Stefan Terblanche, CEO of the South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) may have retired from rugby, but that doesn’t mean he’s lost his competitive edge. SARLA is excited to announce its full support for Stefan as he takes on an epic rowing challenge at the Ingane Yami Children’s Village in Durban. 

On 5 November 2019, Stefan joins local adventure athletes, Bruce Hughes and Mike Morris, on a 1460KM non-stop stationary rowing journey. The distance they’ll be rowing is equivalent to the distance from Durban to Robben Island. 

This challenge is not sheer madness as some may think, though. It’s all being done for a very deserving cause, as all proceeds generated by the challenge will be donated to Ingane Yami Children’s Village. 

Ingane Yami is a safe haven for children in the Shongweni Valley in Kwa-Zulu Natal. It provides a permanent, loving home for vulnerable, orphaned children from the surrounding area. The Village comprises individual homes that are cared for by carefully selected foster mothers, each of whom have six children in their charge. The families are also supported by a village pastor, qualified teachers and a dedicated support team on-site. 

Stefan, Bruce and Mike embark on this seemingly impossible rowing challenge (officially dubbed the Ingane Yami Mandela Challenge) in early November. And they’ll keep the rower moving non-stop, day and night, for a full six days. 

Bruce and Mike will row on a rotational basis in one-hour shifts, meaning one will row while the other rests and recovers. Stefan will then step in as the impact rower, taking over rowing duties during the hardest hours through the night. This will allow Bruce and Mike to sleep for six hours. Luckily, they won’t be short on sustenance to keep them going, as Spar will be sponsoring food for the duration of the challenge. Spar has also extended their generosity to Ingane Yami, as the village’s ongoing monthly food and nutrition supplier.

From the start at 9.00am on Tuesday, 5 November till the very end on Sunday, 10 November, the clock won’t stop. It’s a gruelling race to the finish with a R450 000 goal ahead. The money will go towards a new home for an additional six vulnerable children at Ingane Yami. 

Bruce and Mike have put their bodies on the line for charity before, having run a six-stage ultra-marathon in 40-degree heat and completed the Elements Everest trail race – all in aid of Ingane Yami. 

Stefan is no stranger to demanding physical challenges either. He played 37 tests for the Springboks from 1998-2003, has competed in the Absa Cape Epic, Sani2Sea, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and in 2018 he completed the world’s biggest expedition type adventure event, GODZone.

Stefan is also dedicated to his current work as SARLA CEO, and passionate about developing rugby at grassroots level through SARLA’s VUKA rugby development programme. When asked how he felt about the challenge that lies ahead, Stefan said, “Well, I think the hardest thing for all of us is going to be not getting enough rest in between our rowing duties. 

None of us are expecting this to be a walk in the park. But I’m confident we’ll make it. And nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment you get when you successfully push yourself beyond your limits – especially when you know that it’s for a great cause.”

Gavin Varejes, SARLA President, said, “SARLA will be tracking and supporting Stefan, Mike and Bruce every step of the way. We’re sure that Stefan’s competitive nature will keep him going and help motivate his team mates right till the end. We wish them all the best and we’ll be cheering them on all the way”.

The Ingane Yami Mandela Challenge is happening at Ingane Yami Children’s Village on 5 November 2019. To come and see the rowers in action, or to make a donation, contact Patricia Deacon, Ingane Yami Marketing Manager, on 078 342 0539 or email her on tricia@inganeyami.com. No donation is too small. 

Concept2 will be providing the rowing machine and necessary tracking equipment to keep tabs on the challengers’ distance from beginning to end. Follow them on Instagram, @concept2sa or visit www.concept2.com.

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