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Sport
Local runner fulfils passion

With the 2020 Comrades Marathon cancelled due to the Covid-19-pandemic many runners around the country hung up their running shoes, but local Stellenbosch runner Andrew Bird took the challenge on and ran his own Comrades.

He ran a virtual race in aid of Helping Hands SA on Sunday 14 June, and raised more than R30 000.

“I originally entered Comrades with the goal of running below nine hours, which I hadn’t previously been able to do,” Bird said. “From March it was unlikely Comrades would go ahead, so I reduced my running and stopped during Phase 5. When I started running again during Phase 4 I started enjoying being outdoors and running.”

He said at the beginning of June he realised he could go the full distance, and contacted Vicky van der Merwe of Stellenbosch Triathlon Squad (STS) to run the idea past her. “Once Vicky took charge, with assistance from David Papenfus, running was the only thing I had to worry about.”

STS held a virtual run (Home Run for the Homeless) during Lockdown to raise money for Helping Hands SA, and Bird was impressed with the projects undertaken, the people involved and their messaging. He completed the race in 09:13:00 on a beautiful Winelands winter’s day.

“It was a scenic, fairly flat 10 km loop through Stellenbosch, generally following the river, the central point being Kompanjie in Dorp Street. The support was overwhelming, from family, friends and the STS community, many of whom joined me for a few loops.”

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