Next week (22 May) 140 runners from across the country will gather at the Wild Coast Sun for the start of the 2024 PONDO Trail.  Their goal: to complete the 103km run (either in a one day ULTRA or three-day COASTER) and raise funds to support the Pondoland Conservation Trust and provide surgery to children with clefts through the Cipla Miles for Smiles Initiative.

Presented by Wild Child Africa whose ethos is giving back to the communities through which they traverse, the PONDO Trail Run is dedicated to raising funds while offering an incredible running experience in this exquisite part of the Eastern Cape.

Miles for Smiles

One of this year’s runners is Paul Miller, CEO of Cipla South Africa, who will be part of the Miles for Smiles COASTER team.

“At Cipla we don’t have a strategy, we have a cause. We don’t have a vision statement, we have vision. So, we’re excited to join forces with Wild Child Africa to help ensure a future that’s focused on the well-being of people and our beautiful planet,” he said.

Joining him is long-standing Operation Smile volunteer paediatrician, Dr Hedi van der Watt who, together with her partner Dean Dicks, has raised over R25 000 for Operation Smile.

“What makes the run unique is that it has a purpose.  We are running for a cause that we believe in and the power to transform someone’s life forever,” said Hedi and Dean.

Commitment to environmental stewardship

Proudly South African lifestyle brand Sealand shares Wild Child Africa’s commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility:

“Conservation of our natural playgrounds lies at the heart of our brand’s mission, and finding a partner who not only understands, but actively supports this vision, is truly exhilarating. Together, we can achieve far more than we ever could alone,” says Sealand CEO, Adrian Hewlett.

Celebrated local brewing company, Devil’s Peak, will provide participants with ice-cold beer to celebrate their remarkable achievements on the trail.

“This is a truly unique experience. We celebrate the passion and love that Wild Child Africa has for this part of our country and we recognise their efforts to conserve its untouched beauty. The participants embark on a life-changing, unforgettable adventure and we are proud to be associated with this incredible event”.

Pondo Trail beneficiaries

Pondo Trail Run Gift of Warmth

This year’s event, in partnership with The Wild Coast Sun, is also launching the PONDO Trail Run “Gift of Warmth” initiative. As the colder winter months approach, participants will be encouraged to donate warm children’s clothes and blankets. These donations will be hand delivered by runners along the trail, allowing them to spread warmth and compassion to children in need.

As stewards of this remarkable coastline, we are committed to creating meaningful experiences for our guests while enriching the lives of local communities and preserving the natural beauty of Pondoland for generations to come. This event will leave a lasting legacy of warmth and compassion in its wake,” said Peter Tshidi, Wild Coast Sun General Manager.

The 2024 PONDO Trail Run promises to be an unforgettable journey, filled with challenges, triumphs, purpose, and moments of inspiration.

“We are thrilled to once again invite runners to join us for the PONDO Trail Run, where adventure meets purpose,” said Matt Botha, founder of Wild Child Africa. “Together with our sponsors, participants, and partners, we are not only exploring the wonders of Pondoland, but also making a tangible difference in the lives of others.

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