#CiplaSmileTroopers: Karkloof100

“The greater the sacrifice, the greater the victory”

We are extremely fortunate at Cipla to have some very dedicated and inspiring individuals that often go above and beyond the call of duty in aid of others.

Since 2006 our Miles for Smiles initiative has seen many great challenges overcome to support the important work Operation Smile South Africa does and to date approximately 8 million rand has been raised.

Meet the #CiplaSmileTroopers

Graeme Hall, Earl Donnelly who work for Cipla and Tyrone Pullen are 3 such individuals that recently completed the Karkloof100 in support of Operation Smile and have raised R 38,000; enough to give 7 children life-changing corrective surgery.

The Karkloof100 is a 100-mile endurance foot race that took place on 22nd to 24th of September 2017 in the Karkloof area of Kwazulu-Natal.

The 100 Miler is considered the ultimate challenge in trail running around the world. 46 started and only 25 finished. To achieve a finish in this distance is something truly special.

Earlier in the year, after being inspired by David Grier’s courageous efforts, a group of 6 running friends met for a burger to chat about what new adventure race could be entered in the second half of the year to keep them training and motivated after the Comrades marathon.

“There were a few different options discussed (all trail runs) but ultimately the Karkloof100 miler was settled on due to it being held only a 90-minute drive from us, one of the more affordable race entries and the fact that we would be a part of KZNs first ever 100-mile event,” explains Graeme Hall

The guys put in the long yards to prepare properly.

“We did our normal Comrades training in the first half of the year with some trail races on weekends thrown in.

“Between January to Comrades we normally rack up about 1300kms each between normal runs, long training runs, hill work, speed work, half and full marathons as well as Om Die Dam Ultra and 2 Oceans Ultra races. After Comrades we started focusing strongly on the trails following a brutal 6-week program that focused on big back-to-back runs on the weekends carrying full gear as you would on race days.

“Peak weekend saw us on the trail at Holla Trails in Ballito for a 50km on Saturday followed by a 40km on Sunday for good measure. All-in-all we did around 2300km each from January to Karkloof 100,” Graeme says.

 “To achieve the impossible; it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought”

 Two forces collide to change lives:

 “I think the sleep deprivation was a major issue for all 3 of us as well as the constant, unforgiving rain and cold. You go into an event like this expecting to have sore legs, feet and accepting that you’ll lose a few toe nails along the way. But nothing could have prepared us to run through 2 entire nights in the rain at low temperatures.” says Graeme.

“Having each other to feed off was a massive help – we all hit lows at different times and there was normally 1 member who was still in a good place that could give some positive motivation and keep the team moving forward. However, we would never have made it if it wasn’t for the support crew we had waiting at every aid station for us. From half way point / 50 mile mark you can have people run with you as “pacers”. We had 3 mates volunteer to come keep us company in the miserable conditions at different sections of the race and that made a massive difference. Also, a big factor is knowing that you are doing it for more than just yourself is a sobering and motivating feeling to keep you from calling it a day,” he continues.

“Strong is all you have left because you’ve used up all your weak”

 The sum of all parts…

Graeme says, Between the Miles for Smiles, Owethu, Ajuga and Shap’Left initiatives The Cipla Foundation are touching so many lives in so many ways, it’s hard to believe that one foundation could undertake such a responsibility. It’s hard to imagine how many people have been positively affected by The Cipla Foundation’s efforts and to have been a small part of that is an honour.”

 Support behind the cause:

“We never would have made it without the support that was there at the event as well all the people following and rooting for us behind the scenes. We’re proud to be a part of that 25 and have all 3 finished despite the odds,” he says.

What’s next?

Towards the end of the race, the 3 sat down in the dark to catch their breath. They agreed that this would possibly be the first and last 100-mile event…

“For now, Earl and I will rest up but, as always, we’ll be in our Cipla kit at the Amashova 106km cycle race in 3 weeks time. From there, who knows…. we have discussed doing our first Duzi Canoe event next year but if not, we’ll still be at our calendar regulars like The Midmar Mile, 2 Oceans and Comrades 2018.”

To show support for the guys you can still donate here 

Connect with Cipla Foundation South Africa:




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