Over 700 runners and walkers took to their gardens, driveways or whatever space was available to them, on Easter Monday, the 13th April 2020 to participate in a unique lockdown fundraising event. Sponsored by FUTURELIFE, the “Bambalela” (“Stay Strong”) Home Marathon challenged young and old alike to stay strong and healthy during the nationwide lockdown whilst coming together as a greater community to help raise funds for HACT.
Participants could choose to run or walk a 5, 10, 21 or 42km distance within their gardens and while most opted for the shorter distances, more than 60 athletes completed full marathons or longer on the day. Amongst them was well-known local runner and founder of Beloved Long Runs, Dean Wight who took it upon himself to run all four distances back-to-back for a total of 78.3km. Speaking of his gruelling challenge which consisted of a mind-boggling 1566 laps around his 50m garden and took nine and a half hours to complete, Wight said; “At first I planned to just run a marathon, but then thought, I’m at home and I’ve got nothing but time, I might as well do all four! So I challenged my friends and family to sponsor me and ended up raising over R8 000 on the day for HACT.”
The one-of-a-kind event also attracted international support with participants from the USA, UK, Australia, Germany, Spain, and as far away as Alaska, lacing-up and joining in the fun. Myles Buxton, a local runner from Umhlanga came up with the original idea for the event and participated with his family on the day. “It started off as a bit of a joke between my wife and I,” says Buxton, “but then I realized it could actually work, so I contacted Dean for help and he contacted the HACT team and before we knew it, we had an amazing sponsor on board and hundreds of people were signing up to take part!”
In total, the event succeeded in raising R125 743 for HACT’s Emergency Relief Fund which will be used to help mitigate the far-reaching impact of COVID-19 on those considered the most vulnerable and at-risk within our local communities, including those with compromised immune systems due to HIV/AIDS or TB as well as the elderly.
“As a Comrades charity, HACT is well aware of the generosity of runners, however, we have been completely blown away by the huge outpouring of support, encouragement, and solidarity shown through this iconic event,” said HACT’s CEO Candace Davidson. “As the world responds to these unprecedented times and circumstances, we as South Africans came together to create a fun and positive event, and with a sense of community and camaraderie that will be remembered for a long time to come.”