270. That is the number of days it has been since receiving the call saying we had been chosen to join MAD2Run 2017. 270 days of anticipation, excitement, trepidation and uncertainty.
24 runners signed up to something with a vague understanding of what the end result was, a 1560km run from Johannesburg to Cape Town, but no real concept of the enormity of the task, the journey to the start line and how it was going to touch each and every one of us slightly differently. We all signed up for different reasons, some joined hoping that the run would motivate them to take running a little more seriously, some, already seasoned runners, joined looking for another running challenge to tick off the bucket list, some joined because the non-running part sounded like fun and they would suffer through the running while others joined because it was something different, a break from the ordinary, a distraction and a good cause. None of us are pure-bred philanthropists, few of us could be considered seasoned athletes by any means, we are your average group of young people, all driven by different things, who agreed to step out of our comfort zone and take on MAD2Run 2017.
24 soon became 36 as each team of two adopted a third to act as a backup when the legs and/or senses of humour gave up! The additional 12 were sourced far and wide, some were poached during a moment of weakness or lapses of judgement while others were desperate to be part of the team and jumped at the second recruiting round. Before we knew it, 36 of us had signed the dotted line and were ready for the adventure MAD2Run was about to take us on. (or so we thought!)
Let us be clear on one thing, the past 270 days have not been what any of us expected!
While each of us may have joined MAD2Run for different reasons and looking to get different things out of the event, very soon there was a fundamental mindset shift. Exactly when the objectives of the event changed for each of us is may have varied, but it was early and it was quick. No longer were we a group of individuals looking to achieve our own personal goals, almost immediately we were a team with one objective – Raise over R1 million for the Make a Difference Leadership Foundation. As was framed so succinctly, the run from Johannesburg to Cape Town over seven days, 24 hours a day with minimal sleep, countless hours of driving and wallowing in others sweaty body odour is, in fact, a celebration of all the real work that has gone in before. Ok, understandably not your average idea of a celebration…
But the idea remains and the goal is the same. If we, as individuals, wanted to run from Johannesburg to Cape Town, well then it was quite simple – strap on some takkies, put one foot in front of the other and bugger off and do it! Anyone can do it if they wanted and it certainly would be easier than the undertaking that is MAD2Run 2017.
It was startling how quickly we all found the inner philanthropist within us and have flourished at the chance to turn our initial personal ambitions into something so much more. We have changed from 36 individuals, to one team with one goal and unbridled commitment to that goal.
The difference that the Make a Difference Leadership Foundation creates in each and every beneficiary scholar’s lives and the associated lives of those surrounding the scholars is an outcome that we are purely privileged to be a part of. Obviously we, as runners, do not have the same abilities, expertise and experience as the incredible people at the MAD Foundation and so it is ours to make sure that we can give as many young leaders of tomorrow the phenomenal opportunity provided by the MAD foundation.
The title of this post is “One Week to go” which in itself is a little misleading. After the journey we have all already been on, the friends we have made, the adventures, challenges and fun we have had, I think it is safe to say that it is more appropriate to look back and reminisce while looking forward and saying “One week remains”
Can we cross that final hurdle in the last few days to drive our team to that hallowed R1million mark?