The annual Rhino Peak Challenge, which falls on World Rhino Day, September 22, will again see an exciting group of 10 elite runners chasing the elusive fastest known time (FKT) up and down Rhino Peak in the Southern Drakensberg in aid of endangered species.
2018 will see a number of first-timers taking on the challenge with the likes of Naomi Brand, Toni McCann, Mlungisi Mazibuko, Kwenza Ngubane, Robert Rorich, Phillip Shezi and Lucas Adams all entering for the first time.
Among the newbies there is an impressive list of achievements. Naomi Brand is a multiple 100 Miler winner, Toni McCann has won events around the country, Mlungisi Mazibuko came first in the 2018 African Ox Pecker and Kwenza Ngubane won the Mnweni Trail Marathon this year.
Phillip Shezi is a multiple Sani Stagger winner, Lucas Adam won last year’s Bastille Day trail run in Franschhoek and young Robert Rorich won the Red Bull Lion Heart in 2017.
This group of debutants will join Rory Scheffer – who ticks off the World RhinoDay event each year as a must do – for the event this weekend.
“We are all running for a great cause and it’s an event that I try to take part in each year,” the Salomon/Spot Africa athlete said.
“It is a great event and cause to be a part of and it provides me with a perfect opportunity to get in some training but to try to make a small difference at the same time.
“I use the race as a good training race for the Otter Trail Run coming up in the middle of October.”
The Rhino Peak Challenge is a unique event in that each person taking part is responsible for garnering their own pledges through their social media or word of mouth. The participants then establish an estimated time within which they will complete the distance, and their pledges will then donate their amount multiplied by how many minutes they are under their estimated time.
All people who pledge towards a certain participant will go into a lucky draw to win a prize selected by that participant.
Current holder of the men’s FKT, Kane Reilly (two hours and 20 minutes) and former challenge finisher Meg Mackenzie will both be taking part in the Rhino Peak Challenge pledge process, but they will be involved in a different event.
The pair will be in Scotland racing in the Ring of Steall race but have set out their goal times for the event and will be taking pledges towards the Rhino Peak Challenge.
Among the people of interest taking part are renowned adventure Sibusiso Vilane, international rugby referee Stuart Berry and KAP sani2c founder “Farmer” Glen Haw.
Anyone interested in making a pledge to support any of these athletes can visit www.rhinopeakchallenge.co.za
Main picture (top) by Matt Gross/Unsplash