Records smashed at 2017 Rhino Peak Challenge

Photo - Gameplan Media

A record total of R308 000 was raised by the nine elite trail runners and the twelve celebrities that took part in the Rhino Peak Challenge on World Rhino Day last Friday, 22 September, on day that saw Kane Reilly lower the Fast Known Time for the race.

“We had hoped to make R1 more than we raised last year, just to prove that there was long terms legs in this project ,” said event organiser Spurgeon Flemington. “To get to the figure that we did is very rewarding.

“While the money we raised will go a long way to helping the conservation efforts of the Black and White Rhino and the Bearded Vulture, the statement that each of these men and women made is worth far more than that,” he added.

“We were blown away by the passionate way that the conservationists who took part in the event approached the fundraising,” he added.

“They really pressurising their network of friends, colleagues and acquaintances to get the number of pledges that they did.

“Everyone brought in so much value to the event, whether through the amount they raised or, just as importantly, through the profile they gave to the event,” he said.

Each of the participants was tasked with securing pledges based on the time they expected to complete the tough 21 kilometre round trip from the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife office to the summit of the Rhino Peak and back.

Dennis Kelly, who is managing the Makhamisa Section of iMfolozi Game Reserve, topped the list of fundraisers, with a staggering R48 960 pledged by his backers.

“It was tough, but worth the exhilaration of getting to the top,” said Kelly. “It was a privilege to be involved in such an excellent cause. Huge thanks to everyone who pledged support.”

He is currently involved in rhino poaching law enforcement, but feels equally passionate about the plight of the Bearded Vulture, the co-beneficiary of the Rhino Peak Challenge.

“There are fewer vultures left in South Africa than rhino,” said Kelly. “Because of the fact that they spend so much time outside the boundaries of formally protected areas and are not as “likeable” as rhino, they face a very bleak future.”

Another very successful fundraiser was Zama Ncube, a Community Conservation Manager for the WWF and a passionate supporter of rhino conservation.

“I love rhinos and conservation and want to help in any way that I can. The more I can do to contribute by raising awareness and funding support the better,” said Ncube, who finished the 21km trip in 292 minutes, despite injuring muscles during the tough climb.

‘Suidooster’ soapie actor Marco Spaumer also ended up close to the top of the list of fundraisers, accumulating a massive R43 875 on his own, as he completed the 21km well inside his projected time of 480 minutes.

Rhino Peak Challenge 2017
1.Kane Reilly 140 minutes
2.Rory Scheffer 152 minutes
3.Johardt van Heerden 155 minutes
4.Mthobisi Mzolo 162 minutes
5.Sbonelo Khwela 195 minutes
6.Tracy Zunckel 211 minutes
7.Tarryn Lopez and Steven Erasmus 217 minutes