Three questions with Maqhwe Mfula founder Mike Hay
Why the name choice?
The name Maqhwe Mfula, loosely translated, means Heroes of the River – Amaqhwe means warriors and Iqhawe heroes. So I tried to give the race a trendy name to get my point across. The Heroes part of the name came about as an idea that just by taking on the adventure that the valley provides and by completing the race you also become a type of hero, and sometimes without knowing it, you become a hero to others. I take Eric Zondi as an example, he is a hero to so many of the valley kids and he serves as inspiration to the many underprivileged children in that area valley. So I wanted the race name to have a direct relation to every person involved in the race to be a hero and that is how we tied in with the Future Life Foundation where we have pledge to help give back to the community by investing some resources to help certain crèches in the valley. We also want to have a feeding scheme for the young children and the hard-working gogos(grannies) who give so freely of their time to these kids (when you in the valley you see these amazing old ladies working harder than some young men I know) and I really want to help them in nutritional way,
Actually writing this gives me goosebumps on how much we can help in the valley and do so by doing the things we love – the Dusi valley is home to so many wonderful people who are always smiling and it’s the number one reason I spend most of my weekends down there – exploring.
What is your background and how did that shape your motivation to start the event?
I studied at Stellenbosch and have been working as a Civil Engineer for Aveng Grinaker LTA. I absolutely love my job but there is a side of me that has a passion for outdoors and adventure. I have been paddling for over 10 years and will complete my 10th Dusi in 2016. I have also completed many mountain bike races and trail runs and can’t wait for the next adventure event! Two events stand out as my most memorable adventure races and that is the three-day Wild Coast Wildrun and my very first Dusi Canoe Marathon. Both have shaped me into the person I am today. My motivation to start this event was born out of my love for the valley and its people as well as my love for adventure and I want to share that with as many sport loving people out there. I have also been most fortunate to have my dad’s support, backing and encouragement in all my endeavours and have an unbiased opinion that he is quite possibly the worlds best second!
Also if you see it as taking over the reins from Triple Challenge, or should TC come back, as a complementary event?
Max Cluer had a great idea in growing The Triple Challenge, which is an awesome event and one I absolutely loved competing in. I would have no problem were it to come back in the future. I think if the race in the valley can help promote the locals, then let’s introduce as many people to this hidden gem along the Umngeni River. From a business perspective, if there are two races on the calendar that have the same elements, it’s the athletes that benefit the most as the race directors will have to add new features and components to distinguish their race from the other. I love competition, so I look forward to many races coming into the Valley, as long as they come in for the right reasons; which is to ensure the happiness and safety of all competitors!
Running, mountain biking, paddling, SUP boarding.
If the great outdoors, adventure, and pushing your personal limits are what makes your life shine, you’ll be on Cloud 9 at the first Maqhwe Mfula on Sunday 8 November 2015.
If you do the multisport event, you’ll take in a stunning 25km trail run along the Umsunduzi River, then mountain bike 55km through the lovely, yet challenging Valley of 1000 Hills, and finish with a body-sapping paddle across Inanda Dam, to finish like the Legend you are!
But if you prefer to just run, bike or paddle, there are options.
Overall, there are five exciting options available, to cater for multisporters, duathletes, trail runners, mountain bikers, and SUP paddlers.
More on the event here
Event website maqhwemfula.co.za.