with purpose, to break the cycle of poverty and inequality in South Africa. The 2018 edition is aiming to raise R2 Million. Image: © Pierre Tostee / MRP Foundation

Extreme heat, mental and physical fatigue, and a total of 26 hours of cycling time over two days did not deter the spirits of 72 cyclists as they banded together to complete the ninth edition of the 606 km Ride for MRP Foundation.

Deemed as South Africa’s toughest cycle ride, the 2018 ride with purpose from Secunda to Durban has thus far raised over R1.5 million for MRP Foundation’s education and skills development programmes, which empower thousands of young South Africans to help break the cycle of poverty and inequality.

The ninth annual athletic challenge consisted of the largest peloton to date including South African Rugby Legends Stefan Terblanche and Wayne Fyvie, as well as South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala who made international headlines earlier this year when his legs were nearly sawed off in a gruesome attack whilst on an early morning training session. In addition, individuals and teams comprising of masters, juniors, women and development riders, as well as the first international rider, took to the roads.

Kicking off from the new starting point of Secunda, courageous riders pedalled to the new finish line at CMH Nissan Durban in the bustling eThekwini city centre.

Stage 1 of the fundraiser saw cyclists tackle 346 km from Secunda to Ladysmith and braving fourteen hours of gruelling cycling time, temperatures exceeding 43 degrees celsius, and successfully maneuvering the 7000 foot arduous Majuba Pass. The second stage from Ladysmith to Durban once again tested the cyclist's endurance, with soaring temperatures and 260 km completed.

This was the first major event for South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala since his brutal attack earlier this year in which he nearly lost his legs. Although doctors advised that he would not be able to participate in any sports for two years, Gwala tackled the Ride for MRP Foundation just a few months after the attack.

Commenting on his second Ride for MRP Foundation, Gwala said, “I have been training since I left the hospital and the support from friends and family keeps me going. What’s great about the Ride for MRP Foundation is that it’s not a race but a group ride. Day one was difficult but day two was better. Although it was tough, I came with the mentality that we are riding with a cause — to fight poverty — this was my motivation on the road.”

It was SA Rugby Legend Stefan Terblanche’s first ride, and he was elated to have finished it. “It’s a tough ride with 14 hours (stage 1) and 12 hours (stage 2) in the saddle over the two days through wind and heat but it was great and it’s all for a good cause.”

Lindokuhle Mabika was both nervous and excited for her first ride.“I feel privileged to be one of the fifteen women riders in this event. I know a lot of women would love to do the ride but they think they can’t because there’s so many mental and social barriers. I want to show them that if I can do it they can do it. It wasn’t easy but every time I started regretting my decision I persevered because of the reason I decided to ride in the first place, to make a difference.”

Stuart Bird, Mr Price Group CEO, has served MRP Foundation for many years and has watched it grow from strength to strength. “I never thought the ride would get to this size where it can raise close to R2 million. It’s an incredibly well-organised event at a large scale and those that participate bring so much to the party in terms of raising funds.”

Natasja Ambrosio, MRP Foundation Director, shared their heart behind the ride, to raise funds and awareness for MRP Foundation. “In 2005 we had a dream to impact this nation, specifically the children and youth with potential, and it took a team to organise the MRP Foundation. In 2009 there was a group of riders who had a dream to impact the young people of this country. Thank you to everyone that rallied around us. Since 2007 over 30,000 unemployed youth have been upskilled through our Jump Start work readiness programme with 13,000 job placements in retail and supply chain.”

The 2018 Ride for MRP Foundation together with its partners who aim to break the cycle of poverty and inequality in South Africa are : Absa, CMH Nissan Durban, SPAR, Maxed, Expand-a-Sign, City Logistics, Zapper, Trader Plus, Corruseal, KTM, Westville Cycle Club, Giant, Cyclesphere, SA Rugby Legends and Hirt and Carter.


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Jersey classifications:

Red Jersey - Absa Red Jersey for cyclist who has raised most funds from previous ride
Yellow - Riders who have completed the most number of rides
Green - Five rides or more
Pink - Three or four rides
White - Rookies, first and second rides

Yellow Jersey: Leon Crous (Ruimsig, 7)
Pink Jersey: Nigel Payne (Sandton, 3), Nolan Waldhausen (Parkhurst, 3), August Van Heerden (Bryanston, 2), Geoffrey Lee (Parkwood, 2)
White Jersey: Matthew Lee (Lonehill, 1), Mike de St. Pern (Pretoria, 0), Shaun Ellis (Johannesburg, 0)

Yellow Jersey: Dave Duke (Kloof, 7)
Green Jersey: Keagan Matthews (Hillcrest Park, 6), Michael Viljoen (Morningside, 5), Greg Stedman (Kloof, 4), Michael Rowland (Hillcrest, 4), John Campbell (Hillcrest, 4), Jonathan Morse (Ballito, 4)
Pink Jersey: Bruce McDonald (Hillcrest, 3), Randy Walker (Treasure Beach, 3), Travis Stedman (Kloof, 3), Rob Alexander (Pietermaritzburg, 2), Quintus van der Berg (Umhlanga Rocks, 2), Dylan Cherry (Kloof, 2), Wayne Englund (Kloof, 3), Paul Kraus (Hillcrest, 2)
White Jersey: Tiffany Keep (Gillitts, 1), Andrew Bateson (Ballito, 1), Mboneni Ngcobo (Cato Ridge, 1), Mark Sterley (Durban North, 1), Matthew Wickham (Kloof, 1), Mhlengi Gwala (Chesterville, 1), Paul Mindry (Gillitts, 0), Glynis Pretorius (Hillcrest, 0), Shan Thomson (La Lucia, 0), Chloe Bateson (Ballito, 0), Lindokuhle (Linda) Mabika (Glenwood, 0), Shane Poplett (Westville, 0), Zisandele Mkhize (Durban, 0), Ray Whitmore (Hillcrest, 0), Rael Lurie (Cowies Hill, 0), Derrick Tivers (Ashley, 0), Stuart Bird (Assagay, 0), Arn de Haas (Glenwood), Paul Els (Kloof, 0), Wayne Fyvie (Assagay, 1), Mitchel Potgieter (Durban, 1), Iris Varty (Hillcrest, 0), Richard Critchlow (Glen Anil, 0), Warren Moolman (Westville, 0), Stuart Slater (Mount Edgecombe, 0), Roxann Message (Glenashley, 0), Rozanne Geldenhuys (Umhlanga, 0), Lauren Snell (Hillcrest, 0), Martin Hillerman (Hillcrest, 0), Kara Human (Durban North, 0), Mehul Mehta (Westville, 0), Vassos Criticos (Congella, 0), Brett Pollock (Everton, 0), Michael Cannon (Mount Edgecombe, 0), Wadih El Saadi (Durban, 0), Darrell Yeatman (Forest Hills, 0), Paul Muller (Bluff, 0), Stefan Terblanche (Mount Edgecombe, 0), Cath de Souza (Waterfall, 0), Paul Longe (Westville, 0)
Red Jersey: Tessa Hesse (Pietermaritzburg, 4)

Pink Jersey: Taschyana Hurter (Greenpoint, 2)
White Jersey: Sarah Alexander (Newlands, 1), Mario Santana (Cape Town, 0), Kurt Faulmann (Cape Town, 0), Brett Glen (Lakeside, 0)

White Jersey: Asive Dlanjwa (Park West, 0)

White Jersey
: Stephen King (California, USA)