Regrettably, the scheduled Reddam House sports tour to Makhanda (Grahamstown) in the Eastern Cape is unlikely to go ahead this year.
Undeterred, the head of sport, Kyle Baxter, and Cristian Vitali, a sports coach at Reddam, set about organising a virtual run/walk.
This brought the whole school community together to cover the distance of 830km virtually.
Parents, staff and students were invited to participate in this virtual event.
Each day, participants submitted the distance they had run or walked via a shared Google form.
Mr Baxter collated the distance covered and plotted the route on a map.
Hannah Baxter, a history teacher, shared her extensive knowledge of the Eastern Cape on the Google document, by including interesting facts about the towns they passed.
The school community arrived in Makhanda on day three. At this point it was evident that everyone was still raring to go, so the challenge was extended.
The Reddam community continued to Cowan House School in KwaZulu-Natal, going via the small village of Mvezo, where Nelson Mandela was born.
From the KZN midlands the challenge was to reach Bloemfontein and then head back to Somerset West.
Two days of this leg of the route were dedicated to an Inter-House Cross Country challenge, which was won by Lowry/Simonsberg houses.
To keep everyone motivated and encouraged, Mr Baxter and Mr Vitali made contact with some high profile celebrities in the sports world.
The school received videos of encouragement and shout-outs from the likes of Ryan Sandes, local and international trail runner; David Miller, Proteas cricketer; Sarah ‘Seri’ Harris, Reddam House alumnus and South African water polo player and coach; Senuran Muthusamy, Hollywood Dolphins cricketer; Vincent Koch, Springbok rugby player; Kerry McGregor, international super model; Sintu Manjezi, Cheetahs rugby player; JP Duminy, former Proteas cricketer; Shelley Russell, South African women’s field hockey player; Jon-Jon Smuts, Proteas cricketer; Chris van Zyl, Stormers rugby player; and Ruan Pienaar, former Springbok rugby player.
After 17 days on the road, the school community finally arrived back at Reddam House Somerset, having completed a mammoth 3145km; welcomed by none other than Comrades legend, Bruce Fordyce.
Virtual medals (gold, silver and bronze) were awarded to participants at the end of the run/walk challenge to recognise everyone’s efforts.
Danielle Heyes was awarded a silver medal (45km to 60km covered), and John Bubb, Hope Bubb, Jed Edmond, Cale Barnfarther were awarded gold medals (60km+ covered).
Thirteen pupils were awarded bronze medals (25km to 45km).
Janine Tessendorf, head of Reddam House, had this to say: “I have come to realise that in a time of crisis, you can either bury your head in the sand, or you can confront the problem head on and make the most of it.
“I believe the staff at Reddam House have done the latter brilliantly. From embracing online teaching; to setting and invigilating online examinations; to creating new report formats and creating virtual sporting challenges – my staff have been incredible.”