Archive for October 2011

CHANGE A LIFE INTER-SCHOOLS X-COUNTRY: BAREFOOT MANIA….

Change a Life Inter-Schools X-Country

 Now I know why moving to PMB to be close to my Change a Life Academy was a good thing – as witnessing the raw talent and determination of kids running full speed in the Valley of a thousand Hills “Because they can”, gave me such a ‘warm fuzzy feeling’….
So instead of the conventional ‘thanking of sponsors’ at the end, I would like to whole-heartedly thank them foremost, because without them, none of this could of happened – getting ten Zulus in the top 36 of the 2009 Dusi to the present – ten Valley Schools sending their 20 best runners…. So to the “Change a Life” Trust & Computershare, USN & Hi-Tec  thanks a million for your consistent support & belief in the Martin Dreyer ‘Change a life’ Academy, so very much appreciated.

‘BOOM, BOOM’ – the tranquil beauty of Nagle Dam awoke to the beat of 6 foot high speakers, as local Taxis dropped 200 of the most athletically talented kids from Ten Schools in the neighbourhood. Two CAL Zulus already had Boerewors (kindly sponsored by Parklane Spar) braaing over red-hot coals.

With this being the most hotly contested CAL X-Country to date, the big question was, could Phangindawo Junior School maintain their unbeaten record. The Trophies were on Display, adding to the already charged atmosphere….

As I anticipated, African time took over, and the Junior Schools lined up 30min behind schedule. It didn’t matter, as a ‘hell of a good time’ was being had by all and there was no-one we were accountable to, except ourselves. Richard explained the course to the Juniors….

 and then they were off…. You would have thought this was a 1km race from the pace off the start. My ‘Change a Life’ cyclist acting ‘Traffic Cop/flashing lights, lead the charging youngsters over the Dam Wall….

The Parent instinct in me came to the fore, as I couldn’t resist giving assistance to the tail enders, running alongside them – “take it easy, this is a big hill….”

 My CAL Running League coordinator, Kwanda Mhlophe, was the ‘Rabbit’ out front. He said afterwards, “I stopped quickly to do up my lace, Shew, I had to work so hard to get in front again. These kids are running so fast!”
Taking the average of the first ten runners determines a School’s result. To the delight of their pupils and credit of the principal, Mr Mchunu, Ngabanyena claimed the Junior School’s winner Trophy. Most deserved, considering it is the smallest School of them all inflatable toys canada.

The Senior Scholars fidgeted nervously on the start-line as Richard briefed them: “….this was going to be harder than any of their School-Time trials you have run – be careful, there is a big mountain you must climb near the end!”

 It was impossible trying to get one of my CAL Zulus to be the ‘Rabbit out front’ to lead the way. This was because, some had witnessed the incredible speed these youngsters were capable of whilst hosting School Time-Trials.They had warned the other Change a Lifers: “you will be beaten”. So I asked Thomas Ngidi (best CAL runner present) to make a go of it. Before the start, he asked who the fastest kids are and then commented “I can see they fast, they skinny like me”.
However, just like the Juniors, some couldn’t resist and took off like there was no tomorrow. After the first kilometre, the frontrunners were jostling for position upon entering the single file 200m tunnel, that burrowed deep beneath the Dam.

Coming out of the Tunnel, leg burning stairway….

From here athletes ran on the rugged rural track, that circumnavigated the picturesque Dam.

Anything goes when it comes to shoes to run in, from Booties, slippers, soccer boots to running shoes 2 sizes too small. Having something on your feet, was a status symbol – better than barefoot.

 However, the first three speed machines, couldn’t be bothered with inferior footwear fashion and all three crossed the line barefoot. Below is the second Senior School youngster, gunning it high above the Dam…. 2 kilometers from the finish.

Kwanda & his CAL posse had prepared the route, marking & removing thorns etc….  Trophies were awarded to the winning Primary & High Schools, lucky draw prizes from Hi-Tec and medals to the top 3 finishers (girls & boys) in each category.

 And the USN Active sports drinks was such a treat for all finishers, along with the Boerie roll. What an awesome day….


In line, with making this Running League sustainable, quietly spoken Richard Cele was given the duty of doing the Prize-giving. I was completely blown away by his confidence  presenting the Trophies – he was quite the character, adding his personal touch, he kept the Kids entertained. He would say: “well done to X from Nhlanhlayayebuze. Mmm…. you can see he has been training hard, look how thin he is….

With Ngabayena having obtained second position the last time and Mr Mchunu’s kids enjoying their trip so very much to PMB and the Spur (first time ever to the Mall & Spur), I am so pleased that now they will be able to experience that again, but the bonus of getting the Gold medal, is that a Movie ticket for each kid is added to the mix.

Senior Schools:

1st – Nhlanhlayayebuze High School

2nd- Masijabule High School

3rd – Sansikane High School

Junior Schools:

1stNgabanyena Junior School

2nd – Phangindawo Junior School

3rd – Maqonqo Junior School