Dave Els (aka Barefoot Dave) will be running the 2013 Comrades Marathon to raise money for Qhubeka.
Dave has been running since 2004, although he says he also did some running in his early teens, He comes from a family of runners. In fact, his father ran the Comrades Marathon 21 times. “My eldest brother has his claim to fame by finishing sixth in the Bergville to Ladysmith Ultra-Marathon awhile back,” says Dave. “My other brother, now in Canada, had Springbok colours for both duathlon and triathlon. I have run a sub three-hour marathon (2h58m), which was probably my best road race to date.
“This will be my first Comrades ever. I have four Two Oceans Ultra medals and have run the Mont Aux Sources Challenge three times, so I feel that I am now suitably prepared to take the next step and run Comrades.
“I heard about Qhubeka while watching an episode of Supercycling one evening and thought that it’s one of the better charities. I love being on a bicycle – no matter how old you are, it is always fun riding a bike! I’ve also done some work around rural areas and have seen how far some of the kids walk to school, and it just doesn’t seem right. I believe every child should have access to education, and that South Africa will never be an equal country unless everyone gets an education. I also think it is fantastic that recipients of the Qhubeka bikes are asked to do work towards their community and environment, which teaches them a sense of responsibility.”
Plus, he adds with a smile, “The idea of running 87km is a bit stupid, so I thought doing it in the name of a charity at least makes it a little more sensible!”
Because this is his first Comrades, Dave doesn’t want to put too much pressure on himself, but would like to achieve a silver medal (sub 7h30m).
“I’ll be running in honour of my father,” he says. “His ashes are scattered along the route at Sir Arthur’s Seat, just after the halfway mark. I wrote to the Comrades Association and have inherited my dad’s permanent number, 318. I feel incredibly honoured to run using his number. It’s certainly going to be an emotional day.”
Dave has raised funds through his running before, but on a relatively small scale (he was asked to raise R1 200). “I’ve set my goal for Qhubeka at R18 000, and I am hoping to raise a more than that,” he says.
Barefoot Dave got his nickname a few years back when he began to investigate a minimalist style and started to running in Vibram FiveFingers shoes. “It has now become a lifestyle for me,” he says. “I just about live in my FiveFingers and preach the benefits of using them wherever I can. Finishing Comrades in them will be quite a feat (excuse the pun!).”
To support Dave by contributing towards his Comrades fundraising efforts, you can make a donation in his name (using Barefoot Dave as a reference) with the bank details below, or through PayPal.
Qhubeka bank details:
Account Name: Qhubeka
Branch Name: Business North Rand
Branch Code: 146905
If you’re undertaking a sporting event and you’d like to raise funds for Qhubeka, consider riding on us.