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Change a Lifers continue to break boundaries

The team of athletes recently racked in top positions at the Non-Stop Dusi and are gearing up to take on the next set of challenging races.

THE athletes from Martin Dreyer’s Change a Life Academy pushed themselves to the limits at the Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon and the Sappi Howick MTB Classic.

The Non-Stop Dusi, which is the full FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon in one day, is one of the toughest river paddling and running assignments and the local group of athletes were once again showered in glory at the recent race.

Ambassadors and graduates of the Change a Life Academy, Sbonelo Khwela and Thulani Mbanjwa, won the 100km race ahead of Carl Folscher and Adrian Boros in second with Change a Lifers Richard Cele and Mpilo Zondi in third.

“Our paddlers had a terrific Non-Stop and unfortunately for Mthobisi (Cele), who won the race in 2017 with Mpilo Zondi, he had to pull out at Finger Neck due to illness,” Martin Dreyer mentioned.

“Mthobisi and Banetse (Nkhoesa) were one of the strongest crews that we had in the race so it’s unfortunate that they couldn’t carry on.”

The Non-Stop Dusi is a race that consists of more running and portaging than paddling and, coupled with a boat on your shoulder and temperatures in the Valley of 1 000 Hills can soar into the high 30s, it is a physically demanding race.

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“It is an incredible effort from anyone who finishes the Non-Stop Dusi, let alone in the conditions that they have had in the past two years. I was very happy for Richard (Cele) that he got onto the podium with Mpilo and it was an exciting race for second, third and fourth.

“To have two Non-Stop novices in Maswenkosi (Mtolo) and Thabani (Msiya) finishing in fourth place was also a terrific effort,” added Martin.

Tackling races like the Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon and the four day Berg River Canoe Marathon in the Western Cape challenges paddlers on so many levels, which is what Martin hopes to achieve with his academy.

“We want to redefine the limits of what these guys can achieve,” he explained. “It’s important to push them out of their comfort zones and the Non-Stop Dusi will literally change their lives and their outlooks. The Berg is very different from a physically taxing perspective but the mental demand can be compared with the Non-Stop.”

At the recent Sappi Howick MTB Classic, the RMB Change a Life Academy riders, Sthembiso Masango and Sipho Kupiso, finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Mboneni Ngcobo finished eighth after he didn’t have any front brakes on his bicycle and Ndumiso Dontso finished just behind him in ninth.

“We just wanted the guys to keep the wheels ticking over and stay in good shape for Epic where we will have two Change a Life teams riding,” concluded Martin.



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