Father and son take on the mountains

Joel Smith braving the mountains

Joel Smith braving the mountains

Published Dec 29, 2023


A father and son recently braved a long trek over the Lesotho mountains to raise funds for a children’s home.

Joel Smith and his dad Martin covered 252km over the Lesotho mountains in an effort to raise R100 000 for King’s Children’s Home in the Eastern Cape before the end of January.

King’s Children’s Home just outside East London is a safe house that provides a temporary home and place of safety for abused and abandoned babies and young children.

Founded in 2008 by Tracy and Jonathan King, who run the local Crossways church in the area, King’s Children’s Home has positively impacted the lives of many children in the Eastern Cape.

Some local support for Joel and Martin Smith on the mountains of Lesotho.

Touched by the plight of these children when the family relocated to the East Coast, the young Joel Smith who matriculated from Selborne College last year, pledged his support and instead of an 18th birthday party, he tackled the famous 100km Amatola Mountain trail in the picturesque Hogsback area together with his dad Martin.

They completed the 100km trail in two days and raised R55 000 for King’s Children’s Home.

Joel set his sights on a bigger adventure for 2023, which resulted in the father and son duo tackling the 252km Lesotho Border to Border Challenge, starting from Maseru on December 16 and finishing six days later at Quacha’s Nek.

“The conditions were challenging over mountainous terrain with a 9000m elevation gain, very few flats, an average temperature of 30 degrees and the thin air due to the altitude. Spending time in nature and having the opportunity to run through untouched remote mountains, was humbling and special,” Joel said.

Joel took up trail running three years ago and is prone to blisters. He has tested various socks and shoes in preparation for this expedition. The team started their running training in the middle of August this year, straight after they both competed in the Transbaviaans mountain bike marathon race..

Their trail running schedule for Lesotho consisted of hours of short, fast quality sessions during the week, while the longer, slower runs are run over the weekends. They averaged about nine hours of running per week clocking between 40km to 100km per week.

“I’ve tried and tested a variety of socks, but my favourites are without doubt the Falke Blister Protection All Terrain, while my dad prefers the Falke Hidden Dry.

“The Falke Compression Calf Sleeves help to avoid cramping. At the same time the arm sleeves were a massive help to protect our skins and help reduce the heat as the route offer very little shade.” Joel explained.

These sports socks are light, breathable, cushioned for comfort, recyclable and engineered for performance. Manufactured from BCool recycled eco-friendly textile fibres, these running socks provide optimal support as well as a damping effect to prevent the formation of blisters through good shoe contact and power transmission.

Graduated compression socks reduce the risk of twisted ankles, support weak areas such as the Achilles' tendon, aid faster recovery and reduce fatigue when running.

Joel and Martin Smith

The father and son team enjoy a variety of sports and have participated in challenging multi-sport adventure races last year - the Feral Duo multi-sport 24-hour event over 150km and the Expedition Africa adventure race in the Knysna region spanning 120km.

Joel comes from an active family, but says his grandma is his biggest inspiration. At 80 years old she still runs and cycles almost every day and started taking the kids at King’s Children’s Home for hikes and runs. “This inspired me to also use my passion for running for a purpose,” he said.

Through this fundraising drive, Joel aim is to raise R100 000 before the end of January.

Pretoria News

[email protected]