Former Boksburg man takes on 31-day treadmill challenge for J9 Foundation

Morné Basson will be taking on a treadmill challenge where he will be running every day for 31 consecutive days to raise awareness for the J9 Foundation and people suffering from motor neuron disease (MND).

Former Boksburg resident Morné Basson (42) will be kicking off his #31marathons31days treadmill challenge at GOHealth Club in Fairlands, on September 28, at 6am.

The sole purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness and fund-raising for the J9 Foundation and people suffering from motor neuron disease (MND).

He will be doing the rest of the marathons in Gauteng at various shopping malls, of which the East Rand Mall is one.

Morné Basson with the late Joost van der Westhuizen.

There is no time limit, but he will probably run between four and five hours per marathon.

Morné played scrumhalf at school for the first team and Joost van der Westhuizen, former Blue Bulls and Springbok scrumhalf, was his idol.

Joost died on February 6 after a long battle with MND.

Morné, who now lives in Randburg, has had a passion for sport all his life.

Apart fromplaying rugby, he started running after school and loves playing tennis. He has also run the Comrades Marathon a few times.

When it comes to watching sport, he enjoys a good game of cricket.

Morné Basson in training.

In 2015, Morné entered the Comrades Marathon again. However, he was working on board a luxury cruise ship as spa director at the time and his contract was extended.

Morné was stuck in Ketchikan, Alaska, at the time of the race, so he decided to run the ‘race’ on board the luxury Celebrity Soulstice on the same day as the actual event in Durban.

“It was a challenge running 90km on a treadmill without getting off once,” said Morné.

He has dedicated that event to the J9 Foundation and people suffering from MND.

Last year December, at the SA Rugby Museum at the V&A Waterfront, in Cape Town, Morné did a 160km treadmill challenge for the same cause.

Morné will be running a competition where a lucky winner can win a brand-new Toyota C-HR worth R318 000. Tickets to the lucky draw costs R200 per ticket and only 5 500 tickets are available.

He met Joost for the first time in 2011 at the launch of the J9 Foundation and, since 2015, he visited him often at his home and got very close to the J9 team.

“Pieter van der Westhuizen, Joost’s brother, is one of the most humble and amazing people I have ever met,” said Morné.

“I have the world of respect for him in the way he looked after his brother and how he cares about people with MND.”

It’s Morné’s passion too, to help others.

“There are many people/companies doing things for cancer, Aids, diabetes and other diseases, and that is great because it is needed – however, nobody is doing anything for MND,” he explained.

“I am not trying to break any records with this event. I am committed to creating awareness of MND and the J9 Foundation.”

He is actively involved – purely for the love of it – with the J9 Foundation beneficiaries and often goes out to visit some of the patients with MND.

A family member of his also died of MND many years ago.

Training for the challenge, Morné has a very simple eating routine and motto: never eat on an empty stomach.

And no, he is not joking.

“You can pretty much eat as much as you like, as long as you can burn whatever you eat – no more, no less,” said Morné.

“In my opinion, people tend to make nutrition way to complicated. But yes, I do eat often and am actually trying my best to gain a bit of weight at the moment.

“During the event I will lose some weight. The next 45 days thereafter will be very hard. Recovery between training sessions is just as important.”

Morné is very fortunate that GOHealth offers him free gym membership and he does a lot of running on their treadmills.

“I believe in core stability exercises with own body weight. Looking after your feet is probably the most important part of my training,” he said.

“I do PediBall exercises daily to improve circulation in my feet and legs, as well as keeping my ‘wheel alignment’ in place.”

Morné is the only one who will be doing the challenge. However, on September 30 there will be a public/corporate challenge at GOHealth Clubs in Sandton, Fairlands, Northview, Cape Town and Durban.

Teams are invited to run a combined marathon with Morné as a relay, covering 42.2km.

Funds raised on this day will go towards the J9 Foundation and MND patients.

Contact him for more information and how to get involved on [email protected] or 072 726 9528.

“Awareness is very important, however, funds are desperately needed to keep the J9 Foundation sustainable to continue Joost’s legacy in helping people with MND,” said Morné.

This event is very much about fund-raising. As part of this event, Morné will be running a competition where a lucky winner can win a brand-new Toyota C-HR worth R318 000.

Tickets to the lucky draw costs R200 per ticket and only 5 500 tickets are available.

To enter, email Morné for more information or send a WhatsApp or SMS to his telephone number and instructions will be sent to you.

All proceeds to go to the J9 Foundation.

For Morné, this was never about Joost, “even though I have so much respect for Joost and how he dealt with this disease and the cards he was dealt.

“He was a real windgat, but the way he stood up to face his challenges, his mistakes, the way he gave his life to God, and his fighting spirit right to the end (is just) awesome.

“I do this for every MND patient out there, for their caretakers, their families and loved ones. This is the most horrible disease ever for which there is currently no cure.

“Patients become prisoners in their own bodies, yet their mind doesn’t get affected at all.

“The average medical cost per patient is over R200 000 per year and medical aids and most insurance companies do not cover it or see it as a dreaded disease.”

If anyone wants to donate or get involved in any way, whether it is funding, food, mobility equipment donations or any other supplies, contact Morné.

He encourages everyone to visit

Like Morné’s Facebook page, MND 31 Marathon Treadmill Challenge, for updated details.

Ischke de Jager

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