To China and back for Conservation

Bradley Schroder, Panayota Galanakis, Wilna-Mari Van Staden and Greg Canning in their team shirts are all ready for their trip to China. The group will leave South Africa on 16 May 2016
Bradley Schroder, Panayota Galanakis, Wilna-Mari Van Staden and Greg Canning in their team shirts are all ready for their trip to China. The group will leave South Africa on 16 May 2016

Four enthusiastic athletes and conservationists from the Waterberg are putting themselves out there to create awareness and collect donations by running both the Great Wall of China Marathon and the Comrades Marathon in rhino suits and that all within eight days.
Bradley Schroder (42) and Greg Canning (42), both from Welgevonden Game Reserve between Vaalwater and Lephalale, Panayota Galanakis (31) and Wilna-Mari Van Staden (35) both from Vaalwater make up the team of four.
The group will be leaving South Africa on Monday 16 May, where they will use the first few days to prepare for the marathon. The Great Wall of China marathon takes place on Saturday 21 May and is exactly 42,2km long.
The group will then return to South Africa on Tuesday 24 May. Then another journey begins to Pietermaritzburg where the two men, Schroder and Canning, will be running the Comrades Marathon on Sunday 29 May. The two ladies, Galanakis and Van Staden, will only be team support during the Comrades.
“Lots of people asked me how it all started but I am actually not sure. I met Cathy Dean, Director of Save the Rhino International, a few years ago and she planted the seed. In the end I decided to run the London Marathon in a rhino suit in both 2014 and 2015. But for 2016 I felt like I needed another challenge and something a little more extreme. I also wanted more people to join and support the cause of the rhino,” Bradley Schroder explained.
“I first asked my girlfriend, Panayota, if she would be up for the challenge of running the Great Wall of China marathon. She quickly agreed. Then my friend Greg was contacted and he was also in. Wilna-Mari was initially asked if she will join the team as physiotherapist but soon afterwards agreed to also be one of the runners,” Schroder continued.
Both rhino suits, belong to Save the Rhino International, which is a charity organisation based in the UK. The suits are still in London and the team are trying to figure out a way to get them to South Africa before they depart for China.
The main purpose of the team is to create awareness for the rhinos, to collect money for rhino conservation and to educate people about rhinos and their importance in the eco-system.
All costs for the trip have to be paid for by the four team members themselves and just the return trip to China is over R200 000 for the group.
If you would like to donate money towards the expenses, their bank account details are as follows: FNB. Running with Rhinos. Account number 625 838 18 441. Use your name and contact number as the reference.
If you would prefer to donate towards rhino conservation go to the website www.justgiving.com/running-rhinos and click on the donate button. You can donate anything from R1 to a million.
Also follow the group on Facebook on their page Running Rhinos.
“Be one in a million! Even if you just donate R1 towards our cause it can and will make a difference,” Schroder concluded.

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