Noel and I participated in the Gratitude Run last weekend. The 5 kilometre Fun Run/Walk was hosted by Distance for Difference – a charitable organisation that was founded in 2004. Stephan Pieterse founded it by running for people in need. Many others have since joined him and today D4D is making a significant difference by generating funds for organisations that work with children in need. They do this by mobilizing athletes who include runners, cyclists, walkers and swimmers, in obtaining sponsorship for every kilometer which they complete during a year or for specific events.
The race took place at Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West. This meant that we had to be up at 6.30am to make it in time for registration before the race started. We usually don’t have a problem getting up early, but we had just hosted my nephew’s 9th birthday party the day before and as everyone knows, kiddies’ parties usually end up being adults parties. We only got to bed after 12am with the last of the guests leaving just after 11pm. So when the alarm went off, I was not a happy chappy and neither was Noel.
I had been looking forward to this event for a while and knew that if we decided not to go, I would be very disappointed and I would have to live with the regret. So we dragged ourselves out of bed and off to the winelands for this truly humbling event.
The beneficiary for the race was Little Angels – a home for children with special needs, situated in Somerset West. They are a full-time, community-based care facility dedicated to empowering and encouraging children to develop to their full potential by improving their physical or mental performance and thus enjoying a better quality of life. It was such a special moment – before the race, the children from the Little Angels home graced the participants by posing for some photos with us. They are such precious souls and it was heart breaking for me to see them confined to wheelchairs L. It made me realise that the small contribution we had made to participate in the race goes a long way to make these children’s lives a little bit better and that getting up at 6.30am was nothing compared to the challenges that they must face every day.
The race started promptly at 9.00am and the caregivers of the Little Angels home showed their support for the runners/walkers by standing along the route. It was really a humbling experience because we were constantly reminded of who we were doing it for. Some of the Little Angels were participants themselves, being pushed by their caregivers alongside the runners and what an emotional moment it was for me when Noel was asked to help push a little girl in her wheelchair to give her caregiver a much needed break.
The race was taxing at times because the entire route was on and around the estate, which meant that a few kilometres was on hard gravel and uneven ground. But it also meant that we were privileged to be walking through the beautiful vineyards the entire way. The light breeze was a highly welcomed one because the sun decided to show off with the temperature reaching 29 degrees by midday J. The estate is really beautiful and was the perfect place to host the event, because with all the surrounding beauty, you almost forgot that you were going uphill and that your thighs sometimes felt like they were on fire!
At 10.30am, which was the cut off for the race, there was a lucky draw prize giving. Prizes from the generous sponsors included Spur Steak Range vouchers, spa vouchers and free goodies from vendors of the Lourensford Market which was also taking place on the estate. The main prize was a Le Creuset Kettle! Although I was sad not to have won it, I was overjoyed that I did win a bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Wolfieskop.
We headed off to the market once the prize giving was done and enjoyed a gourmet burger from The Emporium. I know what you are thinking – yes, we had just gained back the calories we lost doing the race by indulging in this unhealthy, albeit yummy treat, but it was so worth it and I think we deserved to reward ourselves – don’t you?
All in all, a good day and a wonderful end to a busy weekend. I feel truly blessed to have been part of this event. It made me realise that something we take for granted such as walking or the ability to run, is someone else’s lifelong dream. I will definitely think twice before I complain about my legs being sore or not wanting to walk to the shop nearby. Sometimes we need to be reminded of how truly blessed we are to put things into perspective.