2019 THE500 – A reflection
How does one sum up an event filled with so many highlights and very very special moments? I think it is impossible to fully convey what those, who attended the 2019 THE500, experienced, in the constraints of my command of the English language. This fourth edition, again hosted at NH The Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West, was indeed a very special one. To say it was a grand, overwhelming, joyous, humorous, remarkable, awe-inspiring, humbling, challenging, and very very satisfying experience, would perhaps just touch the outer edges of a complete description of the event.
At the 24-hr spinning challenge inside the hotel, members and employees from more than 20 groups and organisations had a lot of fun, occupying their spinning bikes for one or more of the 24 x 45 minute sessions. These were energetically lead by a number of wonderful instructors who constantly encouraged everyone to get out of their comfort zones, to smile more and to sweat more. At the same time there were six remarkable individuals attempting to spin for all 24 sessions! Five of them in fact did!
Meanwhile, on the hilly tar roads between Somerset West, Stellenbosch and Kuilsrivier and on the dusty ones of Lourensford Wine Estate, 19 cyclists attempted to cycle 500 km in 24 hours! It was warm. It was cold. It was dusty. It was windy. It was extremely tiring! After 23 hours and 55 minutes and about 6,474 meters of elevation gain, a bunch of new friends who shared something very special, crossed the finish line together with the famous “Chariots of Fire” triggering more than just a few tears! Eleven of them managed to ride all 500 km!
A “tunnel of love” was formed by all the spinners, family members and friends and the cyclists were welcomed back into the Grand Ballroom with more tears flowing. Our MC, Colin Heckroodt, also deserves a medal! For 24 hours he was like an energiser bunny, encouraging the spinners and cyclists to keep going, informing the crowd of the reason behind it all, sharing the stories from the beneficiaries who benefit from the work of D4D and ending the event with a precious prayer, giving glory to our Heavenly Father for an unforgettable event.
At the time of writing this, our fundraising total stood just shy of R600,000. Yes, still some way off the R1 Million target, but an amount that will have a noticeable impact on the lives of many vulnerable children!
This platform is not even close to being adequate to thank everyone who was involved in making the 2019 THE500 such an success. We will use another one to do that. So for now, thank you to all our sponsors, donors, pledgers, spinners, cyclists, family members, colleagues and friends for the part you play in play in the lives of those that need us.
May all who were a part of this, look back at the event and be reminded of what can be done if people get together around a common goal, bring their strengths to the table and give their resources freely.
It was an honor to serve with you all!
Distance For Difference
P.S. We are leaving the window for pledges and donations open until 15 November 2019. Who knows, perhaps that R1 Million target can still be realised!
Link to pledge: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/qr_code/2019THE500Pledge