Barefoot Comrades: Runner will

Image: Supplied

Barefoot Comrades: Runner will show some ‘sole’ to build homeless shelter

Graham Wells will take on a virtual Comrades marathon barefoot to raise funds for the growing homeless population in Pietermaritzburg.

Barefoot Comrades: Runner will

Image: Supplied

On 13 June 2021, Graham Wells (44), from Pelham in Pietermaritzburg, will take on his seventh Comrades Marathon…barefoot.

Graham Wells Making a difference

Running barefoot from Mooi River to Town Hill, Graham will dedicate his 90km virtual challenge to the plight of the growing homeless population in Pietermaritzburg.

“I’m a firm believer that running medals don’t mean anything unless you have made a difference for someone else,” he said.

Partnering with One Life Foundation, Graham has launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy called Run for a roof, to raise R250 000 towards the estimated R1 million needed to fund a much needed homeless shelter in the area.

“Whilst out training in the freezing cold mornings, I am always struck by the number of homeless in our city. As we complain about the weather getting colder, imagine what it must get like living on the street, in a park or on a field. These are normal people, like you and I, and for whatever reason, have found themselves in a difficult situation and, consequently, homeless,” Graham said.

According to an estimate by the Human Sciences Resource Center, South Africa is home to approximately 200 000 homeless people. Graham wants to help and has raised over R26 000 with kind contributions from 13 donors since the launch of his campaign.

Running for a roof and more

Funds raised will not only cover the cost to build the housing structure but also provide the homeless with the appropriate rehabilitation services to re-build their own lives.

Having worked in social housing in the United Kingdom, helping the homeless has always been close to Graham’s heart.

“I have a dream to see a safe, friendly, people-centred shelter, in Pietermaritzburg, where people of any race or background can be welcomed and empowered to make something better of themselves. By coming together to fund this project we have an opportunity to change the face of homelessness in our City and restore dignity to those society has left behind. Everyone deserves kindness and a second chance,” he said.

Image: Supplied