Aberdeen’s Botter Ossies have triumphed once again – not only did all four ladies finish the 25km trek that they had planned, but the raised the staggering amount of R37 000 for various projects in the town!
Since last year’s walk of 21km, the ladies have kept up their exercise regime and increased their fitness levels. They have all lost a substantial amount of weight, almost 90kg between them. Hannelie van der Westhuizen is leading the pack with a very impressive loss of 36.5kg, and Umelda van Rensburg commented that she found this year’s walk much easier, despite the extra distance, as she had 21kg less to carry with her!
The ladies and Niel Pienaar, who acted as their “second” for the walk, set off from the Dutch Reformed Church at 5:45, and made a detour into Aberdeen Self Catering, where they were treated to a freshly-brewed cup of steaming coffee by owner Jurgens Strydom before setting off along the N9 just after 6am.
They walked along the highway for 9km (with a break after 5km), then had breakfast before turning off on the gravel road towards Grootvlakte farm. Every 2km they had a water point.
The ladies all agree that the support from Niel Pienaar was invaluable, with one going as far to say that she did not think she would have been able to finish without his encouragement. The ladies walked in two pairs, and Niel probably covered almost as many kilometres as the official walkers as he went left his bakkie and went from group to group offering inspiration and fuelling their determination. Along the way, the walkers were also given a regular energy boost with sweets donated by Archie Norval and Nico Kemp (who also sponsored water), and bananas and more water from Martjie Jordaan of Foodzone.
The finish, after around six hours, was a very welcome sight indeed for the weary walkers. Elna van Niekerk had provided a well-deserved lunch for them all.
The beneficiaries are diverse, as each sponsor chose the cause that they would like to support. Kamdebo Primary will receive the largest amount, with Aalwynhof Home for the Aged and the project to clean up the town also doing very well. Other beneficiaries will include animal welfare, two crèches, a church, and a feeding scheme. Two overseas sponsors, family members of Debbie and Umelda, boosted the coffers with substantial donations, but the ladies were equally grateful to all the local residents and businesses who gave what they could. As somebody posted on social media after hearing of the successful completion of the walk, maybe Comrades’ next year?