Our incredible Ultra-Marathon Team, Evie, Masi, Kenneth, Willie and Barbara travelled to KZN to complete the Comrades Marathon – 89km of hard running. Masibulele completed the race in his personal best time of 10 hours and two minutes, with Evie, Ken and Willie all impressively passing the finish line before the 11 hour barrier. This year Barbara completed the half-marathon, but plans to run the full 89km next year.
But running marathons is only part of what our Ultra-Marathon Team is about. Our team was incredibly busy, telling people in communities around KZN about their stories of living as Positive Heroes. They visited WozaMoya Beading project to meet the beaders, sit in their gorgeous Dreaming Chair and share stories (www.dreamsforafrica.org.za), toured the Hillcrest HIV/Aids Respite Care Centre and chatted to patients (www.hillaids.org.za), met the children at Sizimisele Combined School, and sang with the teenagers at Mafumbuka High School.
But not only that, the Team also did a host of press and radio interviews including The Natal Mercury, Natal Witness, Isolezwe ( Zulu regional paper), East Coast Radio, SABC Radio News, Merebank Rising Sun Community Newspaper, The Daily News (Durban) Comrades supplement and The Witness (Pietermaritzburg). However, the jewel in the crown was appearing on the eTV News on Saturday night ahead of the Comrades to 11 million viewers.
We experienced many things, met many people, sang, danced, laughed and cried little. But, for me, one moment stands out. It was almost 5pm on Sunday, and getting very cold. The Pietermaritzburg stadium was packed with exhausted runners – there were about 10,000 people milling around. Evie and I had finally found each other in the crowd when young woman came shyly towards us. She asked if she might greet Sis Evelina. Evie immediately hugged her and the girl said:
“Sister Evelina, I am so excited. I have been waiting for you all day because I was sure I would find you. And here you are! Yesterday I was so sad and I thought my life is finished. Then I saw you on e-News and you have changed everything for me. I was giving up and I had no more hope. But what you said – your words have inspired me and given me the belief that I may also be like you. And I am going to do everything to live and be a strong person.”
This is why we do it.