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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Malatsi and Gana complete 523km of #TheHomeRun to raise R500k for education [WATCH]

Whistles, hooters and ululations filled the air as Solly Malatsi and Magashule Gana arrived in Lefara village yesterday to complete a gruelling 500km running odyssey from Diepkloof to Tzaneen. The Diepkloof Athletic Club runners began their journey in Soweto on the 7th of August with the aim of running more than 30km each day in order to raise half a million Rand for worthy causes.

Gana and Malatsi (back & second from back) on their epic 500km run from Gauteng to Limpopo. Photo Credit: Reg Caldecott.

"We are first and foremost social runners and we became very frustrated with the absence of races," said Malatsi when he was interviewed by #TheTopRunner on day three of their epic run. "So I gave him a call and said why don't we do something about running, but also something about education because we are both passionate about education," he explained. #TheHomeRun was born and the fortnight long run between two provinces to collect school uniform, school stationery and sanitary pads for underprivileged kids in Limpopo was underway.

Runners amplified the message by sharing it on social media, attracting running partners and corporate backing alike. Yogi and fitness junkie Thandy Maitala joined Malatsi and Gana on Women's Day as SPAR handed over sanitary pads towards the cause. "There's a good connection there because we are doing the #SPARVirtualChallenge this year which is also to keep girls in school, it's also to donate sanitary pads. So it linked up very nicely because there is a big need in South Africa to keep girls in school, so they can further their education and so that they can also get to be where they want to be in life," said SPAR's Retha Ingenbleek.

Retha Ingenbleek (centre) poses with Malatsi, Gana and Mataila at the Wonderpark SuperSPAR after handing over sanitary pads towards their fundraising initiative. Photo Credit: Reg Caldecott.

Ultimately the success of #TheHomeRun was based on the support that Malatsi and Magashule received from the running community who gave of their time to feed, massage and encourage the duo on their selfless adventure. "It was quite an emotional day from the beginning," said Gana upon their arrival in his hometown. "Fellow runners from Diepkloof came to support us and they were there when we started. We're putting our bodies on the line so that the next generation will be inspired," he said before Malatsi echoed his sentiments in a thoughtful final salvo.

"It was quite special and hopefully the welcome that people gave us here makes them start paying attention to the needs of learners here, because after today the real issues remain and that's why we are trying to use running to make a difference in education," he concluded. The 523km run from Soweto to Tzaneen may have been just the beginning as they hinted that a run back to Gauteng is in the planning.

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