Friday, 2 June 2017

22nd day of running - Hazel's Ten10 Challenge

As I got just over halfway in my annual birthday running challenge, I had one of the most inspiring runs ever.

My friend Hazel Moller is again logging massive miles for her annual Ten10 Challenge. She runs 10 Comrades distances between Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg over 10 days with the 10th being Comrades itself. This year she has been joined on the road by Tumelo Mokobane, a long-time running friend of Hazel's. He has run a bunch of Comrades, ultras and 100 milers.

Hazel is passionate about animal welfare organisations. Over the past 20 years, as a runner putting in long miles in training, she has picked up countless strays on the road, which she has taken to welfare centres. She has also adopted a bunch of them.

Only two days before starting this Challenge, Hazel came away with grazed hands and knees after trying to catch a greyhound. Its neck was tied with a rope to its one foot and she thinks that it may have escaped from the nearby squatter camp. Greyhounds are used for hunting. Although she didn't manage to catch the poor thing, she says that it was at least heading in the right direction - away from the squatter camp.

Hazel does this incredible ultra-ultra-distance run each year to encourage friends and strangers to donate towards her fund, which goes to animal shelters to buy food and other expenses that these places incur. She values the work that they do and that there are these places to care for abandoned, neglected and abused pets.

We went down to KZN this weekend for work so I missed Hazel coming to Parys on Sunday. She stayed with my friends at Otters Haunt and my mom cooked a big meal for everyone.

Driving home on Tuesday, we met up with Hazel, her husband Chris and Tumelo on the road between Bethlehem and Clarens. Chris knew that I was coming but it was a complete surprise for Hazel. She was sitting on a stool having something to eat when we found them. I thought that she was going to fall off the stool!

She had been having a rough day, struggling with her lungs (she has asthma) and also her stomach (a flare up of an ulcer which affected her badly last year too). I ran a few kilometres with her.

Tumelo was near us and so I got to chat to him a few times. He is nursing a painful ITB inflammation but was still ticking along at a steady pace.

By the time I left Hazel she was in a better space and with only 15km to Clarens, she didn't have too much further (comparatively!) to go for the day.

She woke up with chest pains on Wednesday and went off to a doctor in Harrismith. An issue related to her asthma. It looks like the doctor sorted her out and got her back on the road. It looked like Day 7 went well.

Today is Day 8, Saturday will be Day 9 and Sunday will be their 10th and final run - Comrades itself.

I have known Hazel for very many years (actually, Tumelo too but more in passing from the running store where he worked, some events, and my old neighbourhood and first running club).

I burst with pride to see what Hazel accomplishes with her running - not just Ten10 but dozens of ultras where she excels. I'm crossing my fingers and toes too for Tumelo, that he nails this challenge. He has been going so very well.

On their Ten10 website you can see which route Hazel is on and you can join her for a few kilometres or 20. She welcomes company.

You can also find the details to donate money - by EFT or through GivenGain to PETS.

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