Taking on challenge for a good cause

Grant Jansen and Mthetheleli Myaka putting in the kilometres.

Hout Bay resident Grant Jansen completed the 27-day Mandela Day Charity Challenge on Robben Island from Thursday June 21 to Wednesday July 18.

He was joined by KwaZulu-Natal ultra-marathon athlete Mthetheleli Myaka, at the event, held in honour of Madiba’s centenary year.

The two athletes spent 27 days on the island together cycling and running 4666.4km to raise money for various charities, including the Robben Island outreach project, The M Cup Movement and the Takla Foundation.

Supported by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Charity Challenge was created as a fund-raising initiative by the Takla Foundation and served as its launch event as well as the centenary celebrations of struggle icons, Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu.

Mr Jansen cycled no less than 100km a day on a mountain bike and also ran either 9km, 18km or 27km every day, while Mr Myaka completed 67km on Day 1 followed by 25 consecutive marathons of 42.2km every day. On the last day, Mr Myaka ran 100km and Mr Jansen completed a 100km mountain bike ride followed by a 67km run.

In total, the athletes covered 4666.4km, and, once reaching the landmark, completed an additional 47km. Madiba’s prison number was 466/64.

Mr Jansen, who is the founder of the Takla Foundation, said they were thrilled with the success of the challenge, but confessed that it had “taken its toll” on their bodies.

Mr Jansen said while the pair’s 27 days could not be compared to the experience of struggle icons jailed on Robben Island, they wanted to “replicate” the confines and conditions Madiba and others had endured as a tribute to them.

On their final day, the men were supported by another Hout Bay resident, South Africa’s first supermodel Josie Borain, as well as Xolani Luvuno, the amputee runner who famously completed this year’s Comrades Marathon. Mr Luvuno’s mentor, Hein Venter, joined them.

Individuals and Organisations can still make donations on www.takla