Previous Posts Found Here

Friday, June 07, 2013

Because of you...

Because of you, the following products will be made available to some of the most needy people of Africa:

Potatoes 
Carrots 
Maize
Beans 
Fruit 
Peanut Butter 
Soup 
Onions 
Rice 
Sugar 
Cooking Oil 
Marmalade 
Bread
Meat
Milk
Hygiene Products

Because of you, the quality of life will be better for several vulnerable people of this world. 

Because of you, 3 families of 4 people each, will have food security for entire year.   

Because of you, 12 people will no longer have to wonder where their next meal will come from. 

Because of you, dignity is restored to the lives of many.

Because of you, I am a changed man. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting up with my emails, my blogs and my constant plea for your support. It's humbled me beyond belief to see what a united group of people can achieve. 

Thank you. 

Be Blessed. 

Derek

Monday, June 03, 2013

I did it!

What a journey. What an accomplishment. What a day! 

These sentences keep coming back to me in my head. I am over the moon now that this day is over. 

It was single-handedly the hardest thing I have ever done. It was hot (temperature measured 39 degrees Celsius/ 102 degrees Fahrenheit) at times along the route. The wind was a 25-35 km/h head wind at times (just as the weatherman predicted) and the route was just as uphill and exhausting as feared. 

People bailed like you wouldn't believe. Going down in mass, giving in to the heat. Suffering from exhaustion and dehydration. A doctor working the route told us that he had never witnessed, in his 29 years of working the event, this many people visiting the medic tents and seeking medical attention. 

25% of the entrants who started the race this year did not finish. Wow! That's over four thousand people.

But I powered through, I accomplished my goal in 11 Hours, 18 minutes. Here are a few pics and videos of the day. I will post more when I can. 

Thank you for your support through this journey. What an amazing experience it has been. 



At the Comrades Marathon House the day before the race.


At the starting line at 5:30 am

Crowds at the finish line

Rounding the finish lane

So close

I did it!
Derek Van Dam

Thursday, May 30, 2013

eNCA/e.TV Press Release ahead of Sunday's Race

It's T-10 hours before the start of the race. Trying to remain as calm as possible. Here's a cool press release that was issued by my TV station. So wonderful to get support from e.TV & eNCA like this. 
 
Lots of thoughts, prayers and support from my friends and family around the world. I wouldn't be able to do this without you. 

Thank you. This journey has truly been incredible. 

I'll send a message during my 12 hour run tomorrow. Take care. 

Derek 

ePress Release
eNCA

Media Release


Derek Van Dam takes part in the Durban Comrade Marathon to raise funds for charity 

TX: Wednesday, 29 May 2013
eNCA's Chief Meteorologist and Head of the Weather Department, Derek van Dam, will be participating in the 89 km long comrades ultra-marathon on Sunday, June 02 to raise funds for charity.
Derek, who is a sports fanatic, will run the comrades marathon with the aim to raise money for The Compassion Life Foundation.  He sits on the board of the Foundation as a director and has been a staunch supporter of their Feed-a-Family project for 7years
“It will be a great honour to be able to fuse two of the things I am most passionate about, my love for extreme sports and giving back to the community.  I have run several races before but this one will be a very rewarding one so I plan to give it my best shot, “says Derek
The multi-talented, Derek is an extreme sports enthusiast who has been involved in various sports activities and participated in a lot of outreach work most of his life.  He started running long distances in his twenties and has since participated in various races throughout the world. He completed his first ultra-marathon this year during the Old Mutual Two Oceans in Cape Town.
By participating in this initiative Derek hopes to inspire many people to tackle societal problems head on.    “There are many ways to make a contribution in our society.  Every step counts, every day presents a new opportunity to touch someone’s life”

The Compassionate Life Foundation – www.james127.org
Derek’s Personal Blog about running – www.compassionateafrica.blogspot.com
derek van dam running on top hill.jpg

There's still time to donate!

Hello family and friends, 

You are reading this message as I am running the Comrades Ultra Marathon. 90km's uphill in support of charity.

