02 Oct, 2014

Riding for the deaf

The 350 pupils that attend St Vincent School for the Deaf need hearing aids.

You don’t believe us? How is this for a tragedy?

During August 2014, a pupil from the school passed away after a train hit him while he was on his way to school. Although all the details aren’t known at this stage, it is pretty certain that he didn’t hear the train coming.

And that is the major motivation for 55 athletes from both the running and cycling disciplines to take up the ELB Challenge.

Basically speaking, the ELB Challenge is to run or cycle 550 kilometres in 50 hours.

According to Rodger Winter, the organiser, the ELB Challenge had humble beginnings.

“About six years ago, a couple of cycling buddies and I decided to ride down to Pietermaritzburg and then take part in the Amashova the next day,” he explained.

These brave pioneers raised money for CHOC along the way, but it was never a formalised event.

This year, Dr Stephen Meijers, who is a keen long distance runner, challenged Rodger to formalise the ride.

“But he asked me to include a few relay teams to challenge the cyclists,” he mused.

So the ELB Challenge was born. Cyclists will leave Stonehaven-on-Vaal at 08:00 on 8 October and begin their four day stage race to Pietermaritzburg, with stops at Reitz, Drakensville, Mooirivier and Pietermaritzburg.

These stages are 147, 161, 126 and 80 kilometres respectively.

Runners, who are split up into five teams of five runners each, will run a minimum distance of 70 kilometres each and will leave Stonehaven-on-Vaal at 11:00 on Thursday 9 October.

However, for the runners this will be a non-stop, 24-hour endurance relay.

Bragging rights will be given to either the cyclists or the runners, depending on who arrives at Pietermaritzburg first. The scheduled arrival is at around 11:00 on Saturday 11 October, but who knows what will happen.
Raymond Travers

Raymond Travers

Modern Cyclist Editor |