Now in its 39th year, this year’s tough 17,45km race commenced at the Kwelera River in Yellow Sands and took participants over sand, rocks, rivers and loose boulders all the way to the finish line on Nahoon Beach in East London.
Discovery Sponsorship Manager, Sandile Mkari says the race has grown phenomenally since its inception in 1975. “There were only 36 participants in the first-ever Surfers Challenge. Now there are different categories to accommodate all the participants (runner/paddlers and walkers), including a 5km Junior Surfers race for under-14s, which was introduced last year,” he said.
The Junior Surfers race participation more than doubled on last year’s figure. . “This is highly encouraging, given that statistics show a disturbing decline in physical education and physical activity at schools combined with an increase in unhealthy eating habits and more sedentary lifestyle resulting in a significant increase in childhood obesity,” he said.
Participation by celebrities such as nine-time Comrades Marathon winner, Bruce Fordcye, and 10 times Comrades gold medallist and one-time winner, Shaun Meiklejohn, heightened the excitement around the event.
In addition, this year’s event saw over almost 300 Vitality wellness screenings (blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI and glucose levels) conducted at registration. All participating Vitality members earned further Vitality points for taking part in these wellness screenings. “Regular health checks are extremely important, as prevention is always the best cure – a true statement when it comes to one’s health. Providing wellness screening sessions is something Discovery has introduced at the bulk of the sporting events it sponsors,” said Mkari.
Mkari added that Discovery is passionate about encouraging South Africans to live healthier lifestyles and engage in physical activity. “This event proved yet again to be a great platform for first-time participants to take positive steps towards leading more healthy lives,” said Mkari.
Discovery Surfers Challenge action as it happened in East London.
Discovery is an authorised financial services provider.
Discovery operates in the healthcare cover market in South Africa, the United Kingdom and China; the life assurance market in South Africa and the United Kingdom; as well as the long-term savings and investment market, and short-term insurance market in South Africa.
Vitality, Discovery’s wellness programme, is the world’s largest scientific, incentive-based wellness solution. It provides individual and corporate wellness initiatives in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and China. The global Vitality membership base now exceeds three million lives.
Discovery’s core purpose is to make people healthier, and to enhance and protect their lives through financial products that clients need and want.