There's still plenty of time for you to donate to The Compassionate Life Foundations "Feed-a-Family" project. Here are the all important details:


Click here for more info on the Compassionate Life Foundation: www.james127.org

Banking details for South African EFT (Electronic Fund Transfers):
Account Name: CLF Swaziland (Checking)
Bank Name: NEDBANK
Account #: 20000538184
Branch Code: 360164
Bank ABA/SWIFT Code: NESWSZMX
USA Donations via Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT):
Account Name: Compassionate Life Fdn, USA
Bank Name: Chase Bank (Checking)
Account #: 717917561
Routing #: 072000326
Please consider supporting this cause to better the lives of the vulnerable and forgotten in Swaziland and South Africa! 

Follow my race day progress on the following site (race number: 53432)

Thanks for your support!
Derek

Facts About the "Uphill" Comrades race

We are currently driving the route of the Comrades Marathon. It's the day before the big race. Here's some interesting facts about the uphill run; 

- About 400 000 athletes have successfully run Comrades over the years

- The average runner loses between 3-4 kgs on this race. 

- Of these brave 400,000, less than 200 have won and less than 2000 have achieved Gold (top 10)

- About 7-8% of the field achieve silver (sub 7:30) with 50% of the field finishing in the last hour

- In 2009, about 25% of the starters did not make the 12 hour cut-off and two heart attacks were     reported on the day

- The up run is about 2K shorter than the down (the race's direction is alternated every year)

- The first half of the up run is a very tough uphill marathon with lots of hills, while the second is more forgiving

- Despite the relentless climbs, the up run is less painful than the down

More to come later. Cheers everyone. Thanks for your support  

Derek

Weather Forecast for Comrades 2013



Considering this is part of my career, it's only logical that I release a weather forecast for the big day. :-) This is the eNCA Weather Departments official race day weather forecast for Sunday June 2nd. This forecast was a collaboration between myself and my colleagues within the weather department.

Conditions will be comfortable at 05:30 am as we begin the race. Roughly around 16 degrees Celsius (61 degrees Fahrenheit). Because of the wind direction coming from the plateau/escarpment, I'm not expecting extreme humidity and the skies should be mostly clear to partly cloudy. Sunrise is around 6:43 am, so we will be running in the dark for the first 45 minutes or so. Expect partly to mostly sunny skies through out the entire race with a moderate to fresh head wind (N/NW between 15-25km/hr with gusts to 30km/h). PBM has the possibility of being quite warm with the direction of the wind coming off the plateau. We are predicting a high temperature in PBM of 29-30 degrees. Depending on your individual finish time (or location on the route if you are a spectator), the temperature will be cooler the closer we get to evening.

So…what I’m saying is this…it will be warm at times. Not overly humid, which is great news for runners and spectators alike. Stay hydrated and be sure to bring Sunscreen! Be prepared for a head wind. Something to protect your eyes is advised (i.e.- a hat and sunglasses). Otherwise, we should be golden.

Have a great race everyone. See you in Durban at the start line and hopefully again in Pietermartizburg at the finish. Of course, support along the route is always welcome!

Yours in running & good weather, 

Derek Van Dam

Monday, May 27, 2013

Do you know what it is like to be hungry?


There are 870 million hungry people in the world and 98 percent of them are in developing countries. In fact almost 30% of the people that go hungry are in Sub-Saharan Africa –our neighbours.

An estimated 146 million children in developing countries are underweight.

And

63% of the people in Swaziland live below the poverty line – that is less than R11.50 a day!


What can you buy for R11.50?
No wait… What can you buy for R9?
A cup of coffee? Nope. A bottle of water? Maybe. A sandwich? Definitely not.
In fact there is very little you can buy that’s of any value to you for under R10 these days.

But did you know that…

·         for less than R9, you can feed a person for a whole day
·         for just over R62, you can feed that person for a week
·         and for less than R3 300, you are feeding that person for a whole year!
Seems impossible.


“I am Derek Van Dam and this is why I run…”

“Meet Maria Dlamini. She was born on the 9th of October 2004 and she, along with many other precious souls like her, is the reason I am running the Comrades Marathon.


She had a slow start but has thrived at El Shaddai Ministries (based in Swaziland, Africa) and developed a very social personality. She attends the El Shaddai Primary School where she does very well academically. Maria’s father visits a few times per year and overall she is very healthy.

Every day, I realise that I am seeing a true miracle unfold right in front of my eyes. Maria has come so far and is on a path to become a hugely impactful person in this world.

Seeing Maria progress over the years has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life. I consider myself very fortunate to have been a part of her wonderful journey to becoming a healthy, educated and active child.


