From Comrades Marathon to Kilimanjaro
01 January 1970
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Brad Brown: Welcome onto this edition of Old Mutual Live, great things start here, great things start now. I’m pretty excited to chat to our next guest because they’ve got an incredible adventure on the way in just a few weeks’ time. But also have been able to do some pretty cool things over the last couple of years as well. It’s a great pleasure to welcome Camilla Kearns onto the podcast. Camilla welcome, thanks for joining us today.
Camilla Kearns: Oh thanks so much for having me, Brad.
BB: Camilla, funnily enough we’ve spoken to your hubby Warrick on the podcast before about some gadgets and toys when it comes to running and what the in things are. But this time we’re chatting to you about some of your adventurous exploits. You also pretty much, you’re big into your endurance stuff, you love them, don’t you?
CK: Yes, I really do. I just love challenging myself and proving myself wrong that I actually can do these things.
BB: You’re a Comrades runner too. Has long distance and endurance always been a part of you?
CK: Not quite as far as Comrades distance. But in terms of, like when I was at school I did long distance running. But that was you know, that was like 10km was long distance at that time in my life. But I’ve always been better at more endurance kind of sports.
I seem to be able to go on for hours. I just seem to have the mental power for some reason but more than kind of sprinting. Yes, I think just being able to do these things with my husband has just inspired me to want to yes, take on the big events. Like Comrades and Ironman and meet like-minded people along the way.
The attraction of endurance events
BB: Talk to me a little bit about what the attraction is to something like a Comrades or an Ironman. For somebody who is listening to this who possibly runs the odd Park Run. They keep fairly fit with running but they can’t quite wrap their head around something like Comrades, what’s the attraction?
CK: I mean there’s just something special about the Comrades Marathon. I think being South African, it’s the one race in terms of running that you’ve just got to be part of. I never thought it was possible. I mean before doing it this year, my longest run was 48km. So to think that I was going to have to run double that distance on the day was just… I was terrified in a way.
But there’s just, the atmosphere along the way, the people, you just get through it. It’s incredible when you put your mind to something what you can actually achieve and I think that’s what it’s about. You’ve got to put your mind to it and believe you are going to be able to get to that end, that finish line. Get that tiny medal and it’s worth everything.
BB: Yes, the smallest medals often are worth the most, I think. You’ve also documented everything that you’re doing on your blog. Tell us a little bit about the thinking behind doing that.
CK: Yes, I think I’ve always been interested in blogging. I decided that as I’m taking on these challenges it would be a nice way to document my road to doing these events and kind of tracking it. Sort of sharing my experience and hopefully to inspire other people to also take on new challenges and keep things interesting. Yes, and as I go along I’m getting new topics to include on the blog. Yes, I really enjoy it and I hope that I will be inspiring people in some way through it.
BB: Camilla, if people want to find out more about it and read up about what you’re up to, what’s the web address?
CK: The web address is camboadventures.com. I’m updating it to give it a nice look and feel. That’s my blog that I’m using and writing on all these exciting adventures I’m putting myself through.
Bucket list events
BB: Brilliant. Yes, and you also and Warrick, I get the sense too, you love, I don’t want to call them Bucket List races. But you guys look at things that you’d want to do and what’s still on that list, from a running perspective of what you still want to achieve?
CK: Definitely I want to do some races overseas. The Great Wall of China is definitely one of them. We’re obviously doing now this cycle where we’re cycling from Jo’burg to Kilimanjaro. In actual fact there is a race, I believe around Kilimanjaro area that I also would love to do, a running race. I
think from an IronMan point of view I would love to do one of the European IronMans. I think, one of the races that are in the summertime. I think it would be a great opportunity to travel and do a bit of racing at the same time.
Jo’burg to Kilimanjaro for Qhubeka
BB: Yes, those European Ironmans are amazing. I was lucky enough to do Zurich a couple of years ago and that was spectacular. But let’s talk about this cycle. You just sort of mentioned it almost as a throwaway comment, the cycle to Kilimanjaro, yes it’s huge. Tell us a little bit about it.
CK: Yes, so my dream has always been to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. So that was always on the cards. Then my husband came up with this idea, “Why don’t we cycle there?”. At first I was like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know if that’s even possible, do people even do this?” But I then jumped on board and we chose the Qhubeka charity as we thought we’d love to have a charity angle to it.
So you know we’d been raising funds as part of the whole initiative for Qhubeka. In actual fact because we chose Qhubeka we decided to take this challenge on and ride a Qhubeka Buffalo bike which is a steel frame, 23 kilo, it’s got no gears, backward brake, pedal brake. So it’s not going to be an easy ride up to Kilimanjaro but I think it’s going to be an amazing experience, a once in a lifetime opportunity.
