’Mad’ KZN runners, from left, Lauren Abdo, Linda Rudolph, Willa van den Heever and Dan de Kretser, prepare for next month’s 24-hour relay run from Johannesburg to Cape Town to raise money for education for the needy.
’Mad’ KZN runners, from left, Lauren Abdo, Linda Rudolph, Willa van den Heever and Dan de Kretser, prepare for next month’s 24-hour relay run from Johannesburg to Cape Town to raise money for education for the needy.

KZN’s MAD runners warm up

By Duncan Guy Time of article published Sep 18, 2021

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KZN will have its largest-ever representation in an annual Francois Pienaar legacy relay to raise funds for education.

Ballito-based graphic designer Dan de Kretser sometimes rises at 4.30am to train for next month’s Mad2Run event, a 24-hour relay run from Johannesburg to Cape Town, to raise education funds for the needy.

He is one of eight runners from KZN to enter the event founded by former Springbok rugby captain Francois Pienaar. It’s the first time the province has contributed enough members to make a team rather than a couple of individual runners. This year will be the eighth event.

The Covid pandemic and the looting and rioting in KZN both impacted on De Kretser’s running.

“I was in Sweden (which did not go into lockdown) when some of my mates back in South Africa and I decided to run to raise money for Covid.”

While the friends practised at home ‒ lockdown style ‒ De Kretser had the freedom to explore the lakes and forests of his temporary home in Scandinavia, where he also ended up working at an international school.

“I was the ‘free-est’ of the lot.”

On returning home, he decided to carry on running to raise money for various causes and signed up for the running event of Mad2Adventures. There is also a parallel cycling event, Mad2Cycle. Mad stands for "making a difference"

The campaign backs people from disadvantaged backgrounds who have leadership potential and helps with their fees and other needs. There are 300 beneficiaries at present, the number being determined by how much cash there is in the coffers.

This year’s eight-day event aims to raise R2 million, according to co-founder of the MAD Dayle Raaf. It is scheduled to start on October 8.

July’s unrest caused further hardship to some beneficiaries of the fund, even several weeks after the event. Eight beneficiaries and their families had no access to food.

The KZN team stepped in but since “on the weekend there was snow in Hillcrest”, De Kretser joined teammate Lauren Abdo at The Pavilion to hand over food parcels.

“After I dropped Dan off, I sat and had a cry,” said Abdo.

“Meeting them and hearing them talk about the difference the race makes really hit home for me. You talk so much about running for future leaders and scholars but you don’t get to see them.

“It’s not about the race, it’s about so much more.”

The other KZN entrants are Linda Rudolph, Willa van den Heever, Kyle van den Heever, Simone Barrett and Jayme Forget.

Next Tuesday, September 28, the KZN team will host a golf day at Simbithi Country Club to raise sponsorship. For more information, visit http://facebook.com/2madsthatrun/events

The Independent on Saturday

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