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01 Aug, 2013

Saving Sudan

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Saving Sudan


Norman and Pedri are accustomed to the immense challenge and unpredictability of Comrades, and both are motivated to encourage others to give back. Norman has run Comrades twice while Pedri is a more experienced runner with 11 Comrades finishes under his belt, including an impressive best of 6:53. “It’s simple for us,” says Pedri, “running to give back is an opportunity for us to do what we love. We combine our love of Jesus and our love of running!”

 

THE MISSION

For Pedri and Norman, the Sudan4Jesus (S4J) initiative strives to implement a ‘buddy system’ every year where Comrades Marathon runners who are members will nominate a ‘buddy’ (athlete or not) to help them with their journey. “A runner has a buddy who inspires and helps throughout the journey,” explains Norman. “To run the Comrades, one commits and has to juggle work, family, training and fundraising, so it always helps to have someone with you.”

 

From a modest but commendable beginning in 2010 of raising R35 000 between the two runners, the campaign soon became more popular, with 20 members signing up in 2011 and raising around R115 000. “In 2012, we raised another R105 000, and the growth has been so amazing!” says Pedri.

 

Given the campaign’s rapid growth, Pedri and Norman now encourage an average of R5 000 raised per athlete with a target of signing up 100 athletes for Comrades 2013 and beyond. Near the end of 2012, they were well on their way, with 85 runners from 20 different running clubs having committed! Included in this 2013 Up Run S4J team is seasoned Comrades runner Louis Massyn, who has run 40 consecutive Comrades, as well as the 2012 Washie 100-miler winner Johan Van Der Merwe.

 

FOLLOWING THE FUNDS

For Pedri and Norman, the S4J campaign is not just about raising funds, they are hands-on when it comes to bringing the gospel to communities who haven’t heard it before, supplying ministry tools, and participating in outreach projects like painting schools in the area. Apart from their personal religious duty, S4J is also a humanitarian project. “It’s amazing to see the funding available to see our strategy work,” say Norman. “We can speak out on behalf of those who cannot, because the reality is that the country is still full of conflict and the government’s reign is violent.”

 

The duo believe that some runners have the natural DNA to want to give back and make a greater impact for change. “It’s about Comrades and giving back,” Pedri explains, “and at the finish of Comrades 2013, we’ll have a community at our stand and we’ll all celebrate!”


For more information about S4J and how to get involved, visit www.sudan4jesus.com and www.sudanpartners.org, or call Pedri on 012 460 5153.