Continuing with the general theme of my life that is “overcommitting myself” I signed up for my first trail event, The Drakensberg Northern trail 40K challenge. I should add that when I signed up I didn’t even own a pair of trail shoes and had never done a trail run before. As usual though, I’m a sucker for peer pressure and suffer intense FOMO so I just closed my eyes and took the plunge. It was only after doing so that I realised I was in for 1800 meters of climbing over these 40Ks and that the race reaches its highest point at a whopping 2341m above sea level. Did I mention I’m slightly afraid of heights? Ok, good.
This is gonna hurt. BAD. So, myself, and the lovely group of local ladies I am running with, decided that we wanted to take on this epic adventure for a GOOD cause. We reached out to the Ryan Walker Foundation and thus #Run4Walker was born.
For those of you unfamiliar with Ryan’s story, here is a bit of background.
Ryan grew up in Mooi River and has a beef and dairy farming background but undeniable rugby talent saw him pursue a career in Rugby. Ryan played provincial rugby in South Africa representing the Natal Sharks and also did a stint in the UK representing the Leed Tykes in the UK premiership and Heineken cup competitions.
In 2012 Ryan suddenly took ill and was ultimately diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis. After intense treatment Ryan started to improve but his recovery was slow and he had started to develop other strange symptoms such as twitches in his biceps and triceps. These symptoms progressed which resulted in further investigations culminating in a diagnosis of Motor Neuron Disease in July 2013.
Ryan did not take this diagnosis lying down and has decided to throw everything he has into searching for a cure. Ryan’s search has taken him from India (for stem cell therapy), to Cape town (for Apheresis), to meeting with specialists at Kings College hospital in the UK and then onto Massachussetts General hospital in the US.
The progression of Ryan’s disease has been much slower than what was initially expected and specialists put this down to the fact that he is doing everything medically available to slow this progression. Ryan is committed to a healthy diet and lifestyle and continues his search for every available opportunity, trial and alternative treatment. He is now 40 years old, lives in Nottingham road with his wife Paula and two gorgeous girls aged 5 and 3. He continues to work on the family farm in Mooi River.
Our goal is to get 100 people to donate anything from R3 per KM we will run/walk/hike/waddle on the big day. Please follow the hashtag #Run4Walker to keep track of our training progress (or lack thereof) through the course of the month as we build up towards the race on March 23rd.
. Keep an eye out for our posts, like and share to spread the word and please consider donating to this worthy cause. Donate using zapper, barcode below, or online at www.ryanwalker.co.za using #Run4Walker as the reference.
At the end of the day your contribution is buying hope for this precious family, and that is priceless.
Mama on the Run