Cape Town - On June 18, philanthropist Eric Tollner, completed the
100km Fish River Canyon Ultra Marathon.
Not only did he just take part, he won the race!
The very next morning he swapped his trail running shoes for mountain bike
cleats, and started the 1 500+ km cycle from Ai-Ais in Namibia, where the
ultra marathon finished, towards Knysna.
He took on this epic journey so as one of “The Cows” to raise funds for the
The Cows were started in 2008 by a group of 8 enthusiastic cyclists keen to
make a difference and raise money as an independent fund raising arm for
They ride every year in memory of little Jessica Bain who passed away in
February of that year and for other friends and family who have had to deal
Every year they ride in an array of cow cycling gear, taking part in a
number of sporting events across South Africa and even have a handful of riders
who ride on company sponsored ice cream bikes.
CHOC (an acronym for Children’s Haematology Oncology Clinics) was
established in 1979 by a parent group in Johannesburg and is the Childhood
Cancer Association which plays a key role in providing care for children
diagnosed with cancer across South Africa. It is a country wide organization
that provides the highest level of care required to treat childhood cancer in
keeping with the latest developments world-wide.
Tollner’s three week off-road trip took him through Niewoudtville, Tankwa,
Sutherland and Price Albert before reaching Knysna on Thursday, July
7 where he was greeted by friends and loved ones.
Tollner’s family and followers didn’t hear from him for days at a time due
to the lack of cellphone reception but luckily he was being tracked by a live
satellite device called a SPOT Gen3 which requires no GSM cellphone signal to
Despite enduring freezing temperatures, an involuntary river submersion and
failed bike brakes going down a treacherous mountain road into Merweville,
Tollner always maintained his high spirits!
Tollner survived the Little and Big Karoo, the Cederberg Mountains, a 16km
bike portage across rugged mountains, the Tankwa reserve, snow, sub-zero
temperatures and flooded rivers. He also had an opportunity to ride past the
famous SALT telescope in Sutherland.
Tollner said of his adventure, "You lose count of the days which
seamlessly merge and blend between canyon walls and distant horizons shimmering
in the sun, desolate wilderness and mountain ranges, frozen streams and icy
winds, and the endless life cycle of pedals clicking and wheels turning over
and over and over.
The days are rich in overwhelming abundance, and it has been a ride beyond
anything I have expected or imagined. Google Earth can only prepare you for so
much, but the rest you have to embrace along the way. Emotions get raw as
the days draw deeper into a journey like this, and the fine line between
keeping it together and not becomes increasingly thin and blurred. Not everyone
gets it, so it's difficult to explain, but those who have been here
understand. Learning gratitude. And deep, deep humility. In truly
To end off his crazy odyssey, Tollner will take part in the Knysna Forest
Marathon on Saturday morning after only one day of rest!
If you’d like to support Tollner’s fundraising project,
please go to:
Donation Page: http://www.givengain.com/activist/98900/projects/12472
The Cows: www.thecows.co.za (fundraisers)
CHOC: http://www.choc.org.za/ (beneficiary)