The legendary Comrades Marathon is happening in just 3 days, and is the largest ultra-marathon on the planet with over 16,000 entrants at this point. This race is just under 90k of fun and hard charging through the heartland of South Africa, and it's a race I've always dreamed of taking part in. I feel like Comrades will be in the global spotlight this year more than ever with the world's cameras already pointed on South Africa as we anxiously anticipate the start of the 2010 World Cup in just a few weeks.
Another reason for the added excitement surrounding Comrades this year relates to some incredibly fast American runners who will be running in a race traditionally dominated by the locals. I'm extremely excited about following the race live online, and am confident that our Americans will do amazingly well. A group of my teammates from The North Face is traveling to South Africa (or already there at this point), and I think they're going to be a force to be reckoned with without a doubt! Kami Semick, Lizzy Hawker, Nikki Kimball, and Michael Wardian will all be toeing the line this Sunday, and I wish them all the very best race possible.
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of hearing a brief presentation from my friend Kami Semick detailing not only the history and significance of the Comrades race, but also explaining what is a far more important part of the team's trip to South Africa. Kami and the team are on a mission to raise support and awareness for the Starfish Greathearts Foundation and their incredible work. While I think most people are painfully aware of the AIDS epidemic plaguing South Africa, I (and I think most others) was not aware of the impact this has had on orphaning millions of vulnerable children. There are more than 2 million children in SA alone orphaned by AIDS, with over 90% of these children being NOT HIV positive. Starfish is a fantastic organization that is focused solely on nurturing these orphaned children and working to break this destructive cycle. With the world's attention focused on South Africa in the coming weeks, I encourage you to spread the word about this great organization, and hopefully this will be a platform for increased awareness and an impetus for real change there. Please consider supporting my friends' efforts and the work of Starfish by visiting their page HERE.
Here is the story of a Carol, who cares for 97 children herself, and is aided by Starfish;