South Africa 22 September: Cape Town
Another peace filled day in the Mother City.
This year's Cape Town Marathon took place just two days after the United Nations International Day of Peace, which takes place every year on 21 September. This is not a coincidence. The theme of the marathon and its associated races is peace. Each event is a celebration of peace and the date for the marathon is always chosen to be as close as possible to the UN's International Day of Peace. There is therefore a natural synergy between the Cape Town Marathon and the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run. Peace is our common goal. We were therefore delighted to once again be a part of this year's Cape Town Marathon and its sibling races. On the morning of Saturday, 22 September, we were invited to be a part of the 5 km Peace Fun Run. The race included a lot of entries from schools and there were runners from both of the schools we had visited the previous Wednesday and Thursday with representatives of the Cape Town marathon. The 5 km race is a fun run, but it is also officially called the 5 km Peace Run, so peace is at the core of its message. In this photo, our team is shown mingling with members of the Cape Town marathon organising team at the start of the 5 km race.
And of course, we had no shortage of friends who so willingly joined us to hold the Torch and offer their goodwill for peace on yet another special day in Cape Town.
Here we were are with Arnold Geerdts, one of SuperSport's most established presenters. In addition to being a very accomplished and well known sports presenter on TV, Arnold is a keen runner, having run more than 150 marathons with a personal marathon best of 2 hours and 29 minutes.
While the runners assembled and readied themselves for the race, Abhijatri invited some of them to hold the Peace Torch.
Here are runners from Vorentoe School, which we had visited the previous Thursday. It was great to see our new friends again so soon after first meeting them.
We also met up with Heinz Winckler, prominent South African singer and winner of the first series South African Idols in 2002. He is seen here with team member Shree Chirkoot.
The Torch was also held by members of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run and Janet Welham, race director for the Cape Town marathon, along with other members of her team.
Janet Welham (left) takes a moment here to step out from behind the scenes and offer her unique peace dove salute.
And they're off! There was an explosion of energy as so many young runners raced away from the start line.
Followed by some more relaxed participants who were clearly more focused on the peace side of this event rather than the running side.
After the start we headed over to the finish area, where team member Shree Chirkoot was ambushed by these furry muppet like characters. All in all, it was good to be ambushed in the name of peace.
And within minutes the race leaders were finishing. Here we are with Kesaolenboga Molotsane, first woman and second overall, who finished in a blistering time of 00:16:01.
And here is one of our friends from Zimasa School. He was really happy to meet us again and perhaps a bit overawed to have his photo taken with the Torch.
After the 5 km Peace Run, we were honoured to be able to attend the Captain's Breakfast, a special fundraising event to promote and raise the profile of prominent men and women in South African society who took up the challenge to run either the Cape Town marathon or the 10 km "Peace Run" race as a way to raise money for charity. South African rugby legend, Francois Pienaar, who is seen here lighting the Peace Torch is one of the architects of this important component of the Cape Town marathon. He is accompanied by star South African cricketer, JP Duminy (left) and Janet Welham, Race Director for the Cape Town marathon.
The Captain's Breakfast was preceded by a ceremonial lighting of the Peace Torch against the spectacular backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. Seen here with the Peace Torch are Allen Barnes, Poppy Ntshongwana, JP Duminy, Francois Pienaar, Janet Welham and Deshun Deysel, among others. The groups hands are raised in a unique peace dove salute.
After lighting the Torch and posing for photographs, Francois Pienaar (see here holding the Torch with JP Duminy and Shree Chirkoot) walked the Torch to the very nearby Cape Town Hotel School, venue for the Captain's Breakfast.
Everyone attending the breakfast was given a brief moment to glimpse the Peace Torch before it had to be taken outside to avoid smoking out the room and setting off the hotel sprinkler system.
The Captain's Breakfast began with a short speech by Jermaine Craig of the Cape Times newspaper, sponsors for this event.
A panel of sports and media leaders who had accepted the Captain's Challenge was then invited to answer questions posed by Aden Thomas. The panel included JP Duminy (prominent South African cricketer), Poppy Ntshongwana (talented radio presenter), Francois Pienaar (South African rugby legend) and Deshun Deysel (South African mountaineer). It was interesting and inspiring to hear the personal stories, motivation and experiences of each of these people, all of whom had taken up the challenge of running expressly to raise money for charity.
One of the more unusual, but no less inspiring, teams attending the breakfast was a six man team of runners, who had brought along this "sausage dog" apparatus (nicknamed "Worsie") to attempt a Guiness world record the following day for the fastest six-man team in a single "costume" to complete a marathon. The time they had to beat was 6 hours and 20 minutes set by another team at the recent London Marathon.
After the event, we had time to meet some of the other invited guests. Francois Pienaar was also interviewed by a Turkish TV Station.
This included meeting prominent South African radio presenter, Poppy Ntshongwana, who was clearly deeply inspired by the Peace Torch...
Poppy had taken up the Captain's challenge and had been training for several months to run the marathon the following day.
And here again is our team (from left, Abhijatri Robinson, Balarka Robinson and Shree Chirkoot) with SA star cricketer, JP Duminy. JP is a super-nice guy and a great ambassador for both cricket and peace in South Africa.
Aden Thomas, star South African radio presenter and host of the ever popular "Heart Breakfast" show, a daily breakfast show on Heart FM, was also delighted to hold the Peace Torch, here with Shree Chirkoot.
Our team was privileged to share a table at the Captain's Breakfast with the parents and other family members of Janet Welham, Race Director for the Cape Town marathon. Her parents are extremely nice people and are active volunteers who contribute to the marathon behind the scenes in many important ways.
And here we are with members of a Turkish TV team, all of whom were delighted to hold the torch and of course be in front of the camera for a change.
As we were leaving the Cape Town Hotel School, we met this group of students, who were already posing for photographs. They were really happy to also be able to hold the Peace Torch.
Close to the Cape Town Hotel School and along the Cape Town marathon route, which follows the Atlantic coastline for several kilometres, is a short section of undeveloped waterfront. We were clearly in the right place at the right time as the open foreshore area was ablaze with wildflowers in full bloom. And with an offshore breeze, we were also treated to a spectacle of beautifully tubing swells rolling in from the frigid Atlantic Ocean.
Despite the hazardous, rocky foreshore, the waves had clearly caught the attention of local surfers and a growing number of adventurous surfers waded out over the treacherous rocks for an opportunity to ride these sizeable waves.
After the Captain's Breakfast, the team found itself with an afternoon free and despite a pressing need to work on reports for the website, we decided to head out to Noordhoek on the Cape Peninsula, where we we met up with Abhijatri and Balarka's Aunt and Uncle and cousins and where we also had a chance to hike part-way up Chapman's Peak. Cape Town is a unique city in that it is built in and around a National Park. The hills and mountains of Table Mountain National Park are home to an impressive array of unique flowers and plants, including proteas and fynbos. Shown here are some of the proteas that can be seen flowering throughout the Cape Peninsula at this time of the year.
Here, Sam and Kevin Record, cousins of Abhijatri and Balarka Robinson, were also inspired to offer their goodwill for peace.
Cape Town abounds with jaw-dropping beaches. Noordhoek beach is no exception. It was a beautiful, sunny day with only a slight breeze. Huge rollers were curling into the beach creating a very beautiful effect.
We then headed up the steep slope behind the beach to Chapman's Peak Drive and beyond along the path leading to the summit up of Chapman's Peak.