Its projects like Compassionate Life Foundation's "Feed-A-Family" fund or the "Child Sponsorship Program" that restore purpose and direction in the lives of so many across this impoverished area of the world.

Please consider partnering with me on my final days of preparation for the Comrades Ultra Marathon. All fundraised contributions go directly to CLF's "Feed-A-Family" fund.

It can and will continue to turn around lives just as I have witnessed first-hand with Maria Dlamini.

And remember, just R9 will feed a hungry parent or child for a whole day.
A small gesture for a huge cause.

Click here for more info on the Compassionate Life Foundation: www.james127.org

Thank you!

Yours in Running, 

Derek Van Dam




Sunday, May 26, 2013

A week from now...

A week from now, I'll be running. As you get up I will have been on the road for several hours. And for many of you, as you go to sleep, I will still be running. 

The end. 

Derek

Monday, May 20, 2013

13 Days to Go...


Since September 2012, I have run over 1300 km’s in preparation for one day; June 2nd, 2013. That’s a lot of running that’s involved a massive adjustment in my day-to-day lifestyle. I’ve learned a lot about my body and ultimately its capabilities and its limits. Apparently, one can push their body significantly further than our brains convince us of during that moment of absolute physical exhaustion (i.e.- running ultra marathons or climbing Mt. Everest, for example). I am looking forward to challenging that theory during the Comrades Ultra Marathon.



It’s completely unknown territory for me. That is, running nearly 90kms in one day. The longest I’ve run in one day is now 56kms during the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon. How will my body react? Am I capable? How will I cope mentally through out the race? What kind of pain will I feel? Is this all worth it? These are some of the many questions and thoughts that are racing (sorry for the bad pun) through my head as race day speedily approaches.

I’ve lost a few pounds/kg’s during this journey. People are constantly asking me “Have you lost weight recently Derek?.” And if you know me well, I didn’t really have a lot of weight to give…so yeah, I’m pretty skinny at the moment. It’s an interesting concept how much food long distance runners actually consume. I mean, it’s so much that we’ve been compared to grazing cattle. I can pretty easily sum up my life lately with 4 simple words; Work, run, eat, sleep.

Some have asked me, what do you think will be going through your mind when you arrive at that starting line at 5:30 in the morning? My answer is simple-I’m anxious to taste victory at the finish line. I couldn’t have possibly trained any harder than I did for that moment. So basically yeah, I’m ready for this.

Now, only time will tell.

I hope you all are great. Thanks again for your support, encouragement and thoughts through this entire process. It means the world to me.

Derek

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Thank you!

On behalf of the many vulnerable children and families of Swaziland, we (The Compassionate Life Foundation board of directors) would like to thank you for all of your support towards the Comrades Marathon fundraising campaign!  Your contributions so far have been overwhelming! I've even had to re-adjust our financial goal because of the generous donations that have been received so far. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Please notice the fundraising "widget" on the upper right hand side of this blog to see how much has been raised and how far we still have to go. Check it regularly to see the progress. You may even want to consider "bookmarking" this page so you can follow along up to the big day (June 2nd is race day). By the way, a new financial goal has been set of  R100,000 (South African Rand) = $11,500 USD. Let's make the final push to bring this goal to a reality!

First, I would like to share a story with you. A story very close to my heart.

Meet Maria Dlamini (DOB: 9 October 2004);

July 2006; My 1st encounter with Maria. She was very sick when she arrived to El Shaddai Ministries, slightly before this picture was taken.

Maria is a very special person to me. She, along with the many other vulnerable children I've encountered in Swaziland, are my inspiration for finishing the Comrades Ultra Marathon this June. 
Maria as an infant (she is the child in the front of the mat)
Seeing Maria progress over the years has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life. I consider myself very fortunate to have been a part of her wonderful life.

July 2008; My 2nd encounter with Maria. 
July 2009; My 3rd encounter with Maria. She had progressed so much!
She had a slow start but has thrived at El Shaddai Ministries and developed a very social personality. She attends the El Shaddai Primary School where she does very well academically. Maria’s father visits a few times per year and overall she is very healthy.

January 2010; My 4th visit with Maria was very special. I could see the direct benefits of her support and care at El Shaddai Ministries.
Everyday, I realise that I am seeing a true miracle unfold right in front of my eyes. Maria has come so far and is on a path to become a hugely impactful person in this world.

