Doing UTCT 100km in aid of Red Cross
01 January 1970
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You’re listening to Old Mutual Live, it’s great to have you with us, I’m Brad Brown. We are a short way away from the 2016 Ultra Trail Cape Town that’s taking place across the peninsula. It’s going to be an incredible race and there’s always some great stories that do come out of it. I’ve been just looking at some of the stories that are emerging in the build-up to it and there’s a group of runners who are going to be running this year’s race for an incredible cause and we’ve got one of those runners on the show today.
Mubeen September: Great to be joining you guys, just nervous about the race though.
BB: It’s not too long to go now and I know you were saying, I saw on your fundraising page and we’ll talk about what you’re doing it for. You said that you’ve got to go pretty much four times further than what you did when you made the decision to do this thing. I’m taking it you’re doing the big one, you’re the 100km?
MS: Yes, I am. I’m doing the 100km, just to cover my back, I’m struggling a bit to hear you. I’m doing the 100km, that’s correct.
BB: Mubeen, tell me a bit about your running, have you always been a runner or is this something you’ve taken on fairly recently?
MS: No, if I were to say a serious runner, I would have to say since I made my decision to run, which is about end of July. So August I started training, that’s about 3-4 months I’m a serious runner I guess. Prior to that, it was just a run here or there. A year ago I did a half marathon and struggled. In fact, I didn’t even make it, but that’s about how serious I am about running. It’s only of late really, to be honest.
Throwing myself in the 100km deep end
BB: Tell me about the decision to not just sign up for Ultra Trail Cape Town, but to sign up for the 100km.
MS: It was funny, I was looking for a training partner and one of my friends. He just entered the Comrades or was about to run the Comrades, his first Comrades. I spoke to him, I said listen, I need someone who can run a bit further than 10km with me. He said: Ja, cool and then while sitting with him at his pre-Comrades race, I showed him the Ultra Trail website and the race and he said: Okay cool, I’m doing the 100km. I’m like, are you sure and he says: Okay, I’ll do the 65km and a couple of months later he entered the 100. I thought well, let’s just go for it.
BB: I like it.
MS: I’m actually quite happy that I did.
BB: It’s amazing how when you set a goal that’s way out there, how it pushes you to actually get going and really take things seriously. That’s obviously what’s happened in your case. Yes, it was a big audacious goal, but you’ve been working hard to get there. I know you guys as a group have been running the Reccies with Stu and the team from Ultra Trail. Tell us a little bit about that experience so far.
MS: To be honest, when you enter such a big race it’s quite expensive initially, you think it’s quite a bit of an investment. I would say within the first month I recovered that expense simply because of a very well managed Reccie that Stu runs with. Entering the race is an experience, it’s not just the race. You’ve got eight races that you run with Stuart and it’s very well supported.
He’s got little breaks in between and you get to meet the people that you’re going to end up running with. So it’s a very good culture that you experience when you enter this race. Entering it, initially I thought this is a big ask, but within a couple of months I was running places I’ve never seen. I was as fit as I’ve never been. I was just super happy with myself. I’ve recovered all that money and I’m keen to do some more hopefully in the future.
Coming full circle in supporting Red Cross
BB: It sounds amazing, but there’s a whole group of you, how many in all are running this thing Mubeen?
MS: At the moment we’re 15, four of us are doing the 100km, another four are doing 35km and then seven of them are doing the 65km. If I’ve got it correct, I’m just going off my head here.
BB: That’s fine, so it’s a nice big group, but I love the fact that you’ve decided, not only are you going to run this thing, but you want to make a difference while doing it. You’ve all got a common cause and you’re raising funds for a very worthy cause, tell us a bit about who it’s for and why you’ve decided to raise funds for them.
MS: 25 years ago I was a patient at Red Cross and ever since I’ve always wanted to give something back to Red Cross. The ward that I was in was an amazing group of people, the way they worked with you and everything like that and I never really had the opportunity up until last year sometimes, well actually in this year.
