Two South Africans are running the entire London Underground train network above ground from station to station (an estimated distance of 500km) to help fund the war against rhino poaching.
Two South African expats living in London have undertaken the challenge to run the entire London Underground by the end of 2016 to help fund the war against Rhino poaching.
They have teamed up with 12Hours, which is a registered South African NPO in South Africa, to raise money for Rhino conservation projects. The two founders of this challenge are Duncan Deane and Jonathan Kershaw.
Duncan (29) hails from Carletonville and has been working as an IT project manager in London for the last 2 years. Jonathan (32) is from Benoni and has been living in London for last 5 years working in the Logistics industry.
Their paths crossed last year during the 2015 Rugby World Cup and have since become great friends and fitness buddies. They decided to start a unique challenge that will help them to not only work on their fitness goals but more importantly to provide a platform that will help them raise awareness for the Rhino poaching problem in Southern Africa.
The idea of this challenge is to run the entire London Underground train network above ground from station to station in the direction that train would travel. That will be a total of 270 stations across 11 lines and an estimated distance of 500 km.
The distance is calculated as the shortest route from station to station. They mostly run on weekends and divide the map into different sections of between 5km and 15km. They also invite anyone to join them.
The London Underground opened in the 1860s and is the world’s oldest metro system. It has expanded over the last century and to date there are 4 million passenger journeys every day. Totalling at about 1.3 billion a year. Duncan came up with idea for running the London Underground a few years ago.
“I was a newbie in London and was getting used to not having a car and travelling by train. I was fascinated by the Tube’s (London Underground) sheer size and by how many people depend on it for commuting to work every day. The problem is that if you are new to a city like London and you spend every day travelling underground, you never get to see the real London (non-touristy stuff).
“You also don’t realise how close some of the stations are to each other. This was my motivation. I wanted to see what I was missing out on by travelling to work on the underground everyday.”
Initially they only did it for fun. They started a Facebook page and got going with the challenge. A few weeks into it, they realised that due to the popularity and good feedback they could actually create awareness for the rhino poaching problem in South Africa.
They teamed up with 12Hours and have set their initial target at £2000 (with the expectation that they could increase this target). The name 12Hours is quite affective as it indicates that a Rhino is killed every 12 hours in South Africa. The charity focusses on supporting specific projects where funding is needed. Examples of these include and not limited to setting up a DNA database, horn treatment and poisoning, anti-poaching intelligence, education and sniffer dogs.
“The reason for choosing a rhino charity was quite simple. If you look at the numbers, it is quite clear that if we don’t pump enough resources into saving the rhino, there will be no rhinos left. According to savetherhino.org approximately 20 000 White and 5000 Black Rhinos remain in the wild in Africa.
“It is very scary if you sit down and think about it for a while. If we could make a small difference both in the UK and in South Africa, we will be very happy.”
The charity drive has started picking up momentum. People can donate in Rands or in Pounds via their JustGiving page. Run the London Underground have also secured their first sponsor, GJ’s Wandsworth, a South African owned pub in London.
“GJ’s has committed to donate £1 for every kilometre that we run. We are also hosting a ‘Braai for Rhino’ fundraiser event at GJ’s where all proceeds of the £5 entry charge will be donated to our cause.”
For more information regarding this challenge, visit their pages:
Supported Charity: www.12hours.co.za