Running against rape

2011-02-10 00:00

A YEAR ago I was the kind of person who couldn’t run up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath. All that changed when my husband and I decided to get healthy in preparation for starting a family. We needed something to get us motivated and decided that running a race was a good place to start. The challenge would be the Two Oceans half-marathon, a tough 21-kilometre race in Cape Town.

My first training session consisted of a short one-kilometre run and I came home to tell my husband there was absolutely no way I would ever be able to do another 20 kilometres on top of that. I was deflated as the realisation of what lay ahead of me sank in quite quickly. The next morning I somehow managed to drag myself out of bed and give it another try. That day I managed two kilometres and so it went. Three months later, I crossed the finish line of the Two Oceans half-marathon, and achieved my goal. I was elated at the sense that you really can achieve something if you put your mind to it.

There is a lot of time to think while you are running, and I found myself thinking about the similarities between the challenges that you face while running and the challenges that you face in life. One person who has overcome a great deal and who is an inspiration to me is Jes Foord, a young women who in March of 2008 was raped by four men in the Shongweni Nature Reserve while she and her father were out walking their dogs. Jes has since established her own foundation and is trying to improve conditions for rape survivors in the following ways:-

• by improving comfort and support in South African Police Force stations;

• by providing rape survivors with an emergency pack containing medication and personal hygiene items at police stations and district surgeons’ rooms;

• by establishing a retreat for rape survivors and their families during the trial, so they are not seated in the same area as the accused or their families; and

• by setting up a Rape Care Centre providing a safe, supportive environment as well as the necessary professional medical and psychological support in the first 24 to 48 hours after an incident.

I wanted to help her foundation through my running and hopefully inspire others to see that every unbearable situation can be overcome. And so the idea for Running Against Rape was born.

On April 23, I will be running the Two Oceans ultra-marathon on behalf of the Jes Foord Foundation. This 56-kilometre race will be the longest distance I have run yet. The target I have set to raise is R56 000, which is representative of the 56 kilometres of the ultra-marathon.

• You can join the Running against Rape Facebook group, or follow me on as I continue my training and make my way toward the qualifier for the race.

PLEASE help Nicky Arde achieve this goal by donating to:

Account name: The Jes Foord Foundation

Bank: Nedbank Hillcrest

Branch code: 133826

Savings account number: 2338070488

Reference: Running against Rape.

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