Memorial run raises $3000 for Gumboot Friday

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Saturday’s heat might have put paid to Shawn Letham’s plan to run 42km but he still has raised about $3000 for the charity Gumboot Friday.

The Edendale man aimed to run 84 laps of the Edendale Rugby Club grounds on Saturday but could only manage 56, which is 28km.

He was running in memory of his friend Sam Brown, who would have celebrated his 42nd birthday in December.

Mr Brown took his own life earlier this year.

Mr Letham said even though he fell short of his goal he still ran further than he had run before.

“I beat my personal best by eight [km] so I’m not disappointed and I’ve raised three grand for the kids.”

He started running at 10am but it did not take him long to feel the heat.

“I was cooked by not even 12 or 13 [km].

“I was fried.”

Even though he was carrying a water pack he struggled to keep himself hydrated.

He decided at the 28km mark, when he had been running for about four hours, to stop rather than put himself through more agony.

Mr Brown used to run ultramarathons and tell him stories of the physical hardship involved in long-distance running, which he did not take seriously, Mr Letham said.

After the event it was almost like he could hear his friend chuckling and saying “ha ha, I told you so”.

He had not been put off by the experience and was already thinking about running an ultramarathon and more fundraising runs.

“It’s made me more determined.”

Mr Letham’s parents Glenda and Murray were at the fundraiser.

The couple said they were very proud of their son.

“He said to me on the phone the other day “one of my silly ideas has actually panned out Mum”‘, his mother said.

Mr Brown had been a good friend to their son, they said.

“He probably saved Shawn’s life more than once,” his father said.