I was back in the same ward with my cousin’s son, he was diagnosed with cancer, I went in there and I saw that they still had my picture up. The people, the doctors, the nurses, were all still the same and I thought that this place is a really good place for people, to be part of Red Cross.
From then on, ever since the beginning of the year I’ve been thinking about how can I give back. Then I realised, hey, I’m doing something quite extraordinary here, running 100km and I’ve been telling the guys the whole time: Are you keen to go on this Pledge a K idea with me and everybody was just, they just jumped on it.
All 15 of these guys were so keen, in fact even more keen than me to actually do this for a good cause. That’s the reason why we chose Red Cross initially. But to be honest, these guys would have done it for any cause, they’re just a very good bunch of guys and they’re very keen to help out.
BB: Mubeen, I love it, we’re obviously talking about the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town who do some amazing work. Tell me a bit more about your story, you mentioned that as a child you were treated there. I’ve seen a couple of the people who are backing the fundraising challenge are just saying how cool it is that you’ve almost gone full circle and giving back. Tell me a bit about why you spent time in that hospital.
MS: Okay, I was diagnosed at 12 years old with cancer, it’s called Hodgkin Disease or cancer of the lymphatic system. So I spent quite a couple of weeks, I also got treated with chemotherapy while I was there, so that was my time spent there. I remember, when I was there I remember, some of the kids around me, the parents would come down every couple of months only to see them for maybe a week or so. Here I had my whole family visiting me every single night.
To deal with young kids that are experiencing that, if I think back to it now, imagine what those kids are going through and there are some of them there now. Being in that ward, crying when you got your eggs scrambled and not the way you wanted, was just me being a spoilt brat to be honest. Compared to what those other kids are going through and what those nurses have to handle, I think I was quite lucky.
How you can help back a buddy
BB: Mubeen, the Red Cross Children’s Hospital do some amazing things and you mentioned the work that they do. It’s a difficult situation that many of those kids are in and under and they try and make it as pleasant and homely as possible. Because many of the kids, and I’m sure you’d agree, it’s pretty scary being a 12-year-old, being diagnosed with cancer. Not quite sure what’s going to happen.
The staff at that hospital do an amazing job. I think what you guys are doing is fantastic. I know you’re just past a third of the way to your fundraising target, you’re hoping to raise R150 000, you’ve hit just over R55 000 as we record this. Anyone can go and donate and any donation, it doesn’t matter how big or small, is gratefully accepted, I’m sure.
MS: Yes indeed, please help us out, we really want to give back to this cause, I think it’s a great cause and anything that you guys can think of, let me just put it down there. I might be a bit of an inexperienced trail runner but the rest of the guys as well, some of them are cyclists, some of them are just trying out. None of us, except maybe one, has actually attempted anything even close to this.
In fact, their longest distance trail running thus far would be 35km. So all of them are really putting in a big effort and hoping that they can push through. I think with people out there voting for us and pledging a kilometre for us, would maybe take us across that line at the end. Because I know it’s going to be a big push needed. Once you get tired after 20km…
BB: It all becomes a mental thing. If you want to help them out and throw some money their way, www.backabuddy.co.za is the website to get to. Just search the hashtag, Pledge a k. But what I’ll do Mubeen, I will also put that link to your fundraising page in the show notes to this episode so people can click straight through as well.
Best of luck in the final run-in, not long to go now, you guys have done the hard work, you’ve put in the training, go out there and enjoy it and celebrate life. Your story is incredible and I can’t wait to see you cross that finish line, I’m sure it’s going to be an emotional one for you.
MS: It is, I’ve seen guys crying already when I look at the video, so I do know it’s going to be a big run for me. Also, we’ve got a website, a basic website, you can just type Pledge a K into Google and you’ll come across our website, it will make it easier just to get to BackaBuddy pledging page.
BB: Fantastic, Pledge a K.
MS: Thanks so much Brad.
BB: No worries Mubeen, best of luck and we look forward to following your progress, best of luck to you and the rest of the guys who are taking part, please pass on our best to them as well.
MS: Thank you so much, thanks Brad for having us.