Marathon man raises money for Somerset Place

JON HOUZET

SHAMING men a quarter his age, 72-year-old Ben Bezuidenhout ran the equivalent of four marathons over four days last week to raise funds for a Grahamstown old age home.

It was not the first time Bezuidenhout, who is the manager of the Somerset Place Society retirement centre, has run to raise money for the centre. Last year he did a fundraising run from Port Alfred to Grahamstown, raising R32 000.

ON THE RUN: Last Friday Ben Bezuidenhout, 72, stopped over at Damant Lodge on his four-day 160km run to raise money for Somerset Place Society retirement centre in Grahamstown. Damant Lodge administration manager Margaret Barnard handed over a scroll for him to carry to his next stop at Settlers Park Picture: JON HOUZET

This time Bezuidenhout ran a 160km circular route from Grahamstown to Kenton-on-Sea, Port Alfred, Bathurst and back to Grahamstown.

“I started planning this run six months ago and started training then,” he said.

Spread over four days, he started his journey in Grahamstown and with his wife Norma driving behind as his second, last Thursday he ran to Kenton-on-Sea along the Salem Road. He spent the night in Kenton and the next day ran to Port Alfred.

On each section of the trip, he delivered a scroll with a message to retirement villages in the area. Starting out from Somerset Place, he delivered the first scroll to Dolphin Coast Nursing Home in Kenton.

On the second leg last Friday he stopped at Damant Lodge in Port Alfred to deliver the next scroll from Dolphin Coast.

On Saturday he stopped briefly at Settlers Park retirement village to hand over the scroll from Damant Lodge, and then ran to just beyond Bathurst, accompanied by 45 Kingswood College pupils as a show of support.

On Sunday he set out from Bathurst carrying the fourth and final scroll from Settlers Park to Somerset Place.

“We planned the route to make it 40km a day,” said Bezuidenhout. “A marathon a day is enough.”

He said by Friday they had raised R30 000.

“Heartfelt thanks go to our sponsors. Without them life would be so difficult. It’s a bugger trying to get money for old age homes.”

He said once a year Somerset Place approached their suppliers for sponsorship. “These include butchers, bakers, plumbers, electricians – we even tapped our auditor and he coughed up!”

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