2011; Maria in Grade 2 at El Shaddai Primary School.
My family and I have made a commitment to continue sponsoring Maria. My parents will get to meet her in a few weeks time. They are traveling from America to Swaziland to continue the work that is being done by The Compassionate Life Foundation. How exciting!

2013; A Beautiful, healthy child of God.  Maria is currently in Grade 3 at El Shaddai Primary School

I'm sharing this story because I want to bring a personal plea to you. Hopefully by now you can see the direct benefits of this organisations work (The Compassionate Life Foundation www.james127.org). It's projects like the "Feed-A-Family" fund or the "Child Sponsorship Program" that restore purpose and direction in the lives of so many across this impoverished area of the world.  

Please consider partnering with me on my final weeks of preparation for the Comrades Ultra Marathon. All proceeds go directly to CLF's "Feed-A-Family" fund. It can and will continue to turn around lives just as I witnessed first-hand with Maria Dlamini.

In order to feed an individual for 1 year, it costs $360 USD. Our goal is $11,500/R100,000. If we achieve those numbers, we'll provide a years worth of food to nearly 32 vulnerable people in Swaziland! Think about it. 

Here is a direct link to our donation page:

https://secure6.nm-secure.com/james127/content.cfm?id=330


God Bless!

Derek Van Dam

Monday, April 08, 2013

The BIG Ask...

Hello Friends & Family,



Do you live a life with passion? Do you live a life with compassion? What is the difference anyway? “Passion” means to have compelling emotion or devotion, while “compassion” means to be merciful. In other words, you could say that to live a life of passion a person should show devotion to others by having mercy or compassion to others in need.

It is with these words that I humbly approach you and/or your company for support.

This June, I will embark on a journey of human strength and determination. My eyes are set on finishing the “Ultimate Human Race” also known as the Comrades Marathon. This year’s grueling 89.5km event is particularly difficult because it is an “up” year, meaning the race is run uphill from Durban (sea level) to Pietermaritzburg (atop the South African plateau).  I will be running this race in support of The Compassionate Life Foundation (www.james127.org) and its “Feed a Family” project.

I have been working as Secretary of The Compassionate Life Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) charity, for nearly 6 years. It is the sole reason for my existence in Cape Town, South Africa and ultimately my work at e.TV and eNCA as Chief Meteorologist (a long story for another day).

CLF’s mission statement is as follows:

Compassionate Life is a non-denominational Foundation seeking to be God’s hands and feet showing love and compassion to the poor and needy people of the world. Partnering with those whom God directs us to who are already on the front lines fighting the war on poverty, disease, and spiritual emptiness, with a special focus on caring for Orphans and Widows.

My work within CLF is done with passion and compassion, but the longstanding benefits to the poor and needy far outweigh any personal gain I have ever received. I’ve seen purpose and direction restored to the vulnerable people of both Swaziland and South Africa through the direct work of this foundation. Won’t you consider partnering with me to help extend CLF’s potential?

If your located within South Africa, here’s how to make your donation (accepted directly through www.james127.org using PayPal or by sending check/cash to): 

ATTN: Derek Van Dam 
e.TV Longkloof Studios, 
1 Darters Rd. Gardens, 
Cape Town, South Africa. 

If your located within the USA (or elsewhere), here’s how to make your tax-deductible donation (accepted directly through www.james127.org using PayPal or by sending check/cash to):  

Compassionate Life Foundation
P.O. Box 510 
Swartz Creek, MI 48473 
USA

Please make checks payable to “The Compassionate Life Foundation”

1)      Donate per successful km run during Comrades Marathon ($1 USD/10 ZAR per km)
2)      A once off donation of your choice

100% of your donations will be used in the following way:

1)      ‘Feed a Family’ Maize Planting – CLF is committed to plowing and planting Maize Fields for El Shaddai Children’s Home and the 50 vulnerable families’ we serve in Swaziland and South Africa.
2)      ‘Feed a Family’ Food Fund - Feed a family by providing food packages consisting of fruit, vegetables, rice, beans, soup, salt, sugar, oil, and soap. Food will be delivered to families’ homes as the need arises throughout the year!

As race day draws nearer (2 June, 2013), my nerves continue to build; but it is the faces of the world’s vulnerable children that motivate me to complete this goal. Thank you for considering supporting this unique adventure.  Monetary donations in exchange for corporate advertising will be considered on a case by case basis.

Sincerely,
Derek Van Dam