A NELSON Mandela Metropolitan University professor and 15-time Comrades Marathon finisher has decided to contribute sponsorships from his last run in the event to his former high school.
Sylvan Blignaut, 52, is a super athlete. Having started running in Two Oceans and Comrades marathons in 1995, this professor in the faculty of education has been attached to more than 30 different marathons around South Africa to date.
Now – facing his 16th Comrades Marathon on Sunday – he has decided to wind down his running career. But not before giving something back, he says. Ahead of the ultra-marathon, which starts in Pietermaritzburg early on Sunday, Blignaut spoke about his attachment to Gelvandale High School, and his motivations for donating his proceeds to the school.
He said: "I just wanted to give back, obviously, but I guess it was kind of by chance. I bumped into one of my old teachers. He told me about the school’s 50th anniversary and everything they were doing for it. Unfortunately, I could not attend when he invited me. About two weeks ago, though, I suddenly had this inspiration to get involved.”
Blignaut has been accepting donations and sponsorships ahead of this weekend’s Comrades event – the proceeds of which will be given to his alma mater.
School teacher Mervyn Blouw expressed his gratitude at having his former pupil return to benefit the school.
"We are all happy about it – it is going to be such a boost to this year’s celebrations.”
Readers interested in making sponsorships of Blignaut’s race can use the following banking details:
Capitec Bank, in the name of Sylvan Blignaut; account number: 1314722644; branch code: 470010.