Craig Kolesky and Ashley Haigh-Smith have recently had close friends fight cancer and win the battle. Kolesky says. “It wasn’t fun watching them go though what they had to deal with so we thought it would be fitting to ride this year with the CANSA crew and ride together to raise funds and awareness for the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) and to help fight this disease.”
The pair completed the race together in 2017 and are well experienced in this gruelling eight-day race, with Kolesky lining up for his sixth while for Haigh-Smith it will be his second.
“The Epic is a major challenge, that’s what lures me back every year,” Kolesky, a professional action-sports photographer, explains. “The race delivers something new – new routes; different weather; new friends – each year. It becomes a part of your lifestyle.”
“I love the challenge and the camaraderie,” Haigh-Smith echoes Kolesky’s sentiments on why he is back to tackle another Absa Cape Epic. “Also, as weird as it may sound, I enjoy the suffering.”
According to Haigh-Smith, who is a professional rally driver, it is also a very good goal to get his racing year on track. “It gets me focused for the year and the training is great cross training for rally racing” he says.
The CANSA cause is close to both their hearts and a great motivation to train hard and put on a good performance.
“Two members of our family have battled the disease and through that have experienced first hand the far-reaching effects it can have. At their CANSA Care Centres countrywide they provide holistic care, emotional and practical support to patients and families, from diagnosis, through all phases of need and we would like to do as much to help that as possible,” said Haigh-Smith.
CANSA works on three pillars namely Research, Education and Support. Their Research, Education and Screening campaigns aim towards reducing the cancer risk in South Africa through early detection and promoting a balanced and active lifestyle.