David Grier and fellow ultra-distance runner Braam Malherbe ran across the Southern African coastline in 2008. (Image: Cipla Mile for Smiles blog) Adventurer David Grier during training for the 2010 Madagascar Challenge. (Image: Cipla Mile for Smiles) MEDIA CONTACTS • Ros Walsh Media Liaison Cipla Miles for Smiles +27 31 275 9700 or +27 82 920 3398 email@example.com RELATED ARTICLES • South Africa reaches out to Haiti • South African leprosy survivors – no longer outcasts • Help for homeless children • The adventure starts hereBongani NkosiSouth African adventurer David Grier is braving torrential rain, extreme heat and blood-thirsty leeches in a world-first attempt to run the length of Madagascar during monsoon season. His motivation? To make a difference in the lives of children born with cleft lips and palates.Through this epic trek 50-year-old Grier is helping raise money for Operation Smile South Africa, an NGO which pays for affected children, and sometimes even adults, to have corrective surgery so they are able to smile.“This adventure is part of a commitment to make a difference in the lives of children in South Africa and the continent,” Grier said. “We will use the funds raised for children in South Africa and neighbouring countries.”The adventure, known as Madagascar Challenge 2010, is a continuation of the Cipla Miles for Smiles Challenge that saw Grier complete a 4 000km run across the Great Wall of China in 2006 with friend and fellow adventurer Braam Malherbe. The two adventurers also finished a 3 300km run along the Southern African coastline in 2008.But the Madagascar Challenge is by far the most difficult, the ultra long-distance runner said. It combines running, paddling and kite surfing – the latter two being new additions to Grier’s programme.He started his journey on 1 December in Nacala, on the north coast of Mozambique, and paddled 500km over 11 days to reach Majunga in northwest Madagascar. After this he travelled to the island’s southern tip to begin his quest.“I wanted to push the boundaries a bit to capture the imagination of the people following the event to prove that we can achieve what we set out to do,” Grier said of his decision to include paddling and kite surfing. The aim is to “bring awareness to the plight of these children so we can make a difference in their lives”.The public is being urged to make donations through the Miles for Smiles website. Presentations on Grier’s adventure will also be made to businesses in South Africa to generate further funds.More smiles for SAOperation Smile South Africa was set up just before Grier and Malherbe started their run in China in 2006, and has funded operations for more than 1 000 people since.Its first mission in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal province, in November 2006 provided free reconstructive surgery for 57 disadvantaged children and adults. In March 2008 the organisation funded operations for 31 similarly affected people in Swaziland and, by May of the same year, it went to Madagascar to do the same.Braving leeches, swamps and cyclonesIt’s hasn’t been smooth sailing for Grier and his support crew in Madagascar. The first challenge was paddling across the ocean and being hit by storms and a tornado.Running solo, he has covered more than 800km, and is currently passing through mostly rain-drenched forest in central Madagascar. The run itself has not been straightforward, with Grier having to swim across bulging rivers to reach nearby villages to spend the night. The next morning he’s up again to hit the mountains.Of the 800km he’s run, Grier still has “double that to do and more”. Weather permitting, Grier runs more than 40km a day.It’s been raining heavily for seven days in the central villages he’s passing through at the moment. In the north, where he’s headed, there’s the threat of extreme heat and cyclones.“The island is so diverse, the weather changes all the time. Down south is desolate and up to 40 degrees Celsius. In the north it’s going to be hot and then I am going to hit the cyclones. It’s going to get hectic,” he said.Grier’s health was at risk during his earlier days on the island. He fell sick for a month while adjusting to Madagascar’s water and has already lost 8kg. “… Now it’s the leeches and tropical fever that have hit me.”He said he’s very exhausted at the moment and feels like the parasites’ bites are draining his energy.His cameraman and media liaison manager, Nick Heygate, is recovering after being infected by leech bites in the forest. Heygate, who has been severely affected over the past few days, has had to walk about 40km unassisted out of the mountains.Grier had to endure running through deep sand in the south, and now he’s wading through “knee-deep swamp areas and red mud that just never dries”.Although he’s supported by Heygate, Grier doesn’t have enough logistical help “due to the funding difficulty”. Heygate is being assisted by two Malagasy men who’ve provided transport for him through the forests.“This has turned out to be a mammoth solo trip,” Grier said.He hopes to complete the adventure in April and will kite-surf back to South Africa from the Indian Ocean island.Man of many talentsSo what does Grier, the father of four who missed his daughter’s birthday party in December and celebrated his in unknown territory last Saturday, long for back in South Africa?“Just sit and appreciate my family and thank them for what they have had to endure unselfishly in order for me to be given the privilege of going out and making a difference,” he said.He also missed his eldest daughter’s wedding in Austria and said he would have loved spending Christmas and New Year’s Day home. “I will miss my wedding anniversary as well.”Grier is a man of many talents: he’s a celebrity chef, motivational speaker, photographer and published author. He has successfully summited Mount Kilimanjaro and completed numerous ultra-marathons, including the acclaimed Two Oceans Marathon (56km) and Comrades Marathon (90km) in South Africa.
