The enormous strain that he had put his body through during the week barely showed on his delighted face as he was met by his family, friends and a glittering “Welcome Home” sign in the twilight.
The first event was held in South Africa, in and around the town of Wellington, just outside Cape Town, on Monday, 27 June. The date was of personal significance to Rehan because it was the day a year ago that his dad, Frikkie, passed away. The day started before sunrise with a freezing 3.8km swim in the dam at the Bosman Family Vineyard, followed by a 180km cycle and then a 42.2km run, ending at the church where Frikkie started and ended his career.
The team was up early again on Tuesday morning to set off at midday for Uganda and the second triathlon. But, not without a stop in Khayelitsha first to meet some of the children that ForAfrika supports in this informal settlement on the outskirts of the city.
They only arrived in Kisoro, south-western Uganda, at about 8am on Wednesday morning and headed straight from their tiny chartered plane to Lake Mutanda for Rehan’s swim.
The second triathlon was the most arduous of the three – unfamiliar, hilly territory and unfamiliar gear, including a borrowed bicycle with cleats that broke en route! The marathon only ended after 2am on Thursday and the team just managed a quick shower and three hours’ sleep before trekking off to the refugee centre to see ForAfrika in action there.
“The visit to the refugee centre was a highlight,” said Rehan, adding that it was incredibly sad to see so many children without their parents.
“But it was also wonderful to see how many refugees volunteer at the camp,” said Carel Meganck, ForAfrika’s general manager in the UK.
“Uganda was very different and we had to improvise a lot, but it was beautiful terrain and we even went through parts of the forest where gorillas live,” he said. “The ForAfrika team was very encouraging and passionate, cheering Rehan on the whole way without losing a drop of enthusiasm on what turned out to be a very long haul.”
One volunteer Mike Kisegerwa, who happens to be a celebrated cyclist in Uganda, accompanied Rehan for the whole 180km cycle.