Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020, Francois Swart and Robert van Staden had to keep the wheels rolling to ensure that they kept fit for the Absa Cape Epic. Now their time has finally arrived, and from 20 to 27 March, they will take on the 657 kilometres and 16 900 meters of climbing over 8 days, while raising awareness for Stellenbosch University's #Move4Food campaign.
Swart, at Facilities Management, and Robert van Staden, at the Faculty of Education, joined forces to ride the arduous Cape Epic in 2020. Unfortunately, COVID-19 put an abrupt stop to their plans, seeing them put away the mountain bikes while in lockdown. After the race got a green light, they got back in the saddle and once again tried to juggle, work, family and training to get fit for this gruelling race. It will be Swart's 5th Cape Epic and Van Standen's 4th, and the first time they will ride together as a team for a charity.
Because no one knew when the race would happen, our riders had to also put their fundraising efforts on the back burner. They urge people to visit their charity site and donate to this student-led campaign that kicked off in August 2018 once again. The aim is to build food banks and end student hunger on SU's campuses. Students and Alumni across the country already took on challenges to raise funds for this worthy campaign, including SU's rector and vice-chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers, who will be riding the Cape Town Cycle tour on 13 March this year for #Move4Food.
Previously Swart said: "To think that one in every 100 students have no food to eat while studying at SU, is heart-breaking. How can you study and be academically successful while being hungry?" asked Swart. They encourage people to donate for this worthy cause. "It never crossed my mind that there will be students who have no food to eat. We need to raise as much awareness as possible for this campaign to ensure our students do not go a day without food and be academically successful. "
"We will raise awareness and change the lives of students on campus," says Van Staden. "It is more than just riding a race. Every day that we train, we cannot help thinking how hard it must be for students who do not meet their basic needs. It will be the biggest reward if we could reach our goal for the campaign and complete the Epic without any injuries," says Van Staden.
"Please donate" is the plea from the #Move4Food Epic team. "There is not a thing as a small donation - every bit and coin help." If you want to support the team in their fundraising stunt, please click here