BB: Yes, I love, I’m a huge fan of what Qhubeka do as a charity. I think those bicycles are phenomenal and how they can change lives. I, a couple of years ago had said “Gee, I’d like to ride the 94.7 on one of those bicycles” and never got round to doing it.
I thought that would be quite tough, but cycling from South Africa all the way to Kilimanjaro on those bikes, that’s going to be something else. From a logistics point of view how long do you reckon it’s going to take you guys to get there and sort of distance-wise per day what are you planning?
CK: The total distance is 4 600km and we’re planning to take 10 weeks to get up there. We will be riding an average of about 95km a day. We plan to ride five days and then take a rest day. In some spots we’ll take one or two days off. Especially places like Lake Malawi, sort of key areas in Africa that we’d like to spend a bit more time and enjoy where we are. So that is the plan.
We’ve also got a few contingency extra days that we planned in in case things happen that, you know mechanicals or something delays us being able to ride. So our goal is that we have to get to Mount Kilimanjaro, Moshi in Tanzania by the ninth of October. We leave on the 30th of July, so it’s really coming very soon, and got to get there by the ninth of October.
BB: That sounds incredible and then you’re climbing the mountain obviously.
CK: Yes then we join a group and we climb the mountain. Then we plan to summit on the 15th of October which, it’s quite cheesy but it’s actually our 5th wedding anniversary, my husband and my anniversary. So yes, we think that’s going to be quite special to be at the top of Kilimanjaro or the top of Africa on that day. Yes, then we come down and then we’re going on a luxurious little trip to Serengeti, just as a treat.
Help Qhubeka put kids on bikes
BB: Ah, that sounds amazing. Camilla, you mentioned Qhubeka and you guys are raising funds. If people want to get behind your initiative or track what you guys are doing, how can they do that?
CK: Yes, that would be really fantastic. We’ve got a website, it’s www.joburg2kili.com, and on there we’ve got all the information. Also information on Qhubeka and how you can donate. We’ve got a give and gain page where you can put your donations through and then all the funds go straight to Qhubeka. Yes, so I think that’s the best way for them to get more information on our expedition we’re just about to embark on.
BB: I think it’s incredible and I just want to throw something in there too with regards to Qhubeka because I think what they do is phenomenal. I mentioned that bicycles do change lives and they put kids on bikes who would traditionally walk or run to school. It just saves them so much time and time that they can then spend on their schoolwork and it doesn’t cost that much money to put a kid on a bike.
So if you want to support what Camilla and Warrick are doing on this trip, really go check out that website. Go and support them, send some money their way. Even if you want to buy a whole bike yourself and donate it, that’s pretty cool as well. But you guys aren’t going alone, there’s a third party, I don’t want to say spare wheel, but there’s three of you heading up.
CK: Yes, we’ve actually just in the last month there has been two new cyclists joining us.
BB: Oh brilliant.
CK: Yes, but obviously on condition that they’ve had to purchase there Qhubeka bike and get comfortable on it and yes, so there’s actually going to be four cyclists now. We do have a support vehicle as well, which is going. We’ve got two drivers and they will obviously just be able to take all our supplies and go ahead in the day to go set up our campsite and just help us along the way.
I wasn’t going to do this without a support vehicle. I just felt that also having the climb at the end of the trip, we need a lot of extra kit for that. I didn’t know logistically how I would be able to put all that on my bike, so yes, it’s grown.
It was initially just going to be the two of us, but yes, it’s exciting. I think it’s just shown that people have heard about it and got very excited and inspired to be part of it. Some people have even asked us if this is an annual race and we’re like “No, it’s actually something we just came up with as a concept”. So who knows maybe this will become something annual.
BB: I love that. Well, let me have a chat to my wife and see if I can get ten weeks of.
CK: Yes, that’s been the challenge.
BB: Camilla, I think what you guys are doing is amazing. Are you going back to Comrades next year by the way?
CK: Yes, I definitely want to do an Up run, whether it’s going to be next year for back-to-back, I‘m not sure. But I think I am quite keen. Obviously, I’m going to be cycling now for the next few months but I’ll see probably at the end of the year what my decision is on it. But I have to do that race again, so if it’s not next year it will be the following year.
BB: Yes, you’ve got to go and get the back-to-back and you’ll have done lots of cross-training so you’ll be in good nick there, here we go.
CK: Yes, perfect.
BB: Camilla, thank you so much for your time, best of luck. Yes, if there’s anything we can do please let us know but it sounds like an incredible trip and safe travels.
CK: Thank you so much and thanks so much for letting me be part of your show.