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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Crowdfunded charity runs grow as SA social runners raise hundreds of thousands for charity

As more and more South Africans turn to running to keep healthy and as a source of mental reinvigoration, the number of crowdfunding running activities is on the rise. In the last week alone scores of runners descended on the Eastern Cape to complete the gruelling Icon's Journey Marathon, Solly Malatsi and Magashule Gana are on their way from Soweto to Tzaneen and Maredi Mphahelele and his crew ran 67km from Polokwane to Lekurung Ga-Mphahlele - all to raise funds for various good causes.

"Whenever I see charity run all I can think of is giving back to the less fortunate communities," said Maphuti Monyamane during an interview with #TheTopRunner. Better known by his running nickname Ashinthwela, Monyamane served the running community as a bus driver before Covid19 put a halt to mass participation long distance running events in the country.

Runners taking part in The Icon's Journey Marathon arrive at the finish to a warm welcome. Photo Credit: Thokozani Tk Dolo.

"I for one I am from humble beginnings and I have walked the same path and I know what it feels like. My ambition with charity runs is close the gap between the less fortunate and fortunate ones and create a better tomorrow for generations to come," said the man from Limpopo who ran seven marathons in sevens days and 103km on the last day during the Icon's Marathon.

And the response from the running community has been overwhelming. In January Prodigal Kumalo ran 100km in 7 and a half hours to raise R80 000 for his running academy, Themba Mathebula beat his own target when he collected R100 000 for his run from Johannesburg to Bushbuckridge last December, Madoko Ndlovu ran from Pretoria to Makhado in five days for R75 000, while Malatsi and Gana have already amassed R70 000 on the way to their target of half a million Rand.

Madoko Ndhlovu leading his epic run from The Union Buildings to Makhado this April to raise funds for wheelchairs. Photo Credit: Tumelo Mabua.

"The response from the running community has been amazing," said Malatsi about his Home Run on Women's Day in Montana Pretoria. "It's not just the money that we have received. You know runners have networks and just through social media we have been able to get so much support in kind as well. Many people have helped us with supplements, have come to run with us, just to make sure that we finish our run," explained the Asics Frontrunner.

These runs have been so successful that corporate South Africa is increasingly beginning to take note. SPAR for example donated sanitary pads to Malatsi's two-week odyssey and have taken it a step further by linking all these charity runs to their own #SPARVirtualChallenge which takes place on the 4th of September. All schools, teams, NGO’s, running clubs and group of friends across South Africa, who enter a group of 50 or more will be in the running to win a R10 000,00 voucher from SPAR.

Malatsi (rear) and Gana (yellow t-shirt) leave their drinks station at SPAR in Pretoria as they continue on their epic journey from Soweto to Tzaneen. Photo Credit: Reg Caldecott.

"SPAR is a caring brand and we that focuses on women, so it made sense for us to partner with The Home Run. We also decided to give all other initiatives similar assistance by sponsoring R10 000 in SPAR vouchers for all bulk entries to our virtual challenge," said Retha Ingenbleek of SPAR. To enter and put R10 000 in vouchers toward your good cause, contact with your details. Entries re R60 and close on the 15th of August.

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