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A purpose behind every pedal stroke

2020-04-02

The Absa Cape Epic, which takes place in South Africa's Western Cape, has a longstanding history of giving back to the communities through which the race passes. These communities are often far removed from greater towns and cities, meaning that they lack infrastructure and, often, basic healthcare and educational services. 

In 2018, the Absa Cape Epic partnered with GivenGain to allow riders to either raise funds for an official Absa Cape Epic charity or create a campaign of their own and raise funds for a foundation close to their hearts. GivenGain is an online platform that began in 2001 with the following simple idea: to massively boost non-profits' fundraising potential by giving them the tools to empower their supporters to fundraise on their behalf.

The 2018 Absa Cape Epic saw riders tackle 658 kilometres and 13 530 metres of climbing between the slopes of Table Mountain National Park and the Grand Finale at Val de Vie Estate. For 15 fundraisers, these 658 kilometres were the final steps in their fundraising race. In total, the 15 riders who were pedalling for a purpose beyond the cherished finisher medal raised R344 381 for 11 respective charities. Pieter du Preez topped the list as most-charitable as he managed to raise R105 160 in support of CANSA Active; following close behind was Robert Kehoe who raised just shy of R90 000 in support of the Anna Foundation; third place was Nicky Webb and the R50 000 raised for CANSA Active.

With 2018 being an incredible opening year for the partnerships between the event and GivenGain, there were large-scale expectations set ahead of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic.

These expectations were not just met, they were blown away. 24 fundraisers signed up to participate and throughout the build-up to the event and the eight days of racing, R702 741 was raised for 17 different charities. A quick calculation equates to an increase in 204% from the inaugural year of the partnership. Topping the list yet again was Pieter du Preez, although in 2019 he had partnered with Denzyl O'Donoghue and the pair raised R237 677 for CANSA Active. CANSA Active further benefitted from the efforts of Ettiene and Jacques who raised an additional R86 300 for the cancer-related charity. If you had visited any of the spectator points during the 2019 event, you may have seen two riders tackling the elements in black and white spotted cow suits - they are Warwick and Wayne who became affectionately known as the Epic Cows and they managed to raise R83 501 in support of CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA.

2020 was shaping up to be an even more impressive year for fundraising as 59 fundraisers had signed up and pledged their commitment to pedalling for a purpose before and during the 2020 Absa Cape Epic. Sadly, on 13 March 2020, the 2020 Absa Cape Epic was cancelled due to global COVID-19 pandemic so the fundraisers and the other 1283 registered riders were unable to race the 647 kilometres than had been meticulously planned for the 2020 event. 

At this point, with just two days to go before the 2020 race was set to start, the 59 riders had already raised R792 197 in support of 34 charities!

CANSA Active was once again at the top of the list as the most supported charity thanks to Bannister Erasmus’ incredible efforts which saw him raise R140 100. Erin Bargate, riding in support of Qhubeka Charity tallied up a total of R113 484, and Dirk and Ole raised a further R99 822 for CANSA Active.

Aside from the riders raising R1 839 319 over the past three years through the official GivenGain platform, the Absa Cape Epic has been running a charity initiative since 2011 and a total of R24 million has been raised to date, excluding what was raised ahead of the 2020 event. This has been achieved in many ways, but one of the most successful manners has been through the charities selling their allocation of reserved Absa Cape Epic entries at a premium. The funds left over after covering the cost of the entry then belong to the charity and are used fund the various initiatives that the charities run.

“The charity element of the Absa Cape Epic is something that often goes unappreciated by the general public, but the funds and awareness raised by the riders and the organisation is truly lifechanging for those individuals, organisations, and communities that reap the rewards of the fundraising efforts. While the partnership with GivenGain has only been in existence for the past three years, the fact that it is growing in leaps and bounds is testament to the type of people who are riding the Absa Cape Epic; I hope to see this positive growth curve extend as we look ahead and begin planning for the 2021 Absa Cape Epic” said Marc Erasmus, Account Manager at the Absa Cape Epic.

With sights set on the 2021 Absa Cape Epic, we've set a goal of raising R1 million in funds for the official charities. If you have your heart set on racing The Race That Measures All, why not pedal for a purpose and raise funds for one of the Absa Cape Epic’s official charities like the Anna Foundation, Cape Leopard Trust, CANSA Active, IRONMAN Foundation, Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, Qhubeka, or a charity of your choosing?

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