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Half Marathon Team Smashes Charity Fundraising Record

26 Oct 2011

October is always an exciting time of year for the SOS Africa Charity, as after months of training and fundraising, our Half Marathon Team finally takes to the streets of Cardiff to raise valuable funds for the SOS Africa children. This October proved to be a particularly exciting month because, following the completion of the 13.1 mile circuit, the team members would then battle it out for the grand prize awarded to its top fundraiser; two tickets to South Africa to meet the SOS Africa children.

Although this was now the 7th year that SOS Africa had taken a team to the event, there are always a few nerves among the charity’s volunteers as the odd questions pass through their minds, such as ‘have the runners set their alarm clocks’ or ‘will they remember their running numbers,’ as we wait by the bus at 6.30am, on the morning of the race. However, these fears are always quickly allayed when the first runners appear through the early morning mist. It is a real credit to each of our team members that by departure time, all but one had arrived on time, despite the early start and the somewhat daunting task which lay ahead.

And if the idea of 65 students getting up at 6am to run a half marathon in aid of children with whom they have no acquaintance isn’t inspiring enough, this year’s team contained three individuals with stories so incredible that they might persuade even the most inactive of people to consider taking on a formidable challenge in order to raise funds for the underprivileged.

As the team bus weaved among the hordes of competitors and spectators, it was clear that this year’s race, labelled the largest ever road race staged on Welsh soil, was going to be extra special. Upon entering the pre-race chaos, the atmosphere was electrifying as the large group of SOS Africa running shirts steadily blended into the masses of people heading for the start line. Before long the race had begun and the starting area steadily began to empty. It was then a case of making a dash for the spots around the course where the best photos could be taken and the loudest cheers could be heard. Every green SOS Africa shirt was sure to be greeted along the course by the familiar cheers and over-sized camera lens of Ann Crowcombe as she balanced rather precariously on a concrete bollard.

For me the most memorable part of the day, aside for the post-race food and drinks shared by all in the pub afterwards, was the moment when a tired looking Kelly Roberts accompanied by her loyal companion Tani Tenpah crossed the finish line greeted by the race organiser’s tannoy and a band of awestruck supporters. Their determination and bravery really is an example to us all. It was rather fitting therefore that by the fundraising deadline last Sunday at 6pm, the girls topped the leader board and won the two tickets to South Africa to meet the SOS Africa children. It will be a pleasure to introduce them to the children they have worked so hard to support.

We are also delighted to announce that this year’s half marathon team has raised a missive £11,640 for the SOS Africa children; that’s the highest amount ever raised by an SOS Africa fundraising team. On behalf of SOS Africa’s staff and children, I would like to thank all of the 65 members of SOS Africa’s 2011 Cardiff Half Marathon Team for their hard work. I would also like say a special thank you to the SOS Africa volunteers who helped make the day possible; Claudia Titley, Martin Dix, Ann Crowcombe and Charlotte Butler, and to Luke Young and Luke James, the Swansea Uni Students Union Presidents, past and present, for helping us recruit runners in the lead up to the event.

We are also pleased to announce that, after the overwhelming response we have received from this year’s runners and supporters, SOS Africa will be forming another Cardiff Half Marathon team for the 2012 race and you are all welcome to join us! Alternatively you can join us at our December Abseil fundraiser at Kilver Court, Shepton Mallet, to help us raise funds for the SOS School Bus Appeal.

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