We Took a “Run on the Wild Side”

-Jess Oosthuyse and Matthew Thorp

On World Wildlife Day, 3 March 2018, 7 members from the Welgevonden management team donned their  running shoes and headed through to Marakele National Park for a “run on the wild side”. Our passionate runners were not only running for sheer enjoyment, but to make use of the opportunity to raise awareness around issues such as the critical state of rhino and vulture poaching in South Africa.

The Marakele Marathon is hosted within the boundaries of the National Park and provides its participants with the opportunity to immerse oneself in the pristine savanna wilderness, with the sounds of native birds and perhaps an energetic rhino to help speed you along. Runners have their pick of three races to choose from, namely: the full marathon (42.2km), the half marathon (21.1km) and the 10km race.

Trained rangers ensure that all participants are safe and do not encounter any dangerous game as they run through the Park's Big 5 section

Trained rangers ensure that all participants are safe and do not encounter any dangerous game as they run through the Park’s Big 5 section

Our marathon runners, “Running Rhinos”, Bradley Schroder and Sam Davidson Phillips,  finished their race in top form despite the 12kg rhino suits weighing them down for the full 42.2km. Their constant companion in this endeavor was Welgevonden’s own Pip Myram, who ran the entire race along side the two suited Running Rhino’s, providing much needed motivation towards the latter stages.

Matt Thorp, Jess Oosthuyse and Carmen Waremenhove all completed their first half marathons in approximately two hours, while our WIL student, Craig Symons, put up a great performance during his 10km race.

Involvement from the WGR members did not stop there as the international volunteers based at the Reserve’s world class volunteer research camp also took part, running in the 5km fun run once the marathon runners had returned.

This scenic event is an utterly unique marathon experience in that it brings road running enthusiasts closer to nature and far away from the sounds and dangers of the city roads. What’s more is that all the proceeds from this marathon will go to the “Honorary Rangers” who utilize the funds for conservation activities within the Park.

Marathons such as these form a vital link with the outside world in highlighting important conservation issues and bringing about environmental awareness.

Bradley, Medal

One of the Running Rhinos showing off his medal at the finish line

The Welgevonden team would like to thank all who supported them on the day! Both the rhino and vulture fundraising campaigns managed to raise a fair amount of money that will go directly towards the conservation of these species.