AN epic 660km cycle journey from Johannesburg to Durban on 27 and 28 November, 2016, called the Ride for MRP Foundation, supported by Absa, raised over half a million rand to assist the foundation in breaking the cycle of poverty and inequality in South Africa through its expansive programmes in education and skills development. Tessa Hesse was part of the 43-strong peloton that overcame an extreme electric thunderstorm, an intense heat wave and a forced detour due to protest action and the immense strain that comes with cycling 24 hours over two days. Despite the challenges she took the cause of the endurance ride to heart and raised R85 000 for the ride, winning herself a Raleigh Tandem Duo bike.“This event reminded why I ride - it’s all about the physical and spiritual journey and friendships forged with the same goal in mind. “I’m absolutely humbled by the faith that people had in me that they donated so willingly. It takes an organisation such as MRP Foundation, event director Kelvin Du Sart and many others to show us how to help, even in just the smallest of ways. “The tandem bike will be used for the Gabran Choc event and displayed at the Cadence Studio in Pietermaritzburg as a reminder to all our members that we’re blessed to have the financial and physical means to partake in this sport and to give, whether it be through time, efforts or finances.”Lyle Nesbitt from Raleigh South Africa also participated in the ride and highlighted the brand’s support for the MRP Foundation. “Raleigh SA are proud supporters of the work done by the MRP Foundation and we chose to partner with them to relaunch the Raleigh Tandem Duo within South Africa. Being able to cycle from Johannesburg to Durban in two days and knowing that we all have made a difference to the lives of those who benefit from the work done by the MRP Foundation has been some of my highlights from the event.”Thanks to the overwhelming support of cyclists, donors and sponsors, the annual cycle challenge exceeded all expectations and superseded its super target, raising R530 000 for the foundation’s programmes in education and skills development.Since launching their programmes in 2008 MRP Foundation has kick-started thousands of careers while unlocking hundreds of millions of rands into the pockets of South Africa’s youth. They’ve helped well over 18 000 unemployed youth gain invaluable work experience with over 8 000 finding employment.Courageous cyclists proudly sported different colour jerseys, each hue representing how many times they’ve completed the arduous ride. First and second-time riders rode in white, third and four time cyclists in pink, fifth time riders in green and the cyclist who completed the ride seven times rode in yellow. The Absa red jersey was worn by the cyclist who raised the most funds, with Clynt Lund wearing the coveted one at this year’s ride and Tessa Hess donning the jersey for the 2017 edition. Cyclists Nigel Payne (chairman, MRP Group Limited), David Yapp (Durban media personality), Natasja Ambrosio (MRP Foundation director) also raised in excess of R50 000 each.Exciting plans are already in motion for next year’s event with momentum continuing to build towards the 10th edition or “golden year” in 2019.MRP Foundation thanks the cyclists, supporters and sponsors Absa, SPAR, Deloitte, Defy, CMH Nissan Durban, Raleigh, Finance Spec, KTM Durban, Zebbies and Cyclesphere.You can continue to pledge your support for the Ride for MRP Foundation by SMSing the word “mrpf” to 38417 and a donation of R10 will be made. - Publicity Matters.