slogging the desert for Solomon's Haven

I've run many miles over massive mountains, next to picturesque lakes, across glacial moraines, through forests and grasslands, along stretches of exquisite coastline, through day and night. Now it's time to put my endurance to the real test by taking on a desert run.

On the 27th March 2011 I'll be taking on the Namib Desert Challenge, a 5-day 220km self-sufficient race in the Namib Desert ( Temperatures will be extreme, averaging in the mid-40 degrees, and distances each day will be 40-50km. Runners will be required to carry their own food and fuel each day, and will only be provided with water.

I'm an experienced trail runner, sure, but this will be my first time in a desert, and the first race I'll have ever run in real heat... I'm no fan of the heat, so desert temperatures are likely to be my nemesis. I find the thought of five days of them quite terrifying!

This will be a massive personal challenge - it'll undoubtedly be the hardest feat I've ever taken on. But I want to make the slog worthwhile. And I'd love all the help I can get to do so. I've chosen a very special cause that's close to my heart - it's called Solomon's Haven.

Solomon's Haven is an emergency shelter in Mitchell's Plain, Cape Town that is home to +/-16 children, all of whom have been either abused, neglected or abandoned by their own families and referred to Solomon's Haven by the Magistrate’s Court or the Department of Social Welfare. Maria and Alec Solomon provide a secure and loving environment that focuses on building self-esteem in preparation for the children’s eventual healthy integration into society.
Solomon’s Haven is a registered non-profit organisation and receives a government grant of less than R200 per month for each child in its care. This has to cover school fees, food, clothing and transport. Often transport expenses alone amount to R250 per month for children temporarily in the care of the Haven if their school is situated further afield. These government grants are supplemented by Alec’s small income as a builder, and by donations.

In addition to her role as mother and counsellor, Maria represents many of the children in court, providing testimony and dealing with the legalities regarding stewardship of the children. The Haven provides a place of safety for children of all ages, from small babies to teenagers, many for a few years, some for just for a night or a few days. Often Maria receives children in the middle of the night needing immediate attention, care and refuge. As tribute to her enduring work for the community, Maria was runner-up in the V&A Woman of Worth 2003 and very proudly won the full award in 2004.

Solomon's Haven is a street miracle, plain and simple. It heals souls and changes lives. It's an inspiration to society. And it needs all the help you and I can give it. But without outside assistance, Maria and Alec are unable to give these children the love and care they so desperately crave. Please help me to raise as much as we possibly can to help change the lives of those in need.

To raise funds for Solomon’s Haven, I’ve registered with, an online donation site through which donating is simple, fast and totally secure. It's also the most efficient way to donate directly to where funds are needed.

Please support me in raising as much as I can for Solomon’s Haven. Here’s the deal: I’ll do the sweaty work and slog across the desert, and you click on the DONATE NOW link at the top of my backabuddy page!

My donation page is

Please contribute to this very worthy cause. Remember, every donation big or small counts for a lot.

And please, spread the word far and wide!

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