exploring, living

An Inspiring Evening out at FEAT SA 2015 (including my top 3 speakers from the night)

Last night I attended the 7th Annual FEAT South Africa event at the Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg (this was my second time attending a FEAT event). FEAT stands for Fascinating Expedition & Adventure Talks and was founded by a South African adventure racer and writer called Lisa de Speville. The whole concept of FEAT is to celebrate the achievements of adventurers and to inspire people to not just settle for socially accepted norms of life but rather break the mould and embark on new adventures and expeditions which is certainly something I am aspiring towards in my life.

The structure of how FEAT is run is that there is approximately 10 speakers who are chosen to speak about their recent adventures they have embarked on. Each speaker has 7 minutes to discuss their adventure/expedition with the help of a slide show of photos.

The Speaker list for FEAT SA 2015 included the following adventurers:

  • Andrew Porter– ‘Going solo’
  • Bernie Theron– ‘An undying head wind’
  • Colin & Bianca Cooper– ‘Back to basics Qhubeka expeditions’
  • Duncan Paul– ‘A race within a race – Yukon 1000′
  • Hazel Moller– ‘Running and running’
  • Jean Craven– ‘Weather, currents, animals and politics’
  • Keegan Longueira– ‘Cairo to Cape Town in record time’
  • Nic Good– ‘Adventuretainment’
  • Peter van Kets– ‘Dogs, ice and polar bears’
  • Tim Biggs– ‘Rivers and expeditions’

All these adventurers captivated the audience with their incredible stories; however for the purposes of this post I am going to focus on the three speakers I enjoyed the most from the evening. If you are interested in finding out more about the adventures & expeditions of the rest of the speakers, go check out the FEAT SA website for a blurb on each speaker.

So my top three speakers from the night were in no particular order Hazel Moller, Colin and Bianca Cooper and Keegan Longueira.

Hazel Moller achieved an amazing feat this year of running the equivalent of 10 Comrades Marathons in 10 days and she did this in aid of raising money for Pet Empowerment in Townships. Her presentation really resonated with me as I supported my husband this year for his second Comrades Marathon and having seen how exhausted and emotional he was after the race just made Hazel’s accomplishment of running 10 Comrades in 10 days that much more impressive. I have also decided to attempt my first ever Comrades in 2016 so I guess that also made her story of relevance to me.

Colin and Bianca Cooper’s presentation was not only inspiring but also entertaining. Bianca is Colin’s daughter and together they have completed five “back-to-basics” Qhubeka expeditions. They focused on their most recent expedition which was to take the shortest total time to climb the tallest peak in the nine provinces of South Africa including the time taken to get to each peak. The total distance they covered was around 3000km in 47 days on a Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycle, which is a single-speed, steel framed bicycle weighing around 24kg. To emphasize their “back-to-basics” approach, the pair had a sin bin on stage where they demonstrated what items they were not allowed on the trip such as cokes, sweets, energy drinks, gps’s and other navigational technologies, hydration packs etc – basically all the items that I would use if I were to do an adventure like this.

One of my other top 3 speakers was Keegan Longueira who spoke about his most recent expedition where he cycled from Cairo to Cape Town unsupported in the shortest possible time with the hope of getting into the Guinness Book of Records. The previous record was set by Robert Knol from the Netherlands who made the journey in 70 days in 2011. Keegan pedalled for a total of 59 days covering 10,526km averaging around 175km a day and managed to earn the World Record. However two months later in May this year his time was beaten by the long-distance British cyclist Mark Beaumont, who completed the expedition in 41 days. What was interesting to hear from Keegan’s presentation was the contrast of highs and lows he endured along his journey such as the friendliness of the Sudanese people he met along the way to being hit by rocks that were thrown at him by kids in Ethiopia. Keegan also did his expedition with the aim of raising funds for a charity called Operation Smile Foundation which I must say is just such a phenomenal initiative that literally brings back smiles to children in low to middle income countries by providing them with free cleft palate surgery.

So in summary, I must say after listening to all the talks last night I am definitely feeling inspired and motivated to continue to plan exciting new challenges & adventures every year to take on with my hubby together as #TeamKernes.



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