Ironmen in epic pedal to boost bone marrow fund

As if cycling 1 235km from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth is not enough, two athletes will round off their six-day trip by competing in the ultimate test of human endurance, Ironman South Africa, in aid of the Sunflower Foundation.

Johannesburg-based lawyer Ulrich Roux, 31, and oil salesman Clinton de Klerk, 29, will depart on their epic journey on March 21 and are expected to arrive in Port Elizabeth on March 26 before lining up at the start of the Ironman on March 29.

The pair aim to raise awareness and R250 000 through the Cool Runnings Charity Drive that raises funds to expand the database of potential bone marrow stem cell donors which grows the South African Bone Marrow Registry.

The drive was established in 2012 by Jonathan Gouveris after his sister Tina died of a rare blood disorder.

To date, the charity has collected R265 000.

In 2012, 2013 and last year, Roux and Gouveris cycled from Johannesburg to East London before competing in the half Ironman.

Gouveris was unable to participate this year and was replaced by De Klerk.

Roux said: “We endeavour to be part of an answer to the challenges facing many leukaemia patients.

“This epic tour honours their journey and any donations will enable the Sunflower Fund to ultimately save more lives. The hardest part of the journey is your nutrition must be spot-on and you must time and pace yourself and listen to your body.

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the body can achieve. To prepare takes a lot of hours in the saddle.”

The pair will travel about 200km daily – with stops at Lindley, Ladybrand, Lady Grey, Cradock and Grahamstown.

When asked why they chose to continue supporting the foundation, De Klerk said: “Cancer is such a terrible disease which affects such a large percentage of our society.

“The work done by the Sunflower Fund is imperative and unrivalled in creating cancer awareness and growing the bone marrow register in South Africa and they need all the help they can get.”

Sunflower Fund CEO Tarryn Corlett urged all South Africans to assist the Cape Town-based company, regardless of the size of the donation saying “your small change can make a big change”.

“If South Africans sponsor a small amount each, it would all add up and help us pay the R2 000 for each donor willing to join the registry.”

If you would like to support this epic challenge, e-mail or phone Philna Boonzaaier on 084-501-2713.

  • For more information on becoming a bone marrow stem cell donor, contact Lauren Corlett at the Sunflower Fund toll-free on 080-012-1082 or e-mail her at

-Tremaine van Aardt

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