Rehan received healing in 2017 during a Sunday morning church service following years of battling injuries and constant pain, at stages bordering on addiction to pain medication.
Following that pivotal miracle, his mind was made up to run on purpose for purpose.
This coincided with a visit from Peter Pretorius, the founder of Joint Aid Management (JAM), to CRC London. His journey following a single encounter in Mozambique during 1984 resonated with Rehan – One man resolving to stand in the gap. Rehan decided to come alongside JAM (now rebranded as ForAfrika) to use what God placed in his hands (or legs so to speak) and use it for good, however big or small.
Rehan went BIG…100km! Trailrun over the Southdowns Way! Loving nature…it will be fun. Why not!? Just to add…up until this point Rehan has never run more than 30km in one go. The outrageous goal for his first challenge = Raise £2,000 for JAM.
2017 made Rehan fall in love with trail running. In December 2017, Rehan and his family moved to the doorstep of the Northdowns Way with miles and miles of incredible trails and views. As he continued running along the route around his village of Walton-on-the-Hill, he discovered that the Northdowns Way is a 206km trail starting in Farnborough in Surrey and moving along the countryside, past his doorstep and all the way to Dover at the seaside. At that point, there wasn’t any established FKT on this route. Rehan wanted to push his personal limitations and see whether it would be possible to double his previous year’s effort of 100km and run more than 200km. And to make the equation just a little more crazy – do it in the middle of the UK winter!
Rehan was blessed to be accompanied by a great team of friends on this adventure – De Wet Kruger (support runner), Scotty Stirling (support runner), Eugene Hamlyn (support runner), Linus Muirhead (logistics), his sister (media),wife (moral support and media) and parents-in-law (moral support and looking after kiddos). Uncle Linus was the most knowledgeable of all – with numerous Comrades and other ultra-marathons under his belt. The rest – along for the journey and quite literally winging it…making it up as they went along!
Unbelievable experience with an incredible group of people. Rehan was well prepared and knew around 60% of the route ahead of time. They started at 22:00 on 13 December and the goal was to complete the run within 48 hours.
The first 100km went very well, finishing it in around 17 hours, but then the wheels started coming off. Like uncle Linus said– if you pace a race correctly, your 2nd half should be faster than your 1st half. Well, that didn’t happen! Rehan and the team were heading into the ‘unknown’ territories of ultra-running and this is where mental strength is so important – because the body is long gone…
The 2nd half of the run they encountered rain, snow, freezing temperatures and gail force winds (to name but a few). The fact that it became dark at around 15:00 and only light again at 08:30, made those evening hours on the second evening very tough.
They got through it with lots of prayer, support and peanut butter, arriving in Dover on 15 December at 15:53 with a finish time of 41h53min. The latter half of the race took 25 hours. Included in the time, were 3 separate naps (20min, 30min and 3hours). That 3rd nap was supposed to be an hour, but the support crew saw the condition RehanI was in at around 140km and left him to pack the necessary sleep.
With this effort, Rehan received the FKT for the Northdowns Way, which stood for 2.5 years before it was broken again – Rehan Greeff – North Downs Way (UK) – 2018-12-15 | Fastest Known Time
The goal was to raise £5,000 for JAM. This time round, friends helped by sharing to their individual platforms
This was also the year Rehan started running under the banner “Run Forest Run” for the first time. His sister, Anmari Greeff, increased media presence. Total raised £5,160.33 – sufficient to feed 1,032 school kids for an entire month or 86 over a school year.
Rehan loved the challenge of completing an ultra in the harshness of the winter but wanted to challenge himself with “real” mountains and self-navigation. The Exodus 100 miler along the Brecon Beacons ticked all those requirements – it was hosted in the middle of the UK winter in Wales with more than 7,500m of elevation and you needed to be self sufficient (and be able to navigate yourself), as the aid stations were a marathon apart from each other.
