It does sound a bit like I went on a kind of fast from running or something but on the contrary, I put in more kms in a 24-hour period than ever before I think. Between 07h40 on Friday, 6 April 2012 (exactly 360 years after Jan van Riebeeck first set foot on South African soil!) and 07h48:36s on the 7th I completed 43.1kms – the first 22km on rough terrain along and around Table Mountain while the second half-marathon stretch happened below on the tarred strips of Cape Town’s southern suburbs.
You don’t have to pay me in order to run in any of the anual Two Oceans Marathon events which is popularly referred to as ‘the world’s most beautiful marathon’. I will willingly pay to take part year after year and that is exactly what I do every year. This year of course I was greedy enough to enter myself, together with another friend, into two of these races. I used the classic excuse of ‘I’m doing it for charity’ in order to challenge myself to push my personal known limits somewhat.
It was however not for ‘charity’ at all but for freedom. In my physical state I probably feel most free when I’m running. It is the motion that comes most naturally to my lanky, long-legged body – after sinking into a couch and walking that is. Many people have their opinions on what the main cause of strife around the world through the ages have been (mine is that it is self-righteousness supported by pride flowing from sinful, deceived hearts) but what I have realised is that what many of the quarrels happening across the globe on a daily basis revolves around is perceived freedom and the infringement thereof. Everyone thinks someone else is busy stealing some (or lots) of their freedom. And then that whole self-righteous-pride-sinful heart thing sets in and we demand our individual freedom at the cost of many others’ maybe.
But what if you were literally enslaved? As in the property of an owner – one human using another for their own personal gain while giving nothing unconditional in return? Basically, a parasite owning and manipulating the one it leaches on. As many as 30 million children, women and men find themselves in such dire circumstances as I’m typing out my thoughts on a fun run experience I had over the past weekend. It also happened to be Passover weekend – when traditionally Israelites remembered their freedom from captivity (slavery) in Egypt, the very same weekend Jesus of Nazareth publicly declared eternal freedom to all peoples of all nations. [I only realise the symbolic/prophetic significance of my run now!] All those people enslaved today make out the victims of what is known as human trafficking – the illegal trade of humans across and within national borders for sex, labour or body parts.
I cannot give an exact account of what change my running around and along a mountain have brought about to their situation but what I do know is that as long as I am free myself, I can celebrate my freedom by fighting for those who cannot.
My effort forms part of and contributes toward a further group of people who sound the alarms against human trafficking, who in turn partners with other organisations informing more people about and assisting victims away from their captors toward freedom. This battle will not be won overnight and not by the efforts of a single person. I received this revelation while running: as I was entering the last 6kms of my first day’s race I realised I had to hold back a bit (after my running partner had to constantly keep down my pace during the race) in order to effectively move and complete the next day’s 21.1km. I realised that although I was busy completing the 22km of the first race I was also busy with the full 43.1km race and had to stick to my own pace and not measure myself against runners who passed me on their way to finish their one race of 22km. ‘It’s not how you start but how you finish’ became a reality to me together with the fact that each one must do and stick to what they were called to do regarding any given situation.
This is an invite to all others to join the cause in their own capacity and help free slaves in a time where there are more forced slaves than any other in history.
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance…I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the world.” – from Robert Kennedy’s Day of Affirmation Address at the University of Cape Town (UCT) on 6 June 1966 – the finishing line for all Two Oceans races are on that Main campus of UCT.