A Hout Bay man with a passion for trail running wants to use the sport to unite all communities in the village.
Innes Smith relocated with his family from Australia last year and believes Hout Bay has some of the best trail running in the world.
What has struck him, however, is the majority of people taking part in the sport are from privileged communities – something he would dearly love to change.
Furthermore, Mr Smith, the owner of The Vine restaurant in Main Road, believes that if more people from previously disadvantaged communities were involved, it would go a long way to making the mountains around Hout Bay safer.
“Hout Bay has the most incredible running community. It is a fact that all over the world running unites people, and I think it can also help this community,” he said.
“I currently organise runs throughout the week, such as The Vine-East Fort-Vlakkenberg-Constantia Nek-Dams-Llandudno Ravine-Suikerbossie route. I believe it would be great to see the less privileged communities better represented, and that when we’ve completed the runs, we can all mix together in a social environment. This is not happening enough at the moment.”
Mr Smith has also been in contact with sports-equipment manufacturers to get them to sponsor running shoes and clothing for less fortunate runners.
“You see these amazing runners all around Hout Bay, but they are running in broken shoes. By equipping them properly, they will have the best chance to perform well.
“My intention is to call on underprivileged youth who are interested in running, who we will then train twice a week for three months. After the three months, they will then be entered in a proper race and whoever does the best will receive a grand prize, such as being sent to take part in an overseas event.”
He said unlike in Australia, where resources were far more available to everyone, there was a big opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives in Hout Bay.
“We have Karbonkelberg right here, which I believe to be a world-class mountain for trail running. But 99.9% of people won’t go there because they fear for their safety. What I am hoping is that we can make this mountain safe together with the help of the local Hangberg community, so that we could see runners running Karbonkelberg for a small fee every weekend.”
Tomorrow, Saturday August 11, youth from Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg are invited to The Vine, where they can join other runners for a trail run into the mountains.
Mr Smith has already procured GPS tracking devices which will be given free of charge to anyone who registers to run. This is one of the steps he hopes will give runners and would-be athletes greater peace of mind.
“I am appealing to people from all Hout Bay’s communities to get on board with this initiative, as I truly believe it can make a difference in uniting people.”
Those who are interested in Mr Smith’s project can contact him on 064 616 3779.