Fallen Angels Double Comrades Challenge

16th Jul, 2018

Fallen Angels Pet Rescue, Melkbos, Western Cape, focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of animals.

It is these animals that Ian Martincich hoped to help when, in 2018, he decided to tackle the gruelling 90km Comrades Marathon – not once but twice within 24 hours.

The plan

Ian decided to start his run at 17h30 on Saturday, 9th of June 2017, in Durban and run to the official start in Pietermaritzburg by 05h30, where he would join the throng preparing to start their race. He would then continue to the finish in Durban, aiming for the cut-off at 17h30.

Animals have always been very close to his heart as they cannot speak for themselves and are often neglected and forgotten about; Ian feels it’s up to us as humans to speak up and take care of them.

His goal with the mammoth task was to raise funds and awareness for Fallen Angels Pet Rescue – he had his sights set on R25,000.

Raising awareness and funds

Ian went on Bok Radio 98.9FM and OneFM 94.0FM with Gayl Basson, the co-founder of Fallen Angels Pet Rescue; they also did live TV interviews on Expresso (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZrCehXAfD4 ) and Afternoon Express making people aware of both his run and Fallen Angels – and urging people to donate.

To keep Ian going, PVM Nutrition donated sports bars and energy gels. And there were donations for the animals too: Dog’s Life donated a dog collar for every kilometre completed and Five Star ID donated microchips. Donations of towels, blankets, and even dog beds were donated by members of the public.

To support the cause, Fallen Angels sold (and are still selling) beautiful sterling silver paw print pendant sets.  (https://www.facebook.com/commerce/products/1713511028744629/)

With a little help from your friends 

Early on Thursday morning, Ian and his support team of close friends – Ray Ford, Christopher Boshoff and Kerry Pryde – left Cape Town for the over-1650km journey to Durban, overnighting in freezing-cold Senekal on their way.

As soon as they arrived in Durban, the race preparations began: essential equipment had to be checked, snacks readied, and weary minds rested. They drove the pre-Comrades route so they’d know exactly where to go the following evening.

His support team would be there every step of the way, watching over him and keeping him safe and motivated.

The run begins

Ian had been training from January for this epic journey, which involved running marathons frequently, and, by now, he was used to running on tired legs. But nothing could truly prepare him for the incredible challenge that lay ahead.

On Saturday afternoon he arrived at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, excited to start his epic nighttime run. Many friends and fellow runners greeted him and gave him an amazing send-off.

The first few kilometres were daunting since he had to dodge traffic and minibus taxis in the busy Durban city centre. But once on the open road, he hit his stride and kept up a steady pace, enjoying the feeling of his feet steadily pounding the road.

Unfortunately, something was about to happen which would put the entire challenge in jeopardy.

Disaster strikes

Twenty kilometres into his run, Ian stepped off the pavement onto an unseen slanted stormwater drain grid, rolling his ankle and jarring his entire body. Pain flared into his hip flexor muscle, but it eventually subsided and so he pushed on.

Being the amazing person Ian Martincich is, he forged ahead. His goal was for a greater cause and he was determined to finish, no matter how long it took him. There was no way he would give up now.

Little did he know that the area was steadily swelling and becoming completely numb. His support team, however, noticed that his stride and running style had changed.

Night running – and devastating news

The intrepid animal-lover ran throughout the night with just a headlamp on, passing traffic, people and cows along the way. His support team drove slowly behind him, giving him all that he needed.

Sunday saw him arriving in Pietermaritzburg with some time to spare, and he was eager to change into fresh clothing for the start of the official Comrades Marathon. That’s when he realised that his leg was numb and swollen.

Ian went to one of the Comrades Marathon’s medical teams, thinking that he could just get some medication for it and then get stuck into the next part of his challenge.

But when they examined his leg, he was faced with devastating news: he couldn’t take part in the official race. Not only that, but he had to go straight to hospital where doctors diagnosed him with a massive spasm in his leg.

Ian was absolutely heartbroken. He felt like he’d let everyone down – the many people supporting him and the animals. But the doctors were clear: if he had pushed on and attempted to run the official marathon, he would have done permanent damage.

A hero in our eyes

Ian is an amazing man and has done more good than he could have imagined. The awareness that he raised for Fallen Angels Pet Rescue – and shelter animals everywhere – is invaluable. He also smashed through his goal of R25,000, having raised R32,000.

He’s still a hero in our eyes for running 90 kilometres in the freezing cold and pitch darkness of the lonely KwaZulu-Natal roads for this cause. Just goes to show that one man’s actions can make a huge difference!

Ian has no intention of stopping: he’s already thinking about the next challenge and maybe even attempting the double Comrades again in two years’ time for Fallen Angels Pet Rescue.  

We at Fallen Angels Pet Rescue are truly so grateful that he did this for us. We’re glad that he didn’t permanently injure himself and will be beside him every step of the way for his next challenge (once he has completely healed, of course).

Fallen Angels Pet Rescue – From torn to reborn

Fallen Angels Pet Rescue is a registered NPO (NPO 175-638) focusing on the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of domestic animals.

Their mission is to save and improve the living conditions of animals in their immediate surroundings while maintaining their rehabilitation. This may involve rehoming animals that are unwanted, unloved or lost (focusing on, but not limited to, township animals).

For more information about Fallen Angels Pet Rescue, contact 076 993 9670 or 084 688 7111, email info@fallenangels.org.za, visit https://www.fallenangels.org.za and follow them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FALLENAngelsZA/