Ultra marathon runner Dean Wight is no stranger to crossing the finish line at the Comrades Marathon, in fact he’s done it 27 times.
But this year was extra special.
Wight was able to raise more than R280 000 for a charitable cause. According to the Comrades Marathon charity leader board, Wight has raised the most money for charity.
“Some people run for personal endeavours… but to also run for a cause or a charity makes it worthwhile,” Wight told News24.
His love for running started in 1979, as an 11-year-old boy.
He was inspired to take up running after finding out that his grandfather also enjoyed the sport and signed up for his first Comrades in 1988 when he was only 19.
The rest is history.
Wight partnered with the Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust (HACT) as one of their ambassadors. HACT is one of six official Comrades Marathon charities.
“[I chose HACT] because they are the only local charity. And I would never be able to give back to a charity that isn’t local, because I need to be here to meet with the people and understand who I am raising money for.”
HACT was started in 1990 in response to the emerging HIV/Aids pandemic.
The organisation offers prevention and treatment programmes, as well as a 24-bed respite unit. HACT’s geographical focus is the Valley of a Thousand Hills in KwaZulu-Natal and surrounding areas.
“Hillcrest Aids Centre is a registered NPO. While we do what we can to maintain some form of economic sustainability, we rely very heavily on donations and grants from those who support us,” CEO Candace Davidson told News24.
Davidson said Wight was “phenomenal” and that his contributions would go a long way. Wight initially committed to raising R100 000, but he quickly surpassed his target and upped the ante to R200 000.
Wight is part of a group of 73 runners who ran the race on behalf of HACT. Collectively they have raised close to R600 000 for the organisation.