Feedback from participants in the Rotary Club of Parys’ Vaal Eden Rhino Challenge on Saturda, 28th and Sunday 29th March was that this was an awesome event with fantastic trails in magnificent scenery.
The event featured 4 trail runs over 2 days at 2 wildlife parks, The Savannah Africa and The Dell on the Vaal Eden Road north of Parys. The full Vaal Eden Rhino Challenge consisted of the 25km Savannah Rhino Trail Run on the Saturday plus the 15km Antelope Trail Run on the Sunday. However, there was an option to run just one of these or one of the shorter runs, the 11km Vaal Riverside Trail Run and the 7km Wildebeest Wonder Trail Run, or combine the runs to suit any one’s individual ability or preference.
As they set off on the Saturday, the runners were treated to the sight of the rhino family running alongside them for a while. The buffaloes could also be seen running a short distance away. Trail runners were treated to steep hill climbs and rolling dales with sightings of impala, springbok, blesbok, wildebeest, buffalo, giraffes, zebras, monkeys and ostriches. Both runs returned along a 5km secluded section of the Vaal River, a particular feature of this event.
On the Sunday, the views from the Antelope Trail Run received their usual rave reviews and the revised Wildebeest Trail Run with a short section along the Vaal River also received many favourable comments. First Man and Woman on the full Vaal Eden Challenge were Traquil Gumbo and Anita O’Brien. TomTomSA had donated 4 Runner Cardio Watches worth R3800 each as prizes for the 1st and 2nd Men and Women. Secpmd Man was last year’s winner, junior Chris Strydom. Maria Munro was 2nd woman. Attie Koekemoer of Anatomic also donated vouchers for the top 3 men and women.
There were 125 runners. It raised over R17 000 for the Rotary Club of Parys and the community pulled together to make this an event to remember. The volunteers included Rotarians and students from Weiveld School. The Weiveld tractor and trailor helped transport equipment from one venue to another and back to Parys on the Sunday afternoon. The Epilepsy SA bus helped transport volunteers. Local businesses sponsored lucky draw prizes including The Dell Wildlife Park, The Savannah Africa, Savannah Game and River Resort, Stonehenge in Africa, Pickled Pig Pub and Pie House and Anatomic. Kalizma, the volunteer paramedic from Community Care Emergency Management was on standby and treated 2 people. Cash donations were received from Harcourts and Smitties.
Results for and photos of the event can be found on the Facebook page Vaal Eden Rhino Challenge for Rotary Parys and on the website http://domerunners.vdome.co.za/vaal-eden-rhino-challenge-sa-entries/ The plans for 2016 include changing the date as late March is proving too close to the Two Oceans for many participants. The 2016 dates will be announced in due course. Efforts will continue to attract international runners which will have greater economic benefit to the community. You can learn more about the Rotary Club of Parys by contacting Judy on [email protected]