When a species reaches a decline rate of 80% over the last 50 years, someone should take note and do something about it! That someone has come in the form of a 35 year old, super energetic and inspirational man, by the name of Dave Chamberlain.
Alison and Dave with Heinrich, Glenda and Johan from Gansbaai Tourism
He is aiming to run 2 700km from Walvis Bay, in Namibia, all along the coast to St. Croix Island in Port Elizabeth. Averaging approximately 28km per run, he will reach this goal in a total of 95 days. The route Dave follows will take him along the historical breeding range of the African Penguin, and he will be passing the last few existing colonies on this adventure.
“African Penguins are facing extinction, some believe this could happen in the next 15 years. I run to create awareness of the plight of this species.” Says Dave as he pushes his 3 wheeled pram out of the road.
He uses this to carry all of his equipment, a tent, sleeping bag, food and water. This has apparently caused quite some ruckus along the way, some people stopping next to him, ready to give him a mouth full for running in the extreme heat, in far off places, with a baby! Dave’s travels have been closely watched by all who have an interest in sea birds. Having the same concerns in regards to the conservation of African Penguins always meant that he would meet with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, who endeavor to protect the largest surviving colonies of this endangered species.
The Dyer Island Conservation Trust, in conjunction with Gansbaai Tourism, sponsored Dave’s travels from Stanford to Gansbaai on Thursday 3rd January 2013. After staying over at the Hochfeldens in Stanford on the 2nd, he was met by a very keen Alison Towner, Senior Biologist for the Dyer Island Conservation Trust. She was going to be his running partner for the trip between Stanford and Gansbaai. They were going to start their run at 08h00, but unfortunately weather condition weren’t favorable, and they eventually managed to hit the road by 14h00.
A welcome surprise was two watering points held at intervals on the run to Gansbaai, offering Dave and Alison some cold refreshments (courtesy of Gansbaai Tourism) on the run.
The Dyer Island Conservation Trusts Marine Volunteers lent a helping hand with the set up and cheered the runners along on this leg of the run.
Gansbaai Tourism organized a welcoming party at the entrance to Gansbaai, where they were greeted after finishing the 19km run in just over 2 hours. Alison looked normal for someone who had run such a vast distance, sweaty and tired. Dave, on the other hand, looked as if he hadn’t run at all! His fitness levels showing after having completed approximately 1 800km already.
They ended their days run at the Gansbaai Info Bureau, where they were greeted by Gansbaai Toursim Association Chairman, Johan Pieterse , staff member Heinrich Jansen and Manager Glenda Kitley. Also present was Hardus Botha from the Gansbaai Courant, who handed over the first 2013 edition of the Gansbaai Courant to Dave as a memento of his visit to Gansbaai. Welcome refreshments were organized and sponsored by Gansbaai Tourism, who takes a keen interest in supporting conservation efforts surrounding our marine environment.
Wilfred Chivell, Chairman of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, kindly provided accommodation for Dave, where he enjoyed a relaxing evening with staff and volunteers from the DICT.
The next leg of Dave’s journey started 10h00 in Gansbaai. Alison enjoyed yesterdays run so much that she decided to join Dave and Attie to Pearly Beach on the next 21km’s. After having breakfast at the Great White House with Wilfred, the DICT team escorted Dave, Alison and Attie to the four way stop in Gansbaai and waved them goodbye as they headed west.
Dave jokes that this 2 700km run is actually just a warm up for what is to come – a ‘jog’ across Canada. He will be raising funds for WWF’s Penguin, Rhino and Polar Bear projects. The run will start on the 26th March 2013 in St. John’s, Newfoundland, covering a vast distance of 8 500km, hopefully ending on the 31st December 2013 in Victoria on Vancouver Island.