I have never met Takunda. I only know of him through a friend of a friend.
He decided to run the Comrades Marathon. He decided that someone else should benefit from this exertion. I asked him to explain how he came to find Lula Isandla, and he came to raise funds for us:
Up until September last year I had not run more than 21km (which I ran once 5 years prior in Knysna). I am built for short distances and I have also had two reconstructive surgeries on my right knee. So when my former work colleagues from the Citigroup trading floor heard me announce that I was going to attempt the Comrades: a betting frenzy erupted that I can only compare with a selling frenzy that was going to take place two months later as the whole world was realising that the financial markets were in meltdown! Within three days a sizeable amount of money had been put up on the 'Big Trade Board' (a board mainly used to display our big deals). The bet was whatever one felt was appropriate for me making the start (because of the qualifying marathon requirement), and whatever one felt was appropriate for me making the finish. The final total was in the region of R70 000.
I felt that it would be appropriate and motivational to donate the proceeds of this bet to a charity. I spoke to a friend of mine Lisa King, who told me what Claire was doing in the Midlands. I was very touched by what Lula Isandla were doing, and after chatting to Claire very inspired.
After 6 months of training and completing the Pretoria marathon and Two Oceans 56km I felt my preparation had been adequate. But nothing could prepare me for the lonely challenge that lay ahead as my training partner, and very close friend, Amos had been forced to pull out with an ITB injury after the Two Oceans. At the halfway point I was looking at an 11hr finish, however, as the race continued I lost track of time and my body began to give in to the pain, and at 45th Cutting with 7km to go I needed to run at 6min/km. The dark cloud hung over me as I realised that I was up against it!
I made it to the 86km mark as the 12hr cut of time struck. I was really disappointed about not finishing and not getting the children the full sum of the bet. But a friend of mine sent me the following quote from Theodore Roosevelt and it made me realise what i had achieved:
"It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worth cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."
The efforts of people like this is what makes Lula Isandla work.