24 Hour Triathlon


24-hour triathlon created by Cape Town local to support low-income learners

Published by Robyn Simpson on March 17, 2022

Several athletes achieved the near-impossible on Sunday 13 March when they completed an audacious triathlon in the Mother City. Not just any triathlon, but one with a 24-hour timeframe goal and a cause.

In July 2021, 31-year-old Stephan May from Stellenbosch developed the exceptional vision of combining three of Cape Town’s most gruelling challenges into one extreme event. This extraordinary endeavour would involve swimming 8 kilometres from Robben Island to Bloubergstrand, completing the Cape Town Cycle Tour of 109 kilometres directly afterwards, and then tackling the Three Peaks Challenge, a 50-kilometre trail run with a combined elevation of 3 kilometres. Cape Town’s Three Peaks challenge includes summating Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain (Maclear’s Beacon) and Lion’s Head.

In picture: Raoul and Kristine Hamman (husband and wife duo that did the cycle leg on a tandem bike – adorable!)

The aim of completing these challenges in under 24 hours seemed like a superhuman feat but was achieved by the daring athletes who started swimming at 5:30 am on Sunday with the last runner coming in at 2:30 am on Monday.

But first; an 8km swim!

Despite choppy waters, rain, wind and mist, the athletes’ attitude was marked by astonishing perseverance and joy. Severe weather warnings for Table Mountain forced safety officials to make last-minute adjustments to the last leg, with the athletes summiting Devil’s Peak, Platteklip Gorge and Lion’s Head with a total distance of 42 kilometres and a 2.7 kilometre elevation.

In picture: Warren Langridge , Nardus Matthysen , Mpilo Ruka, Ampie Vorster, Alex Zono, Henry Muller

Henry Muller, Warren Langridge, Raoul Hamman and Bruwer Engelbrecht managed to complete all three legs in the timeframe!

In picture (left to right): Ampie Vorster, Alex Zono, Henry Muller, Mpilo Ruka (head boy)

Dubbed Calling Cape Town, this remarkable initiative aims to raise funds for Calling Education, the organisation running Calling Academy in Stellenbosch and Calling Academy in Kroonstad.

These independent, low-fee schools charge a mere R550 per month and bring top-quality education within the grasp of low-income families. Founded in 2018, Calling Academy in Stellenbosch educates 300 high school learners with its first group of matriculants set to complete their school careers this year.

“When it comes to tackling the challenges in South African education, it is a case off all-hands-on-deck,” May remarked. “We love the model by which Calling Education is making excellent schooling available to its learners and we want to create an extraordinary way of telling their story.” For months, friends and colleagues have been rallying around the Calling Cape Town vision, culminating in an incredible show of support from the slopes of Table Mountain.

Cape Town was called and Cape Town came!

Meticulous planning and dedicated training resulted in an enduring personal highlight for the athletes. Mpilo Ruka, head boy of Calling Academy, who joined the adjusted 42 kilometre Three Peaks Challenge, was amazed at the mental strength of the athletes. He described the event as a source of inspiration for anyone facing challenges in life.

Smiles for miles! In picture: Raoul Hamman

Raoul Hamman, deputy principal of Calling Academy Stellenbosch, described the event as “epic” while thanking everyone who supported the school by making this uniquely memorable day possible.

You might not be ready to conquer a swim, summit and cycle, but you can still contribute to this wonderful initiative by backing an athlete or making a direct donation. Chip in or gather more information HERE.

All operating costs related to this event are covered by private donors, sponsors and team members who are contributing towards this project on a philanthropic basis – so your full donation will go to Calling Education in support of educating our youth.

Calling Education is a registered Public Benefit Organisation in South Africa. Tax benefits that accompany donations are available in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada.

Follow the journey: