Change a Life Academy continues to stretch limits

2018-03-27 06:00
PHOTO: SuppliedThe promising Change a Life pair of Mthobisi Cele and Mpilo Zondi paddled to a spectacular seventh overall and first Under 23 and the 2018 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon recently.

PHOTO: SuppliedThe promising Change a Life pair of Mthobisi Cele and Mpilo Zondi paddled to a spectacular seventh overall and first Under 23 and the 2018 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon recently.

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ON a notable weekend for Martin Dreyer’s Change a Life Academy, his athletes pushed themselves to the limits at the Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon, presented by Lovemore Brothers and Savunde Accountants, as well as the Sappi Howick MTB Classic.

It is common knowledge that the Non-Stop Dusi, which is the full FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon in one day, is one of the toughest river paddling and running assignments around, and the Change a Life Academy athletes covered themselves in glory once again at the Dusi in a Day last Friday.

Ambassadors and graduates for the Change a Life Academy, Sbonelo Khwela and Thulani Mbanjwa, won the 100 km race ahead of Carl Folscher and Adrian Boros in second, with Change a Lifers Richard Cele and Mpilo Zondi finishing in third.

“Our paddlers had a terrific Non-Stop and unfortunately for Mthobisi [Cele], who won the race in 2017 with Mpilo Zondi, he had to pull out at Finger Neck due to illness,” said Dreyer.

“Mthobisi and Banetse [Nkhoesa] were one of the strongest crews that we had in the race so it’s unfortunate that they couldn’t carry on.”

The Non-Stop Dusi is a race that is probably more about running and portaging than it is about paddling, and coupled with the fact that there is a boat on your shoulder and temperatures in the Valley of a Thousand Hills can soar into the high 30º Celsius, it is as physically demanding race as you get.

“It is an incredible effort from anyone who finishes the Non-Stop Dusi, let alone in the conditions that they have had in the past two years.

“I was very happy for Richard [Cele] that he got onto the podium with Mpilo and it was an exciting race for second, third and fourth.

“To have two Non-Stop novices in Maswenkosi [Mtolo] and Thabani [Msiya] finishing in fourth place was also a terrific effort,” Dreyer added.

Tackling races like the Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon and the four-day Berg River Canoe Marathon in the Western Cape challenges paddlers on so many levels, which is what Dreyer hopes to achieve with his academy.

“We want to redefine the limits of what these guys can achieve,” Dreyer said of the athletes.

“It’s important to push them out of their comfort zones and the Non-Stop Dusi will literally change their lives and their out- looks.

“The Berg is very different from a physically taxing perspective but the mental demand can be compared with the Non-Stop Dusi,” he said.

At the recent Sappi Howick MTB Classic, RMB Change a Life Academy riders Sthembiso Masango and Sipho Kupiso finished fourth and fifth respectively. The race was used as a fine-tuner ahead of their trip to the Absa Cape Epic later this month.

Mboneni Ngcobo finished eighth after he lost his front brakes on his bicycle and Ndumiso Dontso finished just behind him in ninth.

“We just wanted the guys to keep the wheels ticking over and stay in good shape for the Epic, where we will have two Change a Life teams riding,” Dreyer said.

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