Ten days, 700km and R60 000 in funds raised later, Port Elizabeth runner and primary school teacher Richard Geyer made it across the finish line of the annual Comrades Marathon in just under 10 hours yesterday.
Geyer left Port Elizabeth 10 days ago on foot, treading endless kilometres through the old Ciskei, Transkei and KwaZulu-Natal to make it in time to take part in his second Comrades.
The 26-year-old Westering Primary School teacher embarked on the gruelling run to raise funds which he will donate to the Cancer Association of South Africa through #Bob1000.
His motivation to run from Port Elizabeth to Durban, before taking part in the Comrades, came from the loss of his grandfather, Bob Petzer, who died in 2014 from cancer.
“Completing the race has given me and my family some form of closure,” Geyer said.
Speaking from Pietermaritzburg just after he completed the ultra-marathon, Geyer said he felt both relieved and exhausted.
“About 6km before the finish line I saw the timer was almost at 10 hours, so I said to the guy next to me that I was going to go for it.
“I broke away from the group and went for it,” he said. Geyer finished in 9:59:17. Although he had initially planned to run 1 000km before starting the Comrades, Geyer suffered a few setbacks on his way and had to skip a day of running on medical advice.
He said missing a day was disappointing but necessary.
Geyer also struggled with a toe infection and had a lot of phlegm on his chest during his mammoth run.
“The highlight for me was the first four days, when I did 100km each day,” he said.
“There were moments that I felt worse than I did running the Comrades, but I kept myself motivated.”
Geyer left the Beachway Humewood Engen garage on May 26 and arrived in Durban on Saturday after completing more than 620km, before running to Pietermaritzburg from Durban.
“I am feeling lethargic at the moment and am looking forward to getting some rest,” he said.
After being on a Banting diet prior to the #Bob1000 challenge, Geyer joked that he would be “chowing down burgers after the finish”.
Since setting up the #Bob1000 Facebook page, Geyer has received more than R60 000 in donations.
He was hoping to lift that amount to more than R80 000 after an afterparty being held in his honour.
“About a month ago, we were worried about the amount we were raising,” Geyer said.
“It is awesome to see how many people believed in me and gave so generously to the cause.”
While it was “difficult to say it was all fun” during the Port Elizabeth to Durban run, he was happy with the outcome.
“The point [of the run] was to become mentally strong and which will help [for] the Two Oceans.”