Event organisers, Wildrunner and Spur Trail Series® title sponsors, Spur Steak Ranches, have combined forces to donate R35,000 to the volunteers who are working tirelessly to control wildfires across the Western Cape. This follows the second race of the Spur Cape Summer Trail Series® being cancelled, due to the fire that raged through the Elgin Valley this past weekend.
On Saturday evening, 16 January, the night before the race, the Wildrunner team watched helplessly from the start/finish location of the race, as the forested hills and farms of Lebanon in the Elgin Valley were torn apart by vicious wildfires. Upon consultation with local disaster management and the owner of the farm it was clear that the fire was continuing unabated into the heart of the Lebanon plantation and onto the Spur Trail Series® routes. At 9:49pm the team was left with no choice but to cancel the event and inform all entrants of the cancellation.
Subsequently, it was decided to donate those expenses that were not realised on race day to Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) who do stellar work in fighting fires – not only this weekend, but throughout the year. Spur Steak Ranches also agreed to support this initiative and added another R10,000 to make the total donation R35,000, while BOS Sport donated 20 cases of refreshing BOS Sport to the weary firefighters.
Owen Middleton, managing director of Wildrunner, said the reaction of trail runners across the board has been fantastic. “The first people to suggest we donate to VWS were those runners who were affected by the cancellation. The reality of trail running is that we are extremely privileged to be able to run in the areas that we do and it is heartening to see trail runners always willing to give back and showing their support to those affected by the fires. We’d like to thank everyone for their understanding and support in this decision. At this time, our thoughts go out to all of those who have been grossly affected by wildfires, not only in the Elgin Valley but across the Western Cape, as well as to everyone still on the frontline. May everyone return safely to their families,” he said.
The rest of the Spur Cape Summer Trail Series® will continue as normal, with the next race taking place at the exciting new venue, Kirstenbosch Gardens, on Tuesday, 26 January.
If anyone would like to contribute further in any way they can make contact with VWS by email on email@example.com.