Michel Bega

By Michel Bega

Multimedia Editor


Cape to Cairo on foot: Keith Boyd aims for Guinness record

Keith Boyd's incredible 11 200km run from Cape Town to Cairo aims to set a Guinness world record while promoting democracy.


On 27 July, Capetonian Keith Boyd took his first steps on a planned 11 200km journey, running from Cape Town to Cairo in a Guinness world record attempt. Almost 1 500km later, he has now reached Johannesburg and was in Soweto yesterday. The existing record was set in 1998 and sits at 318 days. Boyd hopes to complete his journey in 280 days. But the 57 year old has a greater purpose. He is running for his NGO, Rainbow Leaders, which aims to motivate young South Africans to vote, to grow the economy and reduce unemployment, poverty and inequality. “I…

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On 27 July, Capetonian Keith Boyd took his first steps on a planned 11 200km journey, running from Cape Town to Cairo in a Guinness world record attempt.

Almost 1 500km later, he has now reached Johannesburg and was in Soweto yesterday. The existing record was set in 1998 and sits at 318 days.

Boyd hopes to complete his journey in 280 days. But the 57 year old has a greater purpose.

He is running for his NGO, Rainbow Leaders, which aims to motivate young South Africans to vote, to grow the economy and reduce unemployment, poverty and inequality.

“I just want youngsters to plug into democracy.

“We don’t need riots and violence. Our elections are free and fair,” said Boyd, as he sat on the pavement outside the Moroka police station in Soweto, where his run ended the day before.

In a few minutes, he was due to hit the tarmac again. Boyd is travelling with a team of between three and six people at any one time.

They sleep in a caravan, tents and the occasional B&B. Along his journey, Boyd is speaking at schools to spread the message.

So far, they have been to 140 schools and hope to reach 3 000.

“What we’re saying to young people is that if they want jobs, and they want their children to have jobs, we need to have leadership that is trustworthy. And not voting is absolutely not a solution, because then the bad guys win. We need to elect the right leaders and hold them accountable.”

The run is extreme and Boyd believes that is what will draw attention to the cause. At this point in his challenge, he has realised that he is underprepared.

Boyd’s longest run before this was a standard marathon distance of 42.2km which, he said, he can complete in 3hr 45min when racing.

But to break the record, he will need to complete his mission running about 40km per day, day in and day out. And this will be at a much slower pace.

He is struggling with some pain in his ankle, which he hopes to sort out while in Johannesburg.

“I knew it was going to be the best and worst thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he said, with a laugh.

“I’d like to see it proceed past the initial nine months, into a 20-year journey of encouraging people to embrace democracy.”

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