ORT’s marathon team back in the running


Despite the best efforts of volcanic ash from Iceland, ORT South Africa supporters managed to reach England and raise Rand 1.2 million ($163,000) by running the London Marathon.

A high altitude cloud of debris from the Eyjafjallajoekull eruption closed down most European airspace for several days before the marathon, which is said to be the world’s largest annual charitable fundraising event.

But as air travel haphazardly resumed all nine South Africans managed to get on board flights and join more than 36,000 other people “モ including one British ORT runner “モ for the big race. “They were inspirational,”? said ORT South Africa National Director Brad Rosmarin, who had flown out to cheer on the team. “All but two of them had never run a marathon before. Running is an individual sport but there was a team spirit the likes of which I had never experienced before.”?
One of those running was ORT JET Fundraising Manager Nicci Raz, who had coordinated ORT South Africa’s effort.
“Until six months before the marathon Nicci had never run more than three kilometres,”? Mr Rosmarin said. “The only reason she took part was because one of the people she had asked said he would only run if she did, too.”? Ms Raz completed the 26-mile course in four hours and fifty-six minutes.
The South Africans, who each paid their own passage and accommodation, achieved creditable times of between four hours nine minutes and five hours five minutes. But British ORT’s sole entrant, ex-Royal Marine Tom Carver, managed the fastest time at three hours forty-one minutes.
“I’m in for it definitely next year,”? the 27-year-old veteran of the Iraq and Afghan conflicts said. “British ORT has been very proactive and helpful and is definitely a charity worth supporting.”?
British ORT, which raised some £10,000 from the event, has a Golden Bond which entitles it to enter five runners into the London Marathon each year. Because of injuries there were places unfilled from previous years which were rolled over to last week’s event.
British ORT Chairman Simon Alberga congratulated all the runners on what he described as a tremendous achievement and looked forward to developing the principle of fundraising-without-borders.
“It was great that British ORT and ORT South Africa were able to find a way to collaborate,”? Mr Alberga said. “I’d like to see more of this kind of collaboration happening. There ought to be a number of opportunities for an international network like ours to join forces.”?
He also appreciated the opportunity to learn more about ORT South Africa’s work, particularly thanks to a slick presentation made by mining executive cum marathon runner Joel Kesler at the post-race reception hosted by Sean Melnick at the London offices of his offshore asset management firm, Stenham.
“I really enjoyed learning more about ORT South Africa; it’s a really amazing organisation,”? Mr Alberga said. “We aim to get more British runners into next year’s marathon but if it’s the South Africans, or whoever, who like to run then we’ll welcome them. It’s all money for the ORT pot, which is fantastic.”?
The money raised by ORT South Africa will go towards its pioneering business mentoring programme, ORT JET, of which Mr Melnick is Chairman, and to educator empowerment projects it runs in various townships.
The runners (and their times) were: Tom Carver (3’41”?), Greg Kinross (4’09”?), Hilton Gischen (4’43”?), Craig Nadelman (4’43”?), Lauren Friedman (4’49”?), Jonny Martin (4’49”?), Orit Eschel (4’56”?), Nicci Raz (4’56”?), Joel Kesler (4’56”?), and David Shapiro (5’05”?).
The sponsors included: Stenham, Hunter Dickinson Inc, Transaction Capital, Anooraq Resources Corporation, Macquarie First South, Rothschild Private Banking and Trust, Standard Chartered, RMB, Blue Label Telecoms, Dahlman Rose and Co, Invenio Capital, Metalmin, Flawless Diamond Trading House, Allan Hochreiter, Broll, Pick’n’Pay, Merchant Factors, Trematon Capital Investments Ltd, Sasfin, Business Connexion, atmsolutions, Mamba Media, Sonorex, Unitrans, Applied Derivatives, Ingenuity Property Investments Ltd, Great Basin Gold Ltd, Steinhoff International Holdings Ltd, Reclam, and Personalised Image Printers.