Trans Enduro event reaches the big 40

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This Friday (25 November) sees the start of the 40th Exercise Trans Enduro, with Stellenbosch University Military Academy students running, cycling and boating to raise funds for the Masiza community outreach programme.

The Enduro sees nine teams covering land, running, logistics, signals, media, cycling and sea move from Gqeberha in Eastern Cape to Saldanha on the west coast over 10 days. Stops at towns en route involve participants in social impact projects ranging from cleaning streets and neighbourhoods of rubbish to painting school buildings and visiting retirement homes. Trans Enduro 2022 is focussed on senior citizens and early childhood development.

“The exercise is planned and executed by academy students. This develops leadership skills and enhances their understanding of practical issues related to community service. In return, communities are exposed to high calibre young men and women serving in defence of the country,” according to Lieutenant Colonel Morné Booÿjens, Chief Military Instructor (CMI) at the Military Academy and Enduro mentor.

The cycling team rides 50 km a day with the sea team, in a pair of rubber ducks, having to log a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 50 nautical miles daily, and a land team (in vehicles) collects donations from people on towns along the route. The log team is charged with preparations for other teams’ arrival and departure while the last team taking part is a running one, with a daily target of 10 km. Ensuring everyone has their fair share of pleasure and pain sees participants change disciplines at regular points. This ensures all run the gamut of sea, road, communications, rations and logistics.

There are nine local authorities on the route starting with the Eastern Cape harbour city which is home to an air force base, an army support base and a naval station and ending in Saldanha, “home port” as it were to the Academy. Other municipalities where opening/starting ceremonies will happen daily are Kouga (Jeffrey’s Bay), Bitou (Plettenberg Bay), George, Hessequa (Stilbaai), Cape Agulhas (Struisbaai), Overstrand (Hermanus) and Cape Town (Bloubergstrand).

Trans Enduro’s origins can be traced back to 1982 when a group of young officers discovered they had no leave remaining after examinations. They persuaded the Academy Commandant to allow them to undertake an endurance race from Port Elizabeth to Saldanha over ten days using two inflatable rubber boats. And the rest, as the saying goes, is history with the initial effort diversifying and evolving into what it is today.