Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 140, April 2021 Apr 2021 | Page 13


It all started when Angelo Adams saw a friend post on social media about the little girl that he and his wife were fostering , from Hannah ’ s Place of Safety in Mitchells Plain . It ’ s a small non-profit that takes responsibility for looking after abandoned babies and restoring dignity and health to their young lives until they are taken in by foster homes . Having already run several events or long runs for various worthy causes , seeing that post by Rodney Brown planted a seed in Angelo ’ s mind that this was another cause he would like to support .

He therefore called up his running buddies Esmund Van Wyk and Merlin Galant , and told them of his idea to take on a running challenge to raise fund and generate publicity for Hannah ’ s Place of Safety . “ We are all from the Cape Flats , and we thought what better way to give back and see if we could impact , effect and affect change in the lives of these little ones ,” says Angelo . “ Also , with no road races happening , we needed to create a purpose for the training and the mileage that we were doing on a weekly basis .”
Not known by their peers for do things just ‘ halfway ,’ the trio decided that it would be a grand idea to run 100km for charity … not that any of them had ever run that far before . “ If you don ’ t try , then you won ’ t know , and we thought the good cause will add fuel to the fire when we need it . There was no doubt that it was always going to be a long road run of some sort , because trail is not our thing … and the less said about my feelings toward virtual races the better !” says Angelo .
Angelo Adams and his family
Of course , at the time of making that decision , the distance seemed manageable , but as many ultrarunners know , when the reality of the distance ahead sets in , then enthusiasm is usually the first casualty ... Fortunately , these buddies are made of sterner stuff , and they got to work training for the big day . They also set themselves the target of raising R30,000 in much-needed funds for Hannah ’ s Place . “ They look after 10 babies at a time , and even though there are regular donations , of consumables and other goods , nobody has really assisted them with the cash resources that are needed for the upkeep of the place , or for the costs involved in transport or the healthcare of the babies . We decided that if they can do that on a daily basis , then this distance was the least we could
do in order to get them some support .”

Bitten by the Bug

Angelo started running back in 2014 as a way of keeping fit and losing some kilos . He was introduced to running by a friend at Avendale Cricket Club . “ I was overweight and just a bit curious about this running business . My friend dabbled in a bit of road running , and he seemed to be quite fit . I thought it can ’ t be that tough , but I was so wrong ! The plan was to train for and run just a single Two Oceans Half Marathon , but the bug bit and that plan changed rather quickly to longer times spent running , and further distances done .”
In that first half marathon , with then girlfriend Tamsyn standing at the top of a hill , cheering him on with a loud , “ Come on baby , you can do this ,” Angelo says he felt like he was on top of the world . That is , until a female runner from Fish Hoek Athletic Club , with an 80 years age tag pulled up next to him and chirped , “ Let ’ s go , my boy !” As he recalls several years later , “ It was one of my most memorable race moments … inspiring and humbling all rolled into one .”
Even though he doesn ’ t come from a very sporting family background , he ’ s always had a keen interest in sport . “ I was an average cricketer . I could swing a ball and hit it far , but I ’ ve long retired from team sports , and now I try and give back by coaching athletics , cricket and football at school level .” His job as a school teacher allows him to do just that , and Angelo says he feels compelled to set a good example for his learners , and to do as much good in struggling communities as he can . “ I have always aspired to inspire . My motivation is to leave everything out there on the ‘ battleground ,’ knowing that I gave my all to complete the task I was set .”
He says Tamsyn ( they ’ re now married ) and his Mom are his two biggest supporters . “ My wife can do roadside support like no other , even with our little baby Jessi along for the ride , and she will give taxi
Esmund van Wyk and his family
Ready to tackle another long run together
drivers a run for their money getting from point A to point B !” On the other hand , he says many of his friends don ’ t see the point of all this running . “ They keep offering me money for tyres and petrol , but I ’ d prefer it if they offered me money for running shoes , because that ’ s the most pressing need with all the mileage we did in training for this long day of running !”
Although he loves to joke , Angelo gets serious when he talks about the other reasons that he runs . “ Jokes aside , I run to stay healthy , but I also love giving back , so I create awareness for different organisations wherever I can .” That has seen him promoting or running for various charities or initiatives , and he says he has reasons for supporting each one . “ There is CHOC , because far too many families can ’ t afford the very expensive treatment for cancer when their children fall ill , and Starfish , because neglected kids didn ’ t ask to come into this world . I have also supported Run for Pads , because girls need to stay in school , too .” And now he ’ ll be running for Hannah ’ s
Place of Safety , too .

Running Buddies

A man who loves the open road and the rhythm of a long run , Esmund says the decision to be part of this run for charity was an easy one . “ We wanted to make a difference to the lives of others , while doing what we love . I was sold on the idea immediately , as I am a firm believer in being part of the solution in life , and not part of the problem ,” he says .
Images : Courtesy Angelo Adams
Merlin Galant and his family