Who’d have thunk it?! Raising funds and awareness for a serious cause doesn’t have to be dull, boring or “heavy”. Just ask the people of St Francis Bay who participated in the Run for Rhinos organized by St Francis Sport, St Francis Tourism and Port St Francis. St Francis Bay is a small town a few kilometer down the coast from Jeffrey’s Bay.
Now, you know me. I’m not a journalist, but I felt like “reporting” on this event, if only because I finally stopped threatening to participate and actually joined in. And I’m glad I did.
In honor of World Rhino Day 2011, which was officially celebrated on Thursday, 22 September, the fundraiser, in form of a fun run, was held on Saturday, 24 September. Saturday was also the day on which we celebrated Heritage Day.
Run for Rhinos was also a fundraiser for the Chipembere Rhino Foundation, a privately run and registered non-profit organisation fighting to protect these animals against poachers. ”It would be a great and tragic loss if a specie that has been in existence for around 50 million years would be extinct,” Brent Cook, one of the trustees of Chipembere said at the prize giving. >> read the full article in the St Francis Village News.
The event started off on a very light note. All the participants were in a good mood, and the person who officiated added to the atmosphere. He explained the two routes, 5km and 10km, in a very humorous way. On the 10km route there was a muddy patch and, in almost the same breath with which he cautioned people against injury, he offered a prize if someone felt like showing some rhino “solidarity” by coming back with proof of having rolled in the mud. And then he entertained us again, although probably not on purpose, when he tried to sound the start of the race with a vuvuzela.
As we set off I was somewhere in the middle of the group, but by the time we reached the second incline I was breathing like a rhino after a good run (I imagine). I needed to rest and what better way than a quick stop to aim my camera at something . . . or the people who overtook me. . . er, us? My sister Adri, who also entered the event, stayed close to me. Poor woman, she was being very patient with my need to take regular photo-breaks. Note to self – it’s not a good idea to do photo-walking in midst of a race!
For all those breaks I didn’t take that many photos. At some stage the wind picked up and played havoc with my macro attempts. We did see some interesting flowers and plants on the route, like the one below. I have no idea what it’s called.
After we checked back in to let the organizers know we didn’t get lost or injured somewhere along the way, we took a little path that runs along the seaside. This turned out to be the end of the 10km route. The last of those participants arrived not long after we completed our 5km stroll. It’s a good thing I didn’t enter to win because that would’ve caused some serious embarrassment!
Unfortunately we couldn’t stay for the informational talks that were scheduled for later in the day. But, we did need food. While we waited for our order at one of the restaurants that look out over the harbour, we were treated to a water ballet by two sea lions.
What a great end to our morning!