Rhino Peak Challenge Media
Written by: Nick Tatham
Smit to tackle Rhino Peak Challenge
Himeville – 2007 Rugby World Cup winning captain John Smit has accepted
the offer to take on the gruelling Rhino Peak Challenge on World Rhino
Day, 22 September to help raise funds for the embattled rhino and
bearded vulture populations in South Africa.
The former Springbok hooker is a strong advocate for the protection and
maintenance of the rhino population in the country and he will be
joining a number of professional athletes and people of influence for
the 21km trek from Gooderson Drakensberg Gardens to the top of the Rhino
Peak and back.
Smit and around a dozen other people of influence will tackle the
testing journey and taking on tough challenges in aid of conservation is
something that Smit is familiar with.
“I did the uBhejani Xtreme last year which was a crazy ride from
Hillcrest to uMfolozi and someone there mentioned the Rhino Peak
Challenge to me,” Smit commented.
“Considering how serious the situation is getting with regards to rhino
numbers and poaching it is almost impossible to say no to something that
you know will go towards trying to make a difference.
“I sort of compare it to speaking to Nelson Mandela during the
mid-nineties and him asking you to help the country, it’s really
difficult to say no.”
Having played over 100 games for the Springboks, the Durban-based Smit
is quick to point out that he understands the challenge that the event
is going to pose for him.
“Look I am by no means a runner, or shall I say someone who can run
“But if this is a way for me to try and grow awareness and knowledge
about the plight of our rhinos then this is a worthwhile part for me to
“Whenever I can lend a hand in the rhino conservation fight then I do, I
don’t have any specific programmes that I support,” he added.
The Unogwaja Challenge is an event where riders cycle from Cape Town to
Durban and then run the Comrades Marathon, a task that Smit understands
is slightly out of his reach.
“I have got involved with Unogwaja and will be running the Cape Town
Marathon in about three weeks’ time which is the next challenge for me!
“42km is a push for a big guy like me but I will always be available to
help wherever I can.
“I just try and latch on to whoever needs help from a fund raising
perspective and although I don’t really know what I am in for it is
going to be an exciting event!” Smit mentioned.
Smit will join the rest of the invited field in securing pledges based
on the time it takes him to complete the round trip on the day.
One of the innovations introduced by the organisers Running Man
Adventures encourages the invited participants to out up a unique prize
as an added incentive for people who make a pledge to that particular
participant. Smit may even rummage through his rugby memorabilia to put
up a prize that will boost his pledges.
For more information, visit
Click to download the hi-res
Challenge logo - jpeg
Former Springbok hooker and
captain John Smit has thrown his name into the Rhino Peak Challenge hat
and is looking for pledges from people towards the conservation of rhino
and bearded vultures when the event gets underway on 22 September.
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