Mates near end of coast challenge for ill friend

2014-06-19 00:00

ENDURANCE athletes Steve Black and Clyde Barendse are close to completing a gruelling 2 000 km race from Cape Point to Durban, which has Black running along the shoreline as Barendse paddles a surfski to raise funds and awareness for cancer sufferer Lettie Heyns.

Dubbed the “Coastal Challenge”, the “race” started on May 17, with Black leaving Cape Point as a frustrated Barendse had to sit out the first three days while the Cape was being battered by galeforce winds.

“This is a vehicle for raising much needed funds for Lettie Heyns to overcome something far greater that any of our efforts,” said Black.

Black, a veteran ultra-endurance runner from Underberg, runs along trails and dirt roads, only resorting to tar when it is unavoidable.

His aim is to run roughly 66 km per day to complete the over 1 900km route in 28 days.

Barendse aka “Skinny Cappuccino” is an experienced paddler from Durban. He describes himself as “just an average bloke with some accumulated leave”. While he has less distance to cover on the ocean, he is more exposed to treacherous weather and ocean conditions, which dictate his distances each day. Ultimately, Barendse has Black’s schedule to contend with.

Both men are members of the Mamu Loman Federation, an informal group of mates which formed in 2002 to add their unique spin to life, as one of the founders, (photographer and athlete) Andrew King has explained in the past.

Black, who had to break his run to fly to Johannesburg for his mother’s funeral in Johannesburg, is currently leading Barendse, who has had to deal with several days of massive seas, thanks to the succession of cold fronts that have swept over the country in recent weeks.

Black started the race carrying a niggling injury and came close to quitting in the first week.

“Leaving Cape Point I started doubting that I will make Port Elizabeth let alone Port Edward, but Andrew King got me though the first days encouraging me to manage my injuries,” said Black.

Black was joined by Keith Clark who ran with him from the Gouritz River mouth to Storms River, before completing the next 450 km on his own, supported by his wife Lulu along the way.

Andrew Mackay then joined Black 20 km south of East London and ran with him to Port Edward in eight days.

“All this time Skinny was paddling through massive surf and steadily gaining on me and overtaking and then falling back when the wind was wrong,” says Black.

“The madness continues with hopefully a 60 km day taking me to Hibberdene and then onto Durban for Friday afternoon,” he added.

“For Clyde there is a big westerly on its way so I’m sure the race is going to be close at the end,” he said.

Black and Barendse at expected to reach their ultimate destination Addington Beach in Durban some time tomorrow afternoon.

More information can be found at www.coastalchallenge.co.za where donations to the cause can be made online. — Gameplan Media.

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