The first edition of the 24 hour Achilles Hope & Possibility Hand Cycling Relay Race at the Moses Mabhida Stadium over the weekend was a resounding success sparking interest in the event that is poised to expand country wide.
With over 500 participants and spectators on hand for the 24 hour relay around the People’s Park track, the event achieved its goal in raising funds and awareness for Ethembeni School and Achilles South Africa. The event went a long way in highlighting the issues faced by disabled athletes and communities.
“What a incredible effort from all the people involved,” organiser Gordon Reid said. “We had twelve teams that completed a total of 3500 kilometres and we are currently in the process of tallying up how much money we raised.
“The teams comprised of corporate entries, entrepreneurs doing a team-building for their staff, and individuals making up teams.
“It was fantastic to see the local wheelchair basketball team, the Ethekwini Spears, taking part in the event and they managed to ride for the full 24 hours!”
Getting the support from local government and role players was a crucial part in getting the initiative off the ground. Reid was hugely appreciative for their involvement in helping the event be successful.
“We had great buy-in from eThekwini municipality and especially Vulnerable Groups which falls under Community Participation.
“The city and the Moses Mabhida Stadium want the event to be on a yearly basis but we might even have another event at Moses Mabhida later this year. Johannesburg and Cape Town negotaitions have started already!”
The need to try and reduce the costs for the event have been noted and Reid and his team are already trying to come up with more cost-effective ways to put on the event so they can raise as much money as possible.
“The city understood the importance of such events because many disabled kids are left at home and sit still for long periods of time which isn’t good for them at all.
“We will thus be changing the format of the race and have been in discussions with local engineer to see if we can develop a hardier, cheaper version of the handcyles we were riding this weekend,” Reid added.
Zimbabwean businessman living with Multiple Sclerosis, Oliver Sinclair, flew in and brought four disabled athletes along to take part in the epic relay.
Having connected with his teammates while completing the Victoria Falls Marathon, Oliver and his team put in the hard yards in preparation and it paid off as they took home the race trophy, clocking more than 400 kilometres during their 24 hour ride.
The team that he brought down from Zimbabwe had never seen the sea before and Oliver was delighted when they had the opportunity to see the ocean for the first time.
There were many contributors and donors to the event including Slingshot Productions, Extreme Events, IGS Investigations and Security, Finish Time, Expand a Sign, Traderoot Technologies, Ocean Eyewear, Connectiv Digital, aQuellé, Mandate Meal Management, MG Print Services and Uzwelo Bags.