ENDURANCE ATHLETE TACKLES WORLD’S TOUGHEST MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE TO RAISE FUNDS
In a year of hardship, tragedy and loss for so many, South African amateur endurance athlete, Guy Jennings (Kommetjie), has decided to double down on The Munga mountain bike race in a quest to raise funds for the non-profit organisation #pumpforpeace.
Considered the toughest mountain bike race on earth, the 2020 Munga from Bloemfontein to Cape Town will run from 2 to 7 December, and once completed, Jennings will turn around and complete the route again within a similar timeframe.
The almost-56-year-old competitor aims to raise R56 000 during this 2 200km round trip which will go towards building a ‘pump track’ – a recreational biking track – for children residing in the Langa township of Cape Town.
“I truly believe that sport can change children’s lives in areas of poverty, and give hope and a healthy, active alternative to crime and drugs. Seeing children having fun on a bike is the most natural, wonderful thing in the world, and I aim to help give this gift to as many kids as possible in Langa,” explained Jennings.
The track is being constructed by #pumpforpeace, a global NPO initiated by Velosolutions that constructs pump tracks in various communities as a way to encourage unity through sport. The City of Cape Town has allocated land and 50% of costs for construction of the track at Langa Sport Centre, with the international-level track able to host a Red Bull World Cup Qualifying race.
This will be Jennings’ fourth Munga, which traverses the harsh South African landscape and forces riders to endure some of the world’s most testing biking conditions. During the race, temperatures have reached 50 degrees with riders navigating heavily rutted roads, facing the infamous south-easter, and competing with very limited sleep.
However, Jennings thrives on such endurance sports, having competed in 11 Comrades Marathons and three 7-Day Desert Runs. His love for exploring new territories has also seen him completing the 230-kilometre Jungle Ultra Marathon through the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest as well as the world’s longest winter ultra-marathon – The Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska.
After an injury which prompted a double hip replacement, Jennings swopped out running for cycling and started riding competitively in 2010. Alongside his Munga cycles he has gone on to complete four Cape Epics. In 2019, Jennings was also the first South African to complete the 1 700km long Silk Road Mountain Race. His passion for endurance sport is rivalled only by his passion for fundraising, with Jennings having competed in the 56km Rhodes Trail Run in a full polar bear suit – twice – to raise funds for the local school.
After months of lockdown, I’m really looking forward to getting out in this beautiful country and competing in the Munga for a truly worthwhile cause,” said Jennings. “It has been a trying year for many, and I hope this will, in some way, provide a measure of happiness and hope for others.”
To donate to this worthy cause and crazy challenge, go to: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/munga-there-and-back or visit Backabuddy.co.za and type in ‘Guy Jennings’ to find Munga ‘There and Back’.