Tickets remain for only seven of the 64 World Cup matches, with the Greece-Ivory Coast game the least popular one so far.Mmore than 2.5 million tickets have been sold for soccer’s premier event. FIFA says the World Cup in Brazil is the most successful tournament in terms of ticket requests.Most matches sold out quickly after tickets became available March 12. Fans have until April 1 to purchase tickets. The next sales phase opens April 15.The Greece-Ivory Coast game is in the northeastern city of Fortaleza. Nigeria-Bosnia and Russia-South Korea, both in the wetlands city of Cuiaba, also have tickets available.Tickets are also available for Uruguay-Costa Rica in Fortaleza, South Korea-Algeria in the southern city of Porto Alegre, Honduras-Switzerland in the jungle city of Manaus and Bosnia-Iran in the northeastern city of Salvador.FIFA doesn’t release specific numbers of tickets for each game, but the matchup between Greece and Ivory Coast on June 24 was the only one with “high availability” in three of the four sales categories.Honduras-Switzerland was the closest to being sold out, with FIFA saying there was “low availability” only in the most expensive category.In this sales stage, tickets were available on a first-come, first-served basis. More than two-thirds of the matches sold out in less than three hours. Tickets for all Brazil matches were gone in about an hour, as were all of the quarterfinals and nearly all second-round matchups in the June 12-July 13 tournament.Tickets were not on sale for the opener between Brazil and Croatia in São Paulo, the final at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, and the semifinals in São Paulo and Belo Horizonte.FIFA said about 295,000 tickets have been sold in this phase. In all, about 3.3 million tickets will be sold for the first World Cup in Brazil since 1950.Nearly 540,000 tickets will be available for pickup beginning in May.TweetPinShare0 Shares
zoom Danish shipping giant Maersk Line has decided to divert vessel calls from the Port of Algeciras due to the planned strikes by Spanish dockworkers.On February 24, Spain approved a royal decree on the port system reform which would enable ports to hire non-unionized stevedores instead of the unionized ones. Such practice would result in massive layoffs in the future.Consequently, the country’s stevedores plan to stage strikes on March 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22 and 24.According to Maersk Line, slow-downs began in all Spanish ports on February 24 and are expected to continue until the strikes start.“These actions will cause a serious impact on cargo flows in and out of Spain and more widely to our global network, especially due to the strategic importance of the port of Algeciras as a major transshipment port for cargo moving to/out of Europe, Africa and many other destinations,” Maersk Line said.The company has developed a contingency plan according to which it would reduce presence in Algeciras during the period of the industrial actions, using alternative ports in Europe and the Mediterranean.Westbound vessels deployed in Maersk Line’s Asia-Europe and Middle East services normally calling Algeciras will be diverted to other facilities in the Mediterranean.Eastbound vessels will for the time being continue to call Algeciras and eastbound transshipment connections will be made there, the company informed.
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) Marine Safety Center (MSC) has received its fifteenth application for type approval for a ballast water management system (BWMS).The HiBallast BWMS has been manufactured by South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).MSC said it will review the application for compliance with USCG regulations. Once it has been determined that the application meets the requirements, the MSC will issue a type approval certificate.The USCG has so far granted a total of seven type approvals for BWMSs to different manufacturers, the most recent being Techcross. News of the approval, the first for a Korean BWMS manufacturer, came during Posidonia 2018 shipping event in Athens.“It took a little longer than we expected, which might be due to USCG having scrutinizing the first application tested by KR. We now have a system approved by both US Coast Guard and the IMO,” Jay Lee, director of sales & promotion for Techcross, said.Apart from HHI, Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and Panasia are among Korean BWTS manufacturers waiting for USCG type approval for their systems, according to information provided by USCG MSC.