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Strangers team up for sani2c after lockdown challenge

Day 1 of the KAP sani2c with the magnificent Berg in the background. Picture: Anthony Grote/sani2c

Meander Chronicle Reporter

The first months of lockdown brought out the crazy in sports-minded people as they embarked on all kinds of physical challenges to try to keep fit and stay motivated. Many had serious withdrawal symptoms after not being able to take part in fun and professional sporting events.

It was during this period that a seed was planted for strangers Eckaard le Roux and Russel Meaker via the #sani2clockdownchallenge, that will now see them take on the renowned 265km of mountain biking together from December 3-5.

Stunning trails

The Founder of KAP sani2c, Ixopo dairy farmer Glen Haw, set a lockdown challenge: to create a video of yourself training for the sani2c in your back yard, and post it to Instagram – with the person getting the most views on their video winning a team entry to the Race version of the event.

In its 16th year, sani2c is one of the oldest, and the largest three-day mountain bike stage race in South Africa that sees riders camp in race villages and travel along stunning trails through farmlands, game reserve and tribal lands between Underberg and Scottburgh in KwaZulu-Natal. Just before lockdown was announced, the sani2c postponed the May event to the first week in December, hoping that by then the Covid-19 regulations would allow for it.

Magic morning in the sani2c. Picture: Anthony Grote/sani2c

Fifty-four-year-old Russel Meaker from Somerset West did the sani2c in 2018 and says it was one of the highlights of his life, so he was determined to win Haw’s challenge and set about creating multiple videos, each more daring and out there than the one before.

Eckaard le Roux from Pretoria, 24, was equally keen to win, and his video focused on his morning routine and training ride that saw him don a pink nightgown, brandish a poop scoop and get his training mojo on.

View Eckaard’s hilarious video here

The video has been viewed more than 10 000 times and Eckaard was pronounced the winner of the sani2c entry. Russel’s many videos unfortunately were only viewed a few hundred times and despite his valiant effort, he was not destined to take the prize. But Eckaard surprised everyone by choosing to share his team entry with Russel.

Extreme Extreme

“I first noticed Russel’s videos when he decided to practise for the ‘Extreme Extreme Extreme climbs’ by riding up a tree. He also posted numerous other videos which I found quite funny, so when the competition was over I just thought he would appreciate it if I offered him the other half of the entry. It was quite spur-of-the-moment,” says Eckaard.

Extreme Extreme Extreme Climbs video

Russel said he first heard that Eckaard wanted to invite him to share the entry, when he saw his comment on the Instagram post announcing the winner: “What a wonderful gesture – I was a bit worried about keeping up with a youngster, he is younger than my youngest child, but he assured me he was out to have fun and enjoy the three days of riding.”

The Adventure version of the sani2c runs from December 2-4, and the Race version dates are December 3-5. On the web: www.sani2c.co.za

Why the Midlands and Berg are a magnet for adventure seekers

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Good reads this holiday season