Blood, Sweat and Gears: 9in9in9

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When ultra-distance runner Simon Gear and his running partners, Paula Quinsee and Eric Wiebols, set out to complete nine marathons, in nine provinces in nine weeks as part of the 9in9in9 venture to raise money for Starfish Greathearts Foundation, Avis will be with them every step of the way – providing much-needed transport and logistical support.

9in9in9 is aimed at creating awareness and support for the Starfish Greathearts Foundation, an international development charity that brings life, hope and opportunity to orphaned and vulnerable children in South Africa. The 9in9in9 venture will tie in specifically with the organisation’s 2012 Comrades fundraising campaign.

The three runners set off with their first run – the 42km Ottosdal marathon in the North West province – with the ambitious goal of raising R1-million for Starfish. The following nine weeks will see them testing their endurance in marathons in the Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Northern and Western Cape, and finally Mpumalanga.

A committed Greathearts ambassador, Gear says the project would not have been possible without the generous support of Avis. “This is a fantastic opportunity for me to bring together my passion for Greathearts and realising a long-time dream to run nine marathons, in nine provinces over a nine-week period,” he says.

The three runners have spent quite some time preparing for this immense challenge. “We feel well prepared, excited and obviously quite nervous, but we are very motivated by the goal we have set out to achieve,” he says.

Avis chief executive, Wayne Duvenage, says Avis is delighted to support Simon Gear and his team in this worthy cause. “We look forward to supporting all three runners in their efforts to raise funds for the Starfish Greathearts Foundation,” he says.

For more information, visit the Greathearts Facebook page and find out how you can support this incredible initiative, follow the team’s progress and receive blog updates: http://www.facebook.com/starfishcharity

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