Cape Epic: pole-vaulter and rugby star team up for mtb challenge

2012-11-15 00:00

FORMER South African pole-vaulter Ockert Brits and Welsh rugby captain Colin Charvis have teamed up to take on next year’s Cape Epic mountain bike challenge.

They ride in support of the JAG Foundation, an organisation that provides mentoring, coaching, knowledge and sports programmes to target alcohol and drug abuse.

They highlight its devastating

effect on life and introduce programmes to bring hope to abusers, taking them from a life of crime and gangs, to one of hope, freedom and new beginnings.

Brits enjoyed huge interest as an athlete and although retired for a number of years, still holds the African record of 6,03 m.

He competed at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics, where sadly, he failed to live up to expectations. He had better luck at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002, where he won gold, which was followed with silver at the World Champs in Paris in 2003.

This completed his haul of gold, silver and bronze at a major event, having won bronze in 1995 at the world indoor champs in Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Charvis did the red jersey of Wales proud at eighth man or flank. He also represented the British and Irish Lions and currently holds the record for the most international tries by a forward, diving over the line for the 22nd time against the Springboks, at the Millennium Stadium, in November 2007.

Next year’s eight-day Cape Epic is from March 17 to 24, and includes a time trial prologue.

It’s a challenge that separates the men from the boys, no matter how tough or from what background a cyclist comes.

The course changes every year, but still gives participants 800 km of unspoilt nature in the Western Cape and 15 000 m of climbing over a series of spectacular mountain passes.

Greg James, JAG Foundation’s founder, said, “Taking on the Epic is a serious challenge and nothing to be scoffed at. These athletes have shown their commitment to uplifting communities and children by participating in the event.”

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