Mmeli grew up and lives in Inanda in KwaZulu-Natal and in 2010 the social-purpose and impact-focused organisation, Green Corridors, started a cycling initiative in the area which Mmeli was so excited about. At the age of 16, he started cycling and when Green Corridors introduced canoeing to the teenagers in the area Mmeli jumped at this opportunity.
Mmeli saw the benefit of sport in his community and especially among the youth so in 2018 during his 2nd year at University he co-founded Inanda Trail Running Club along with Sipho Canham. The club started with three members (two girls and a boy) and the first event they attended was the Stainbank 5km race in Yellowwood Park, KZN.
Since then, the club has grown to 30 members, and although the youngsters often take podium places this is not the objective of the NPO. According to Mmeli teaching respect and discipline is the main purpose of the Club.
The Club pays for the entry fee into the event, gives the athletes breakfast, organises transport to and from the race, and ensures the children, teenagers, and young adults have a second meal before they go home.
“Through our engagement with these club members, we realised that their families needed food parcels and the children needed school shoes,’’ explains Mmeli. “As we want to instill a culture of respect in the children for themselves, their coaches, their teammates, their home and family as well as an attitude of commitment and determination, we asked the club members to participate in outreach projects.”
“We collaborated with Umgeni Waterboard and the members participated in a beach clean-up. We also organise monthly clean-ups whereby we collected litter along the banks of the dam. Our area has great tourist potential and our club members now understand that taking care of their area is good for them and the community at large.”
“We don’t necessarily reward the faster runners, but rather acknowledge and celebrate those who show up consistently and do their best, who participate in the clean-ups, and who help the coaches and their team members. Talent will only take you so far in life, but strength of character will take you to the top,’’ concludes Mmeli.
The Mission of the Inanda Running Club, NPC No: 2018/075752/08, to:
Should you wish to donate towards food parcels, school shoe distribution, event entry fees, traveling costs, or meals for the club members please contact Mmeli on 079 798 4367 Section 18A Certificates will be issued on request.