For this challenge, Rehan’s good friend, Chris Platt, accompanied him as support, assisting him with communication, food and encouragement along the route (even though they saw very little of each other throughout the adventure, just due to the nature of the challenging beast that is the “Exodus”.It was brutally beautiful and beautifully brutal…
With the aid stations being a marathon apart from each other, Rehan needed to carry enough nutrition and liquid to sustain him for anything between 7-12 hours.It was the middle of winter. In Wales. On some of the highest peaks. Weather changed quickly and drastically. And during our run Rehan experienced almost everything except snow and hail. With the run starting at 19:00 at night, 2 full nights of running in the dark was required.During this traversing exercise, 7,500 metres of vertical climb was included (as a little bonus). The highest peak in the Beacons – Pen-Y-Fan – is also included at the halfway point.Some portions are very technical, making running very difficult.
Rehan was one of the 27 finishers (out of 60 starters) – finishing in 39 hours and 48 minutes, in a top 12 position.
After going back to the drawing board and praying and seeking a God-idea for the next challenge, Rehan was able to go to church leadership in January 2020 with a vision of pulling a small team of runners together with support staff and take on the National Three Peaks relay record that stood since 1980.
The 3 main goals of the challenge were:
Raise funds for Joint Aid Management (JAM) – Target £20,000
Break the existing 40-year-old record for fastest time
Physical action on prophetic word – Taking possession of the land given to us
The route consists of climbing the highest peak in each of the UK countries and running the entire route connecting the peaks (660km) in a relay format. The Men Relay record is 54 hours 39 min (2 days, 6 hours, 39 min) at roughly 5min/km throughout the 660km.
The highest peak in each of the UK countries are, Ben Nevis (Scotland – 1,345m), Scafell Pike (England – 978m) and Snowdon (Wales – 1,085m)
This was the year where the world needed some good news and we were able to provide some.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK in late Feb / beginning of March 2020 with initial thoughts that all lockdown restrictions would be lifted by the middle of May latest ( initial planned date). However, the team needed to adjust and postpone the challenge indefinitely as it seemed hopeless to have countries open their borders.
But God worked all things for good.
The additional time provided additional fundraising time and we came up with creative ways to stay motivated, connected and involve people from across the UK during the lead-up. Then, at the beginning of July 2020, a small window of opportunity opened with Scotland and Wales opening their borders for small groups of 6 travelling together and open-air camping. The team needed to adjust logistical planning significantly to comply with the regulations, but the overall experience with the team (7 runners, 3 cyclists, 5 drivers, 3 mountain spotters) was priceless. They couldn’t beat the relay record, but had a fantastic finish climbing Snowdon together and celebrated at the base as a team before driving back.
Incredible! With so many more people involved and with CRC London’s backing, there was a significant increase in reach and expansion of impact. The £20,000 goal was reached ahead of the start of the physical challenge. They managed to raise £28,061 in the end – sufficient to feed 5,612 school kids for an entire month or 468 over a school year.
The “WHY” was stronger than ever
This was the year of bigger and bolder and really stepping out in faith and trusting God for a miracle. With CRC London’s full support, the Run Forest Run team under Rehan’s vision launched the 300 Expansion Challenge in March 2021 and pulled in over 60 runners that would take on the 16-week process of training for the furthest run of their lives in aid of JAM. Rehan created specific training plans for each of the 4 category runners (10k, 21k, 42k, ultra) and assisted them throughout the process with weekly check-ins and motivation.
There were weekly virtual team meetings and also some sessions with key people to encourage and empower – Alwyn Uys (SA Paralympian adventurer), Sean Conway (international adventurer), Ronel Bosch (sports nutritionist), Isak Pretorius (ForAfrika CEO – previously JAM), and Pastor Karen Marais (senior pastor, CRC-London). The team members took on various fundraising efforts, like “Come Braai with me”, school raffles, pop-up coffee shops at church, selling RFR merch.
Great team! Teamwork makes the dream work!
Incredible! On the day of the community race (3 July), they were able to break through the initial goal of £40,000. In the end, the team was able to raise £50,000 towards JAM-sufficient to feed 10,000 school kids for an entire month or 833 over a school year.
It was tough returning to running after the challenge. Rehan got to the place where he associated running with his dad. After necessary time to properly grieve and work through many of the accompanying emotions, the slogan of “expanding horizons, running for good” really became a way of life! Continue to trust God for the impossible.
