“This year’s races will be dedicated to the 668 rhinos poached in 2012 and each participant will be assigned a rhino to ride in memory of. Upon registration, the entrant will receive an electronic confirmation with information on the rhino they will be representing at this year’s race. We would like to challenge South Africa to assist us in having at least one cyclist per rhino poached,” says Heidi Eloff of the Renosterveld Trust.

The three-day Ride the Rhino event, taking place in the picturesque Western Cape area between 27 and 29 September 2013, is now in its fourth year and has successfully raised much needed awareness around the importance of conserving the Renosterveld area. “The region is home to approximately 9,600 animal species, 12 of which are classified as either endangered or already extinct including the Black Rhino, Cape Lion, Ghost Frog and Dwarf Chameleon. Over the past few years, the Renosterveld has shrunk by a staggering 96%, posing a dire threat to the remaining population,” Eloff explains.

A percentage of the 2012 event proceeds were donated to the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) to supplement funds for existing anti-rhino poaching initiatives.

Resolution Health and Zurreal will also be sponsoring the 2013 Race the Rhino event, a one-day race taking place in the Hartbeespoort / Magaliesburg area on 21 September, the day after Save the Rhino Day. “The Race the Rhino event enables the Gauteng-based cycling community to also become involved and contribute to the races’ worthy cause. The events personifies Resolution Health and Zurreal’s overall Embrace Life strategy which encompasses three core principles: Preserve the environment, educate our members and clients and encourage participation in meaningful and healthy entertainment,” says Mark Arnold, principal officer of Resolution Health Medical Scheme and main sponsor of the race along with its loyalty partner, Zurreal.

The start of both the Race the Rhino and Ride the Rhino events will be characterised by a symbolic ceremony to visually signify the dire plight of the rhino. “Each cyclist will receive a plastic rhino horn that can be attached to their bicycles, serving as a symbolic and personal tribute to the individual rhino they will be racing for. The horns will be collectively laid out in one area, visually representing the injustice committed last year. Each cyclist will collect their rhino horn, attach it to their bicycle and proceed to the starting line,” explains Michelle Camps, Director of Zurreal.

Jean de Villiers, captain of the National Rugby Team and Resolution Health and Zurreal brand representative has pledged his full support to the worthy cause of the Ride the Rhino and Race the Rhino events. Jean, who regards fitness, wellness, health and environmental issues as an intrinsic part of his life, encourages all cyclists to enter the races and save our rhinos.

Entries have opened and interested cyclist can enter the Ride and Race the Rhino cycling events online by visiting the Renosterveld website, http://www.renosterveldmtb.co.za.