South African NGO, Events to Aid, in partnership with needs-matched life insurer, BrightRock, today launched one of the biggest fundraising initiatives in the history of South Africa – The BrightRock Battle of the Sports!
This event will see 12 of Mzansi’s leading cricket, rugby, soccer, and running heroes as well as expedition-leader extraordinaire, Erik Vermeulen, go head-to-head in an all-out 200km endurance race against time – unassisted, unsupported and challenged by an expedition clock that never stops – on the dry salt pans of the Verneukpan in the Northern Cape.
The event will see four teams take to the Verneukpan on foot, one team at a time, pulling their provisions on a light frame cart on ‘fat-boy’ mountain bike tyres, unassisted and unaided, for 200km’s – in only four days!
The aim? To defend their sport’s honour and secure ultimate bragging rights around which sport produces the toughest athletes, but, more importantly, to effect positive change by helping raise money to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa!
Clive Grinaker, Founder of Events To Aid and leading sports marketing company Grinsport says: “As we set out to raise R100 million for much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers to help protect them from COVID-19 infections, this event is the ultimate race of a lifetime – a race between sporting athletes and ultimately a race against time to support the frontline workers that continue to put their lives at risk each day.”
“There is no doubt that the power of sport has often been used to drive positive change and with the help of some of South Africa’s leading sports icons across various disciplines, we are able to do just this – while giving each and every citizen of the country an opportunity to join in and support the cause.”
Says Erik Vermeulen, expedition leader: “These athletes will need to push their limits and will define who will have the resolve, strength and endurance to win the battle where the team with the quickest time, wins the Challenge. It is a first of its kind event and one that we believe, with the credibility and support of these sports heroes and every South African out there, will be a catalyst for future such fundraising campaigns.”
The teams have been selected include some of the most famous names in the sporting industry, including:
- Cricket: Lance Klusener, Makhaya Ntini, Monde Zondeki. Managed by Jonty Rhodes
- Rugby: Hanyani Shimange, John Smit & Schalk Brits. Managed by Butch James
- Running: Bongmusa Mthembu, David Gatebe & Nick Bester. Managed by Bruce Fordyce
- Soccer: Matthew Booth, Siyabonga Nomvethe & Teko Modise. Managed by Neil Tovey.
“At BrightRock, we work hard to help people navigate life’s big changes and, in doing so, we have learnt that even during life’s most unexpected changes, one can find positive opportunities. We also have seen that sport, with its inherent unpredictability, provides the perfect platform for this message of embracing change. Sport unites people by bringing our sports legends together with all South Africans to effect the changes we wish to see in our society and, in this case, it can help alleviate some of the impact that Covid-19 has had on our country,” says BrightRock Deputy CEO, Suzanne Stevens.
“We are really excited about this partnership with Events to Aid, where these iconic national sporting heroes, each with millions of fans, gives us the opportunity to reach the South African public, to drive engagement and donations and we look forward to the positive change this can bring to South Africa.”
In addition to the race across the Verneukpan, every citizen in South Africa has the opportunity to get involved. With two-events-in one, the main event – BrightRock Battle of the Sports – aims to inspire massive national awareness in every community throughout the country and will set the tone for the simultaneous fundraising event, called the “200km Challenge”.
“We are challenging every sports icon – national, provincial or amateurs from every sport possible, as well as ordinary citizens from all walks of life, sports fans and corporates – whether in South Africa or across the globe – to do the 200km’s. This can be done either alone in one go or over the 6 weeks of the event, in teams of ten with each person doing 20km’s each, or 100 people doing 2km’s each. As long as the ‘Challenge’ being done adds up to 200km’s, then the objective has been achieved. Each entrant donates to the cause and is part of the excitement,” says Grinaker.
The 200km challenge aims to encourage all South Africans to support their sports stars in their race across the Verneukpan, by doing 200km’s of any sport/activity they choose and by donating R200 or more to the Battle of the Sports fund. The minimum contribution to be able to participate is R50-00 but the sky is the limit.
“Our supporting sports stars, sponsors and teams will be challenging all of South Africa to get involved in the 200km Challenge by challenging their team mates and friends, and using their social media platforms to post all their activities, videos and pictures to many millions of their passionate followers – igniting fans to do the same!” says Grinaker.
“With the support of our sporting heroes as well as the incredible sponsors we have on board so far including: BrightRock, Fireblade Aviation, Landrover Centurion and Nature Hike Africa, to name a few, we have the power to make a real difference and so we encourage every South African to get on board, donate, run, cycle, swim, jog around your garden – do whatever it takes but, help us raise money at a time where it is still very much needed!” concludes Grinaker.