UNOGWAJA 2011 – The cycle journey to Comrades

Posted on Apr 01, 2011 under Comrades Marathon | 1 Comment

UNOGWAJA 2011Set to kick off on the 19th of May 2011, the UNOGWAJA 2011 will follow in the footsteps of war veteran Phil Masterton-Smith where four young men will attempt the ultimate journey of courage and endurance by cycling from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg and the following day running the Comrades marathon.

Endorsed by the Comrades, the UNOGWAJA 2011 journey will consist of a ten-day cycle totaling 1,730km’s on the saddle and the following day running the world’s ultimate marathon, the Comrades. This epic biathlon will be done in aid of the Amabeadibeadi charities (the collaboration of official Comrades charities).

The UNOGWAJA 2011 was created to commemorate war soldier and Comrades winner Phil Masterton Smith (also known as UNOGWAJA – meaning the hare) who in 1933 could not afford the train fare from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg to take part in the Comrades. He then put himself in the history books by cycling a distance of 1,730km to get to Pietermaritzburg and then raced the Comrades and placed 10th. This ultimate story of passion, will power and triumph is why the UNOGWAJA 2011 was created.

The UNOGWAJA team- John McInroy, Paul Blake, WP van Zyl and Lourens van Zyl were joined through Red Sock Friday, an organization that shares its origin, like Comrades in the aftermath of a World War and is a global community of people who share a common passion for life and positive energy.

“When WP van Zyl shared the story about Phil Masterton-Smith with us we just knew we had to take it on. We got involved with the PinkDrive and realized that doing this for charity would be a perfect fit and in the same breath gave us the motivation we needed” said John McInroy, from redsockfriday

The Amabeadibeadi is collaboration of the five official Comrades charities that all serve to benefit from Comrades and the UNOGWAJA 2011, namely the Community Chest, Wildlands Trust, Sports Trust, PinkDrive and Starfish.

“We were approached by John to get involved and be the official charity for the UNOGWAJA, we felt that this is such a unique and inspirational journey and we should use the opportunity to collaborate with all the other Amabeadibeadi charities. With the support of the Comrades and the five Amabeadibeadi charities the message of UNOGWAJA will now be shared and used to inspire all taking part in the Comrades. ”said Noelene Kotschan from the PinkDrive

“Just as the charities have collaborated, so have the sponsors who each have played an integral role in making the dream of UNOGWAJA come to life. The team has received top of the range bicycles from KTM, running shoes from New Balance and support crew vehicles & fuel from Avis.” Added Kotschan

“The history and traditions that surround the Comrades Marathon are part of what makes Comrades the biggest and the best Ultra Marathon in the world. We are very excited to support this challenge for that benefit our Official Amabeadibeadi Charities, and at the same time retrace a part of the race history. Good luck to all the participants – we applaud them and wish them a safe journey to the start of the Ultimate Human Race .” commented Gary Boshoff CEO of Comrades

The UNOGWAJA team will be running in the colours of the Natal Carbineers, the same colours that Masterton-Smith wore in 1931 when at the age of nineteen became the youngest ever Comrades winner and is the same division that Masterton-Smith died fighting under in the Western Desert in 1942.

Team UNOGWAJA have received training and nutritional guidance from the Sports Science Institute of South Africa who have put their weight behind their efforts and put them on a rigorous exercise and nutritional programme to ensure they are at their physical peak for the challenge.

The journey will start in Cape Town on the 19th of May and the team along with their Avis sponsored support vehicles will visit various towns on route until they arrive in Pietermaritzburg at Comrades House on the 28th May.

“We are doing a callout to the communities in each of the towns that we pass through to come and show us support. We are also going to use this project to uplift these communities by giving local businesses a platform to get involved.” concluded McInroy.

You can sms “redsock” to 40021 to donate R20 to the UNOGWAJA. Alternatively you can also donate into the giant donation can that will be traveling with the team. Corporate companies or individuals can “share” a memory and sponsor a kilometer that the team travels.

Daily video diary updates will be blogged via and

Their Journey will follow the following route:

Wed 18 May:     Cape Town

Thurs 19 May:    Stellenbosch

Fri 20 May:          Montagu

Sat 21 May:         Oudtshoorn

Sun 22 May:       Klipplaat

Mon 23 May:     Cradock

Tues 24 May:     Lady Frere

Wed 25 May:     Maclear

Thurs 26 May:    Kokstad

Fri 27 May:          PMB

Sat 28 May:         Durban

Sun 29 May:       Durban

One Response to “UNOGWAJA 2011 – The cycle journey to Comrades”

  1. renier de bruin Says:

    Is there a 2012 challenge that I can participate in and be part of??
    Renier de bruin

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