St Bernard
Photo Credit: Cape of Good Hope SPCA

Two runners ran the distance of the Comrades… at home; to raise funds for the Cape of Good Hope who are caring for Hudson, a rescued St Bernard.


Cape Town, South Africa (17 June 2020) – The odds may have appeared stacked against #TEAMSPCA athletes after so many of their fundraising events were cancelled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

BUT then, 2 heroic and selfless TEAM SPCA athletes showed up and more importantly, never gave up – all for the love of rescue animals in need at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, Grassy Park, Cape Town.

Together Liam Gannon and Maretha Smit championed the #Comrades4Change campaign, despite the cancellation of the iconic Comrades Marathon, they decided to go ahead and make a difference.

Liam took on the task of running 90km on his treadmill and used this feat to raise awareness to Change Hudson’s Life. #HelpHudson’s aim was to assist stray animals in need like Hudson who was brought into the CoGH SPCA’s care to recover and heal. Liam achieved his goal and in fact did extra KM’s completing 100Km’s in 12h51min12 sec. Give that man a Wahoo!

Says Liam, “I guess if I sum it up then it was a brilliant day out. The distance was a real challenge, especially the last 10km. To know my treadmill run was directly impacting the life of Hudson – a stray dog who needed all of our help to heal and recover made every difficult step count, because it was all for him. All in all it was an experience that I will cherish.” 

As a Registrar in Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, Maretha Smit faces the stark reality of the Corona Pandemic far closer than many of us ever will. For her and many of the hospital staff, the only way to burn off stress and remain healthy is through a quick jog in the hospital parking lot. With this in mind, Maretha decided to run the equivalent of the Comrades herself to help raise funds for the SPCA during the COVID-19 crisis. Maretha completed her run of 90Km in 7h39min (which is a personal best for her by 45 mins).

Says Maretha, “This is by far the most fun I have ever had on a Comrades Day! The fact that we managed to double our fundraiser goal is a massive bonus and I am extremely grateful for each and every contribution.
I kept on thinking about the animals that are suffering and used that as motivation to get me to a personal best time of 7:39, averaging just over 5min/km for the 90km. I have amazing friends and family and the best husband in the world! This would certainly not have been possible without them.”

Together Liam and Maretha raised over R58 908.03. for the animals they so love – the CoGH SPCA are truly inspired by their efforts, along with the love and gees from all of our TEAMSPCA supporters who “virtually” cheered them on.

Hudson is a St Bernard that was rescued. One would never have guessed his breed due to his lack of fur and emaciated body. Hudson needs time to learn love again, to recover from depression and to fill out.

“He is slowly healing and learning to love again thanks to the kindness of people like Liam and Maretha, and people just like YOU! Thank you.”

Sources: Cape of Good Hope SPCA | St Bernard 
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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