Mark and Shona from Kenton-on-Sea set up a 100 miler in the hopes that it would draw people back to their town after the lockdown.
Kenton-on-Sea, South Africa (27 November 2020) – The residents of Kenton-on-Sea, a small seaside village in the Eastern Cape, have been working hard to support each other since the lockdown. The town relied on tourism, and once that was crippled, they had to find another way to survive.
First, the town helped support their over-exhausted medics, nurses and doctors and then they all collaborated to make masks for the community. They started by getting masks to the elderly and nurses and slowly worked their way through the town.
Now to get people visiting their town for tourism again, duo Mark and Shona came up with a way to draw in athletes looking for the perfect challenge.
‘There are only a handful of 100 milers in South Africa, and there’s probably a very good reason for that! Can you imagine anyone actually wanting to run for 36 hours on the trot? You would definitely need to be a little bit crazy to even think about it; let alone participate in such an event.
But that’s the wonderful thing about living in a small Eastern Cape seaside town, the number of slightly crazy but ultra-enthusiastic and energetic people who live there. Mark and Shona being prime examples of those qualities.
Both of them are entrepreneurs, who work hard, run often and do ‘good things’. The Bakery being the result of Mark’s entrepreneurship, Volo Vikings and the Development Running Project the outcome of Shona’s energy and enthusiasm and Kenton100 a product of their crazy dreams. However, to turn that dream into a reality they needed a team and before they could say “ready, get set” Louis, Stephen, Martin and Nick had stepped up to the mark!
Mark the Baker, already had a regular 10-mile route along the pristine Kenton-on-Sea beaches and the two river banks, over the undulating dunes, through the forest glade, along dry-bones valley, around the gravelled streets and up the grassy walkways, all they needed to do was multiply his established route by 10, and they had their 100 miler!
With all the odds of 2020 stacked against them, they plotted and planned this ultra-event, never once losing focus on their main objectives which were to:
- Increase out-of-season tourism in this dwindling economy,
- Put Kenton on the map by showcasing ultra-endurance athletes and very importantly, to
- Expose the youngsters from the township, who the Volo Vikings had been training and mentoring for the past 3 years, to the challenge of some very serious competitive running.
And did it work …………. you bet it did!
On Friday 30 October to Sunday 1 November, 8 athletes took part in the Kenton 100 miler event, 12 ran the 30 miler, and 69 finished the 10-mile run.
The winner of the Kenton 100 was Cornel Metcalfe, who is the South Africa Woman’s Ultra Distance record holder, talk about best of the best! And the 30 mile was won by Vuyisani Nobi a young man who lives in Ekuphumleni, trains with the Volo Vikings and works at the Kenton garage! The winner of the 10-mile race was Lukhanyiso Ntengu, a student at the Ikamva Lesizwe Public School in Ekuphumleni.
What an incredible achievement, not only for the six organisers but also for the youngsters, who may never have had the opportunity to take part in such an event without the energy and enthusiasm of some Eastern Cape crazies.
And will they do it again……. you bet they will!
The aim for 2021 is an iconic, limited entry race taking place between the two rivers of Kenton-on-Sea on 7-9 May. You’ll need to book early to avoid disappointment. www.kenton100.co.za or drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and if you can’t run, but fancy sponsoring a couple of youngsters, they’ll be happy to hear from you too!’