Hearts beat together for endurance ride

The seventh annual Ride for MRP Foundation rallies cyclists together to raise funds and awareness for education and skills development

Inspired by the MRP Foundation’s vision of breaking the cycle of poverty and inequality and powered by the beating hearts of 43 courageous cyclists, the 2016 Ride for MRP Foundation (November 27 – 28) was a great success, raising over R350,000 for the youth development organisation so far.

With approximately 24 hours of cycling time divided between the two-day ride from Johannesburg to Durban, the endurance challenge requires plenty of passion, perseverance and training to cross the finish line. Since it was first staged in 2010 over R750,000 has been raised through the event with this year’s fundraising figure looking set to double last year’s target.

Searing temperatures reaching highs of 40℃, along with strong winds, severe thunderstorms and torrential downpours made the 2017 edition one of the toughest years to date but did little to deter the cyclists’ spirits and their commitment to the cause.

Despite tough weather conditions and having only started cycling just two years ago cyclist Sibongiseni ‘Sbo’ Zondi managed to successfully complete his first ride: “I was nervous as I’ve never cycled more than 200km or 12 hours in one day before but the Ride for MRP Foundation wasn’t as hard as I expected. It improved my networking, I connected with the guys and I learnt some skills. For me, riding a bike is not about cycling it’s about communicating with people and helping others.”

Cycling through some of South Africa’s beautiful scenery, the 1km long convoy stopped at numerous SPAR stores along the route to rehydrate, fuel up and try and replenish the 8,500 kilojoules each cyclist burnt over the journey.

Upon approaching Durban the colorful peloton was joined by the Metro Police to escort them safely through the busy streets and to the finishing line at the Mr Price Group Head Office, lined with family, friends and well-wishers.

Natasja Ambrosio, Director of the MRP Foundation, was one of the twenty novice riders and joined the ride on the second day after taking over from Mr Price Group Chairman, Nigel Payne. As an integral part of the MRP Foundation, Natasja has witnessed the MRP Foundation’s education and skills development programmes firsthand.

“What an incredible experience, I have never seen camaraderie between people and for a cause like this before. Although it was tough it reminded me of the youth that we help and their daily challenges. What we faced on one day of the ride is nothing in comparison.”

Echoing Natasja’s sentiments, Stuart Bird, Mr Price Group CEO, was impressed by the heart as well as the physicality behind the event: “I’m extremely proud of what the MRP Foundation does for skills development and education. Chatting to other top retailers I believe that our programmes are some of the best in the youth development space. And it looks like we’re going to blow our fundraising target out of the water.”

Cyclists donned different colour jerseys, each representing how many times they’ve cycled the arduous Ride for MRP Foundation. The Absa red jersey was worn by the cyclist who raises the most funds with Clynt Lund, Johannesburg, currently the man in red, raising over R20,000 for the 2015 edition of the ride. The cyclist who raises the most funds for 2016 wins a Raleigh tandem bike and will wear the red jersey in the 2017 edition of the Ride for MRP Foundation.

MRP Foundation would like to thank the sponsors Absa, SPAR, Deloitte, Defy, CMH Nissan Durban, Raleigh, Finance Spec, KTM Durban, Zebbies and Cyclesphere.

You can continue to pledge your support for the Ride for MRP Foundation by SMS’ing the word “Ride” to 38417 and a donation of R10.00 will be made.

The Ride for MRP Foundation cyclists are:

Yellow jersey / 7 rides: Craig Jones

Absa Red jersey / 6 rides: Clynt Lund

Green jersey / 5 or more rides: Randy Walker, Leon Crous, Keagan Matthews, Dave Duke

Pink jersey / 3 or more rides: Ryan Katz, Gary Raath, Brad Rowlett, Neels Taljaard, Greg Stedman, Michael Rowland, Jimmy Redman, Randy Walker

White jersey / 2 or more rides: Nolan Waldhausen, Tessa Hesse, Camilla Howard-Browne, Bruce Titmuss, Bruce Mc Donald, Travis Stedman, Mitchel Potgieter, Nigel Payne (1 day), Adrian Payne, Arrie Rautenbach, August van Heerden, George Oertel, Rob Alexander, Taschyana Hurter, Natasja Ambrosia (1 day), Dylan Burmester, Philip Rutkiewicz, Martin Buck, David Yapp, Geoffrey Lee, Lyle Nesbitt, Claire Matthews, Tanner Quinn, Dion Ross, Sbo Zondi, Reece Tifflin, Quintus van der Berg, Dylan Cherry, Desiree Verwey, Anele Mncwabe

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