Westering Primary School teacher Richard Geyer has built an army of social media support in his attempt to run 1 000km from Port Elizabeth to Durban in 10 days, finishing with the Comrades Marathon tomorrow.
His #Bob1000 campaign has grown from humble beginnings to around 2 000 likes on Facebook in just a couple of days and donations towards his charity, Cansa, have far exceeded expectations.
Geyer, 26, has been called everything from inspirational, beast-like and incredible to stark-raving mad in his bid to raise funds for cancer sufferers.
Despite experiencing some hiccups while treading endless kilometres of tar through the old Ciskei, Transkei and KwaZulu-Natal, his efforts have attracted the attention of curious media outlets and bystanders along the way.
He was also featured on SABC3’s Expresso morning show yesterday.
And the support on social media platforms has been phenomenal, with the likes of sports scientist Professor Tim Noakes and former state advocate Gerrie Nel cheering him on while even his beloved Chelsea Football Club sent a personalised letter wishing him well.
Geyer’s motivation to run Bob1000 was brought about through the loss of his grandfather, Bob Petzer, who died of bladder cancer in 2014.
He set off on his journey to Maritzburg from the Beachway Humewood Engen garage last Friday and is expected in Durban today ahead of the last leg, the Comrades Marathon, tomorrow.
He has been accompanied all the way by his sister Justine, as well as medic Anda Samka and driver Emile Williams, and has had police escorts at various stages.
Geyer has had to endure severe toe and chest infections, painful muscles, dizzy spells and mental battles but has managed to push on.
He was forced to take an unscheduled rest on Thursday after taking medical advice.
“It’s about as tough as it can get. I’ll never complain about a bad week at school ever again,” laughed the Grade 6 teacher. “I’m past the mental side of it now. I just keep reminding myself that it is for Cansa and for people who are suffering from the disease.”
He said missing a day had been disappointing but he understood why he had to take the break.
“I was so negative about missing out on a day. I would have run another 100km on Thursday if I could have. But they were worried about my chest as I had a lot of phlegm and you can’t mess around with that.
“Comrades is the big picture now. We are not going to get Bob1000 done in total but we can top it off nicely this weekend.”
Geyer said he had been overwhelmed by the support he had received while running 12 to 13 hours a day.
“I didn’t expect this kind of feedback. I thought a few people would talk about it. But we’ve tripled in donations. On the social media side of it, the reaction has been tremendous.”
Geyer said the donations had surpassed their target of R50 000 and they could reach in excess of R80 000.