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When asked what my motivation is for participating in extreme desert running events since 2010, my answer is two-fold. Yes, there is the personal challenge and satisfaction of completing these races. But the main reason for my participation is to raise money, support and awareness for NGOs and social causes at the forefront of addressing Africa’s development challenges. I have been involved with various African and international NGOs and development organisations for the past 25 years, both professionally and through my desert running efforts, and it is therefore not too difficult to find the correlation between the challenges associated with making the world a better place, and completing a multi-stage desert foot race in some of the harshest environments on the planet. My next desert race is the six-day, 250km Fire and Ice Ultra from 27 August - 1 September 2018 in Iceland. This will be my tenth international desert race, and if successful, I will become the first African, and one of only a small group of people, to complete a multi-stage desert race on all seven continents. Beyond achieving a special running milestone, the period before and during the race is also another opportunity to do something special in support of African NGOs making a difference in society. I am dedicating my participation in the Fire and Ice Ultra to the African NGO sector in general. It is an opportunity to celebrate NGOs’ unique contributions across the continent, generate support and awareness for their work, and reflect on the state of the sector. During the final 50 days leading up to the race (9 July - 27 August 2018), I’m implementing the #NGOs4Africa Campaign which consists of the following components: Publishing profiles of 50 African NGOs that I have admired, supported or worked with over the years; Publishing 15 guest articles by NGO leaders and experts about critical challenges and opportunities facing NGOs in Africa; Publishing 10 articles about . . .
In an epic weekend of paddling, eight-times World Marathon Champion Hank McGregor (Jeep Team/Euro Steel) and S2 partner, Lee Furby claimed a double victory, winning the KZN north coast’s 2017 Gara Dolphin Coast Challenge and claiming the South African Doubles Surfski title. It was a busy weekend for McGregor, who also won Race 3 of the Euro Steel McGregor Paddle Series at Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg on the Friday night. Despite freezing weather conditions, the event attracted 179 paddlers of all abilities. The race broke records in terms of development paddlers – over 70 young paddlers from various academies in KZN attended the race. Following his victory on the Friday, McGregor set off to the KZN north coast to defend his title at the two-day Gara Dolphin Coast Challenge with S2 partner, Lee Furby. The two-day stage race saw paddlers take on a 32km out-and-back route from the Durban Underwater Club on Saturday, and a 32km paddle from Zinkwazi to Salt Rock on the Sunday. McGregor and Furby dominated from the start, winning the first stage with a 20-second lead. Seasoned paddlers, McGregor and Furby finished the first stage in 02:03:44.47, with Steve Woods and Luke Nisbet second in 02:04:04.05, and in third were Gene Prato and Bailey de Fondaumiere in 02:04:18.78. Going into Stage 2 with a solid advantage, McGregor and Furby needed to maintain their strong paddling prowess but Woods and Nisbet still forced a sprint for the finish, with McGregor and Furby beating Steve Woods and Luke Nisbet to the line, claiming consecutive stage wins. The winning duo finished the second stage in 02:14:44.03, just ahead of Woods and Nisbet, who finished in 02:15:06.43. Third place again went to Gene Prato and Bailey de Fondaumiere in a time of 02:15:57.70 “I am really stoked to take the win at the Gara Dolphin Coast Challenge and the SA Double Surfski Champs with my partner Lee Furby – it was his first national title win. We had to dig deep on Sunday to get to . . .