The #TriChallenge’s goal was to complete 3 full Ironman-equivalent triathlons (3.8km swim, 180.2km cycle and 42.2km run) in 3 countries (South Africa, Uganda and United Kingdom) over the course of only 6 days
To raise £100,000 towards ForAfrika; Achieved to date = £10,000
This year was different! Tough logistically as well as from a training perspective.
Firstly, I needed to learn how to swim, and I needed a bike – 3 sports to manage in essence instead of my normal 1!
Secondly, the Run Forest Run Engine Room needed to organise logistics across countries – in the past it was easier only on UK soil.
I started early January 2022 with the preparations, giving myself a proper 5 months. My first open water swim was in April in PE at the pier with some dolphins at sunrise and my first cycle on a physical moving bike (not one at the leisure centre) was in May, when I purchased my second-hand bike from one of my friends.
This time round, we had a small core team of myself, Anmari, Carel and Livingstone taking on the entire journey together, with country specific volunteers assisting on the specific day of the challenge. Quite exciting! And what a journey it ended up being…blessed with the best!
The first event was held in South Africa, in and around the town of Wellington, just outside Cape Town. The date of 27 June was of personal significance to me, because it was the day a year ago that my dad passed away. The challenge started just before sunrise with a freezing 3.8km swim in the dam at the Bosman Family Vineyard, followed by a 180km cycle and then a 42.2km run, ending at the church where my dad started and ended his career.
Throughout the day, the team visited several Early Development Centres on the cycle route that ForAfrika supports. We interacted with the teachers and children and presented them with small medals! This also served as a little break while I found out more about the needs in these communities and how ForAfrika is making a difference.
We arrived in Kisoro, south-western Uganda, at about 9am on Wednesday morning, 29 June, and headed straight from our tiny, chartered plane to Lake Mutanda for my swim.
The second triathlon was the most arduous of the three – unfamiliar, hilly territory and unfamiliar gear, including a borrowed bicycle with cleats that broke en route! Uganda was very different, and the team had to improvise a lot. Mike Kisegerwa, who happens to be a celebrated cyclist in Uganda, accompanied me for the whole 180km cycle. The marathon only ended after 3:30am on Thursday and we just managed a quick shower and two hours’ sleep before trekking off to the refugee transit centre to see ForAfrika in action there.
After our visit to the camp, it was back to the airport for a plane bound for England – where the final event took place on much more gentle ground.
The UK triathlon on Saturday, 02 July, was a great way to conclude this year’s TriChallenge. With family, friends and the familiar Forest Front Yard at our village of Walton-on-the-Hill, could not have asked for more.
We have raised £10,000 towards ForAfrika thus far. Not close to what we have aspired to, but we are not done yet. We are grateful however, as the money raised is sufficient to feed 166 children for an entire year.
We are working hard and trusting for new doors to open that will provide a continuous inflow towards ForAfrika going forward.
Putting feet on the ground at the places where ForAfrika is hard at work, changes a person. For the better! I am determined to bring more people in the future.
I am inspired by the faithful resilience and determination of the ECD teachers to give these children a good education and a safe place to stay whilst parents are at work. The visit to the refugee camp exemplified how the human spirit can overcome any hardship, but it is heart-breaking as there shouldn’t even be such a thing as a “refugee camp” – there shouldn’t be children separated from their parents through conflict and having to live in temporary settlements.
RFR Kids ran 2km every day in January ’23
To raise £600 towards ForAfrika; Achieved to date = £762
During the month of January 2023, the goal was for children to walk/jog/run a minimum of 2km per day every day with their family (a parent or guardian) in an aim to get fit, have fun with the family in nature and raise funds towards ForAfrika – Africa’s largest indigenous non-governmental organisation.
The little warrior princesses did it! They successfully completed their physical challenge of running 2km every day during the month of January, and now they have also smashed their fundraising goal of £600. Final amount raised: £795
A massive shout and thank you to each and every person’s encouragement and donation! Your open hand is making a huge impact towards ForAfrika and the families that benefit from their work.
The next generation might still be young, but their enthusiasm and generosity are incredibly inspirational! At Run Forest Run KIDS we believe in empowering and enabling the next generation with the necessary tools to use everyday opportunities to have fun, stay fit and make an impact on those less fortunate.
We are aiming to raise £100,000 to support vulnerable communities and feed malnourished children in the remotest parts of Africa. We have to get more people involved.