Running the race for the first time, Melker is ready to conquer the marathon that will change her life and that of the three causes she is running for.
Originally from New York and registered as a midwife, Melker says seeing the finish line will bring tears to her eyes.
”I have three causes I will be running for and all are close to my heart. They are the motivation behind me running the Comrades sooner than I’d planned. I will be running to raise funds for New Beginningz, The National Brain Tumour Society and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.”
The New Yorker aims to raise awareness about these organisations and what they stand for.
“People can relate to the organisations we are raising funds for. People know someone or have a family member who has committed suicide, lost a parent through cancer or a friend that was abandoned at an early age,” said Melker.
The 27-year-old runner says the organisations are dear to her because of her own personal experiences. ”My close friend got diagnosed with brain cancer and seeing her fight for her life motivated me. My other friend Dejan Popovic, who is flying over to run the Comrades with me, also had a tough experience. He lost his mother due to suicide when he was six and I also lost a friend last year because of suicide.”
She started preparing for the Comrades in October 2013 and is finally going to live her dream.
When Melker quit her job in New York earlier this year, she flew back to South Africa to volunteer at New Beginningz, not knowing that she will find a club that would support her and her dream to make a difference.
“I met Cassim Kharbai in Durban while on holiday there. He is the one who introduced me to Haroon Abramjee.
They both have run 15 Comrades marathons each.
“They welcomed me to Jacaranda Athletics Club in Pretoria and they have since guided me in the right direction,” said Melker.
She took part in the 2015 Two Oceans marathon, finishing in a time of 5:32.
“She has a lot of potential, she is well-trained and she is running for a good cause,” said Abramjee.
“This truly is an inspiration to us as the Jacaranda Athletics Club to be part of her journey. We’d like to see her finish the race.
People who would like to donate can do so on: www.pastthedark.com
Original source: Running for charity