Epic run to help friend

2014-06-03 00:00

THERE were exhausted bodies strewn all over the Kingsmead turf as the clock approached 5.30 pm at the end of the 89th Comrades Marathon on Sunday.

But for four men, who were representing a group of adventurers known as the Mamu Loman, Comrades was the second leg of a weekend that many would perceive to be a physical hell.

After midnight on Saturday morning, a group of 15 Mamu Lomans set off from Blue Lagoon in Durban on a 110 km journey to Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg. Nineteen hours later, at 7 pm on Saturday night, they arrived at their destination. Four of these ambitious athletes then rested their bodies before making their way to the start of Comrades outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Sunday. Three of them finished the 89,28 km ultra-marathon, capping off a gruelling weekend.

One of those was Durbanite Guy Allen (34), who revealed to The Witness yesterday that the effort on the part of all 15 participants formed part of a greater cause. A friend of Allen’s and the Mamu Loman community is Pennington resident Lettie Haynes, who has battled breast cancer for the past two or three years. After undergoing chemotherapy and going into remission, Haynes was devastated by the news that her cancer was back.

“She has been fighting for about a year now,” Allen confirmed. “She is an inspiration to all of us. We just wanted to help in whatever way we could.”

It is the second year that Allen and his mates have completed what has become known as the Valley Run after they raised R115 000 last year.

“Cancer isn’t kiff. We here at the Mamu Loman don’t dig it at all. So when it hits close to home, we battle it the only way we know how. Epic adventures with epic people,” read the Valley Run flyer that was used to promote the cause.

Allen, admittedly sore yesterday, said that the experience along the Dusi trail was more leisurely than Comrades despite being 20 km longer.

“You end up spending the entire day in the Inanda Valley and it’s lovely down there. The Friday is more about the people and you spend 19 hours bonding with the people who you’re running with,” he said.

Comrades, though, is another beast.

“Comrades is more of a brutal exercise. The fact that there are time limits changes things.”

But that didn’t really seem to hamper Allen, who cantered to a Bill Rowan medal in a time of 8:44:44, clad in his bright pink running gear.

“The support on the route was phenomenal,” said Allen, who along with his peers had spread the news of the initiative through friends, business networks and social media.

Peter White, Vaughn Smit and James Davis were the other three runners who started Comrades after completing the gruelling 110 km trail the day before.

The Mamu Lomans will continue to find absurd ways of raising funds for those in need. Past initiatives have included doing the Dusi Canoe Marathon backwards.

• Anyone wishing to donate money to raise funds for Haynes can do so using the following details:

Lettie Fight Fund

FNB Scottburgh

Acc no: 6241 0257 085

Code: 250655

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