PE fitness fan eyes world record

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Sharon Jessop is gearing up for her world record running attempt
Image: WERNER HILLS

A Port Elizabeth fitness fanatic and trainer by trade will be using her experience to try to set a new Guinness World Record by running 22km a day for 62 consecutive days.

Sharon Jessop, said she was attempting the world record to raise awareness and funds for two charity organisations, namely, One Land Love It Foundation for rhino conservation and antipoaching initiatives and for The Community Chest of the Eastern Cape.

Her target is R250,000 for both organisations.

“I am also super enthusiastic about wildlife and conservation.

“My “thing” is rhinos as they are simply the most amazing creatures ever.

“And with rhinos being a keystone species vital for the conservation of the environment and other species of animals it is more than a passion for me to help spread awareness and raise funds for rhino conservation and anti-poaching initiatives,” the Lorraine resident said.

The Guinness World Record attempt will be run on various professionally measured courses in and about Port Elizabeth, mostly from the premises of the SMMEs Jessop will be promoting during the 62 days of running.

Between  September 22 (World Rhino Day) and  November 22, both days included, Jessop, an  entrepreneur, runner and wildlife enthusiast, will attempt this feat.

The previous record for most consecutive half-marathon distances run by a female was 50 days.

She said she has been doing five strength training classes a week but was generally fit being a runner.

This is her first attempt at any world record.

“I also run on average about five times per week with longer runs over weekends.

“Luckily I’ve done a long expedition before in 2017 when I ran from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth over 21 days to raise awareness for cancer — so I am not new to this.”

Jessop said the logistics was the bit that scares her as running was the easy part.

“My aim is to get as many Port Elizabeth-based businesses involved as I possibly can.

“They would donate an amount to the fundraising campaign in exchange for us to promote them for a full day on social media and to do physical in-store promotions to try to stimulate business and get feet through their doors,” Jessop said.

She would start and finish her run from the premises of the donating SMME and do a social media takeover to promote them and their services.

And as an added bonus “OLLI”, the life-size fibreglass rhino will also be in attendance.

“I am still looking for a suitable venue to start this attempt on  September 22 which is World Rhino Day.

“Once the SMMEs are secured we need to have each run course measured by a professional who specialises in this to qualify for the world record.

“So huge amounts of work still need to be done,” she said.

So far her only challenge has been getting SMMEs involved and she believes that is because businesses are extremely cash-strapped right now and though many would probably love to be involved, forking out money for donations in exchange for marketing is just not an option.

BY ZIPO-ZENKOSI NCOKAZI

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