Exercise is good for both the body and spirit but it is even better when done for a good cause.
This is what about 60 SRIC staff members attested when they participated in the annual Cheshire Homes sponsored walk at Malolotja on Sunday 11 June – a fundraising drive for the hospice service.
The walk began as early as 6.00 am. The weather wasn’t particularly inviting – cold and windy – but the general consensus was that it was better than it had been the previous years. After collecting all the supplies that would be needed along the way – fruits, water and energy drinks – it was time to begin the walk. Quickly, in pairs, trios and quartets, the group of 60 soon diminished, joining others from different organizations.
Malolotja Nature Reserve is a serenely beautiful place. Its gently sloping mountains are both inviting and capturing, providing the perfect set-up for a slow-paced, leisurely walk or even a run. Even though wildlife was scarcely visible on the day, there was that very welcome sight of zebras strolling at a distance. It was a sight to behold!
Everyone who joined in the walk chose between two routes: a shorter 7km and the more trying 16km. The SRIC team seemed to be equally split between the two routes, as if there had been an earlier discussion. Regardless, the common purpose was to complete the route chosen within a reasonable period of time and in the end, all SRIC team members finished the race, with some commenting that they could do a second round because of how fresh they were.
The 16km race took less than 3 hours for the majority of those who were walking and even shorter for those running while most who participated in the 7km took about an hour and 30 minutes to finish. It appeared as though the objective was not necessarily to finish the walk and head home, but to enjoy each step, to appreciate the surroundings and to take the occasional selfie while in the company of colleagues. Such is the calmness of the Nature Reserve that it invites you to take it all in, to pose every now and appreciate what nature has to offer from the lazily meandering streams to the gentle hills and abundant rocks. Malolotja Nature Reserve is a charming place!
In the end, everyone, including charity, was a winner. No amount of exhaustion could have deterred anyone from finishing the walk, be it the 16km or 7km. As the team posed for pictures, there were smiles as wide the Nature Reserve itself, coming from a place deep satisfaction. One could tell the people were happy not only because they participated in and finished the walk – while exercising in the process, but also because they contributed to generous acts of charity and walked on behalf of those who couldn’t.
Probably, there will be another walk next year: The same routes, similar distances and objectives but this one was its own experience, different from any other that the team had participated in. It offered a set of challenges and rewards singular to itself.
As the SRIC team drove off, exhausted, drained and fatigued, it did so knowing it had conquered Malolotja, that charming and beautiful place!