Exciting team of elite athletes lining up for Rhino Peak Challenge

Photo - Anthony Grote / Gameplan Media

The annual Rhino Peak Challenge, that falls on World Rhino Day on 22 September, will once again see an exciting group of ten elite runners chasing the elusive fastest known time (FKT) up and down the iconic Rhino Peak in the Southern Drakensberg in aid of endangered species.

2018 will see a number of first-timers taking on the challenge with the likes of Naomi Brand, Toni McCann, Mlungisi Mazibuko, Kwenza Ngubane, Robert Rorich, Phillip Shezi and Lucas Adams all taking on the Rhino Peak Challenge for the first time.

Amongst the newbies there is an impressive list of achievements. Naomi Brand is a multiple 100 Miler winner, Toni McCann has won events around the country, Mlungisi Mazibuko came first in the 2018 African Ox Pecker and Kwenza Ngubane won the Mnweni Trail Marathon this year.

Phillip Shezi is a multiple Sani Stagger winner, Lucas Adam won last year’s Bastille Day trail run in Franschoek and young Robert Rorich won the Red Bull Lion Heart in 2017.

This group of debutants will join Rory Scheffer for the event this weekend. Scheffer ticks off the World Rhino Day event each year as a must do.

“We are all just running for a great cause and it’s an event that I try and take part in each year,” the Salomon/Spot Africa athlete said.

“It is a great event and cause to be a part of and it provides me with a perfect opportunity to get in some training but to try and make a small difference at the same time.

“The race is never a priority for me and I use the race as a good training race for the Otter Trail Run coming up in the middle of October.”

The Rhino Peak Challenge is a unique event in that each person taking part is responsible for garnering their own pledges through their social media or word of mouth. The participants then establish an estimated time that they will complete the distance and their pledges will then donate their amount multiplied by how many minutes they are under their estimated time.

“It is such a cool concept and I hope that I can donate as much as possible to the cause. My pledges are picking up going into the final week before the event which is a great sign.

“All the people taking part have a common goal and if we can make a small difference then we are on the right track,” Scheffer added.

All people that pledge towards a certain participant will go into a lucky draw to win a prize selected by that participant.

Current holder of the men’s FKT, Kane Reilly, which is two hours and 20 minutes, and former RPC finisher Meg Mackenzie will both be taking part in the Rhino Peak Challenge pledge process, but they will be involved in a different event.

The pair will be in Scotland racing in the Ring of Steall race but have set out their goal times for the event and will be taking pledges towards the Rhino Peak Challenge.

Amongst the people of interest taking part are renowned adventure Sibusiso Vilane, international rugby referee Stuart Berry and KAP sani2c founder ‘Farmer’ Glen Haw.