Exceptional achievement

STEENBOKPAN — Pastors Karl and Marné Leonard, resident pastors for Steenbokpan Centre of Hope, and six of the residents, participated in the Marakele Marathon on Saturday 3 March.

Gene Irvine, Jacques Coetzee, Owen Musk, Pastor Karl Leonard, Jacques Nell, Mike Harris and Pieter Kruger

What makes this such an exceptional achievement are the fact that all six these runners have only been clean from drugs for four to five months. They committed themselves and trained really hard for the seven weeks leading up to this strenuous 42 kilometre mountain run in the Marakele National Park just outside Thabazimbi.

All seven runners completed the race and five of them qualified for the Comrades Marathon – an enormous achievement for people who, up to a few months ago, have lost all hope in life.

They also used this opportunity to raise money for a very worthy cause. People could sponsor each runner per kilometre they completed. This money was raised for the Bushveld Mission in Vaalwater, where 65 abandoned and neglected kids are being looked after. They recently ran out of water and are in desperate need of a borehole being drilled.

“We just want to thank everybody who believed in us and sponsored us. It was also heart-warming on the day of the race how the other runners and the public encouraged us after hearing our stories. Most of these guys have never done anything like this in their lives. They are used to rejection and shame in their lives and it meant much more to them than anybody could imagine,” Pastor Karl said.

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