Taotitian, 15, took it upon himself to ensure success for his troop and walked the entire distance. Picture: Supplied
Taotitian, 15, took it upon himself to ensure success for his troop and walked the entire distance. Picture: Supplied

Margate teen walks 1290km for his troop

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Aug 2, 2020

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By Natasha Kayle

Durban - A Margate teenager “virtually” stepped in the footsteps of scouting pioneer Baden Powell recently by walking repeated laps around his home, which eventually tallied 1290km.

Taotitian Sinclair’s marathon effort (#HiketoMahikeng), which amounted to 14843 laps and lasted 186.5 hours, was completed, ahead of Saturday’s World Scout Scarf Day.

As motivation to exercise and get some fresh air during the Covid-19 lockdown, Scouts South Africa, the country’s controlling body for scouting, challenged affiliated scout groups to cumulatively complete the distance Powell covered. He trekked from Cape Town to Mahikeng (North-West) and planted the seeds of scouting.

But Taotitian, 15, took it upon himself to ensure success for his troop and walked the entire distance.

“It was during lockdown that my scouter, Chris Rhino Pieters, encouraged us to take on the #HikeToMahikeng Challenge”, said Taotitian.

“I did not start out intending to walk so far. I had worked out that for the whole Troop to do 1290km, 65 people would have to walk 20km and my troop is not that large. My intention was to hike 200km.”

To cover the distance, he had to wake at 4.30am each morning.

“Once or twice I woke at 3am and walked by torch light. All this early morning walking was tiring, but I learnt about a Buddhist practice called Jongram, which is a Thai word that means pacing back and forth on a straight path,” which he said was good for patience and visualisation.

“I hope I am able to be an inspiration to other scouts,” he said.

His proud mother Carla Sinclair said: “It was hard work and it tested his perseverance and his determination to fulfil a commitment he had made to himself."

Gary Pienaar, Scouts South Africa’s chief commissioner, said scouting was an outdoor educational programme that aimed to equip young people with the skills and self-confidence to become responsible citizens and future leaders.

“Members are encouraged to pursue their interests. Taotitian has shown he has a ‘can-do attitude’ and the perseverance to tackle any challenges. And that one person can make a difference by setting a wonderful example to his fellow scouts,” said Pienaar.

Sunday Tribune

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