Above: Matt just outside Stellenbosch. Photo: David Papenfus.

Elbé van Heerden

“If I could have a crazy dream and make it into a reality in a mere two months, how much more can we turn a child’s dream into a reality if we fostered it over years?”

Matthew Kruger had a crazy idea one morning, two months ago, while lying in bed. He wanted to do something to make a difference. One that would really impact children in the community.

As such he attempted to complete 100 km’s of open road in only 24 hours. He did, after only two months of training, finish this feat in only 21 hours!

“I have been doing marketing for various non-profit organisations for years, but I have always been in the background. This time I wanted to give something back.”

An avid sportsman and runner, Matt can be seen running over obstacles all around Stellenbosch as part of his urban running movement. “I created UOR (Urban Obstacle Running) a few years ago and it has since become so much bigger. I realised, after doing some research, that there was no clear rulebook that existed for urban running. So I started writing one.” (Look out for the cleverly placed I <3 Urban Obstacle Running stickers throughout town).

His book on Urban Obstacle Running is a new take on this modern sport that has been around for only a few years. But with no rules and regulations he created a grading system, started naming and penning down rules and adding structure. His passion for the sport has spilt over into the community and he now has a bunch of kids that train with him.

Aside from urban running, he was involved with the One Heart for Kids Foundation for children for five years. “I was appointed to do their marketing and have been involved behind the scenes for a few years.” He is now also one of their ambassadors.

The One Heart for Kids programme was started in 2016 by the Sustainable Development Network, a South African and US registered non-profit company, in response to the low average on matric results nationally. The organisation now focuses on primary school literacy, healthy lifestyles and equipping young leaders through sport and education in Southern Africa, mostly through sporting events.

They also had a special response to the Covid-19 crisis, and are raising funds for food and other essential goods and services for at-risk children, youth and families.

Matt’s #100km24h was aimed at raising funds for this cause. The walk started just outside of Worcester, 100 km away from Stellenbosch, and took him through Villiersdorp, the Franschhoek Pass and Helderberg to end at AF Louw on Saturday, 22 August, which was also Matt’s 44th birthday!

“The project was amazing. I only had two months to plan to be able to complete the race on my birthday. I received amazing support from friends and family and they were there throughout the race. Some of my friends walked a relay to keep me company along the way, while others drove the support vehicle.”

He expressed his heartfelt thanks to everyone involved, including his sponsors, Adidas and Cape Union Mart. He was extremely grateful to the Franschhoek SAPS who went out of their way on the Franschhoek Pass and literally closed the road so that he could complete that leg of his trip safely.

His running friends that took the road with him in a relay race were Craig Seaman, Charl Cilliers, James Arbuthnot, Peter Baumeister, Peter Holtzhausen and Ryan Kallis with logistics handled by David Papenfus and Minke van Zyl.

He was welcomed to AF Louw by an honour guard of children and teachers, welcoming him home on his birthday.

He is hoping that the walk will become an annual thing! “If we could start a 100 km relay run, from Worcester to Stellenbosch, titled #OneHeart100, we could be raising funds for the cause every year. There are many people who would love to become a part of a team and say that they were a part of it!”

You can still help Matt’s cause by using the Snapscan code to make a donation or simply via EFT to One Heart for Kids. Even R20 makes a significant difference in a child’s life.

For more information about One Heart for Kids, visit them on Facebook and join in on making a difference as a volunteer.