Twenty-six intrepid riders found a way to combine fun, fitness, fellowship and fund raising in November. Riding for Team HOPE Cycle4Change, they completed 94.7 km (58.8miles) in the largest cycle challenge held in Johannesburg, South Africa. And, in the process, they raised money for HOPE worldwide South Africa’s Early Childhood Development programme (ECD).
“It was tough but awesome,” said Marc Aguirre, director of HOPE worldwide SA, who spearheaded the team’s third participation in the annual event that attracts around 28,000 cycling enthusiasts. “Every rider had a goal to raise a certain amount of money and got their family, friends and corporate sponsors to support him or her. We’re very grateful for those who gave their time and effort. The first few years of a child’s life are the most critical in their development. We want to maximize this unique window of opportunity to give every child the best possible start in life,” he said.
TeamHOPE consisted of experienced and novice riders. After the event, which tookplace in the scorching summer heat, some very tired but happy riders reflectedon their experience.
Marc’s wife, Keri, completed her second race and said she enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with her husband and other disciples — riding, talking, fellowship — and to get fit. “When I started, I was very afraid of the bicycle and couldn’t go very fast at all. The whole thing was a huge challenge for me. The thought of riding 94.7 km was very daunting and I thought I’d never be able to do it, but it’s such a lesson in how God created us to stretch and push ourselves and rely on Him.” Having notched up another milestone, Keri and other team members, have already signed up for the 2019 event.
Newly married Kate Roux found being married, and training with her husband CJ, put a fun yet different spin on the event. “Last year, we rode together as an engaged couple, but this year the facade of ‘impressing one another’ was down. Communication and consideration were key to building up our relationship and ensuring we both had a positive experience while completing the race for children in need. Cycling for Team HOPE was a huge motivating factor to train and finish the race and we’d definitely do it again.”
Jenine Zachar completed her first race and was happy to go from couch to 94.7 km in seven months. She wrote on her fundraising profile: “We’ve been involved with HOPE [worldwide] for over a decade in different capacities. And now I got the opportunity to use this milestone in my life to try to raise some monetary support for an organization that helps children have the right start in life — something I resonate with more now, having small kids of my own.”
Another first-timer was sports fanatic, Wim Diederichs, who enjoyed the camaraderie of Team HOPE, who trained together every Saturday morning. “I loved the idea of ‘riding for a purpose’. My fundraising went very well. The tax exemption that HOPE [worldwide] has is a game-changer. I’d like to encourage others who are thinking of participating. It’s an amazing vibe, lots of fun to train with the team and best is the knowledge that you can make a difference while having fun.”
Sandile Mhlungu completed his second race. “I was really grateful that I could ride and contribute towards early childhood development. Thanks to Team HOPE for the platform and their continued support to the children’s lives,” he said.
HOPE worldwide South Africa serves and supports over 20,000 children every month. If you would like to support their Early Childhood Development work, go to www.hopeww.org/ecd.