Change a Life Academy Media Release  No: CAL1405

2 Oct 2014

 Embargo: None  Written by: Kyle Gilham

Change a Lifers flood KZN endurance racing scene

Durban – The paddling arm of Martin Dreyer’s Change a Life Academy recently caused quite a stir within the KwaZulu-Natal river marathon fraternity when their efforts at the Ngwenya Canoe Challenge saw all twelve places on the KZN Development team to compete at the 2014 Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon snapped up by the academy’s charges.

The two day event in the Eastern Cape is fast becoming the most popular event on the South African river marathon calendar and is the only other canoeing race nationally to mirror the numbers the iconic Dusi Canoe Marathon attracts annually.

“The Fish isn’t an easy race to do well at,” said Dreyer. “The guys get to paddle that river just once a year and only arrive the day before the race, but its big water and a lot of fun!”

“The massive live concert afterwards is the cherry on top of a great weekend experience both on and off the water,” he added.

With the added backing of their local provincial union, the Computershare Change a Lifers are now relishing the opportunity to take on next weekend’s all-round river challenge.

“Fish is a really big race that everyone wants to go to so all the Change a Life guys had been pushing that extra bit harder in training before the Ngwenya because everyone wanted to do well in the qualifying race to be selected for Fish!” explained 2014 Dusi winner Sbonelo Khwela, formerly known as Sbonelo ‘Eric’ Zondi.

“It’s really quite something for so many Change a Life guys to be part of the development team. Martin has been working very hard with the guys for quite a while now so it’s nice to see the Change a Life guys performing well,” added the Change a Life ambassador.

Khwela is joined by Lucas Mthalane, Mmeli Cele, Mhlonishwa Hlongwane, Sboniso Shozi and Kwanda Mhlophe, together with junior stars Mpilo Zondi, Msawenkosi Mtolo, Mthobisi Cele, Siyanda Gwamanda, Thabani Msiya and Nkosi Mabaso on the KZN Development team heading for Cradock.

While the paddlers go about their business in Cradock, the RMB Change a Life Academy mountain bikers are also hard at work in preparation for their next major assignment, the FedGroup Berg & Bush stage race from 10-12 October.

Having enjoyed a strong showing at the BSi Steel dusi2c stage race earlier this year, where a first ever stage race podium for the academy was achieved, and then making a major impression at the tough 105km Sunday Tribune Jeep Hill2Hill marathon from Hilton to Hillcrest recently, the squad is relishing the chance to take things up another notch at the three day spectacle.

No fewer than four Change a Life teams, including the mixed team of MTB coordinator John Ntuli and Dreyer’s wife Jeannie, will be on the start line this year and their recent successes bode well for another positive performance.

Albeit a little quieter than their paddling and cycling counterparts, the Computershare Change a Life runners’ schedule is ticking over nicely at the moment as well.

On top of assisting with the six water tables along the 33km race route, the team shone brightly on the trails themselves at the recent Zulu’s Marathon trail run where running assistant Joe Maphumulo had an outstanding race en route his second place finish.

Thobani Nzuza (6th), Mthobisi Mzolo (10th), Sizwe Mkhasibe (12th), Noyo Ngubo (13th), Phaka Gwala (16th), Mxolisi Zondi (17th), Nathi Mdluli (19th) and Siyabonga Ngcongo (20th) also contributed in no small way to the notable Change a Life presence in the race’s top 20.

The inaugural edition of the Impi Outrun at the Cascades MTB Park on Sunday gave the academy’s runners another opportunity to impress and impress they most certainly did.

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2014 Dusi winner Sbonelo Khwela is proud of his fellow Computershare Change a Life Academy members who, through their success at the recent Ngwenya Canoe Challenge, have been selected for the KZN Development team heading to this year's Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon. Anthony Grote/
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