Morné Basson aka “The Treadmill Guy” is a normal guy with a passion for people. He has been involved in creating awareness for various causes over the last few years through various and sometimes crazy events. 

 

He made a 180 degree turnaround in 2015. Morné wanted to run the 2015 Comrades Marathon in South Africa but found himself working onboard a luxury cruise-liner in Alaska at the time of the race. He is someone that doesn't believe in challenges in life but rather opportunities. He contacted the Comrades Marathon Organizers in South Africa and informed them of his plan to run the "race" - the full 90km - on the same day as the actual event on a treadmill on board the luxury cruise ship - Celebrity Solstice, in Ketchikan Alaska. 

They thought Morné was crazy but loved the idea and supported him in his effort. He successfully completed the distance and became the first man ever to run an ultra-marathon at sea… This challenge was done to create awareness for people suffering from MND (Motor Neuron Disease). This story touched thousands of people as several news channels mentioned this in their news headlines on the day. Social media was also very active with stories about the event… A certain lady (Wilma Loggenberg) commented on a Facebook post as encouragement for Morné… That was the start of many inbox messages on Facebook. He never asked for her number. They started to learn everything about each other and shared hours and hours together talking on social media. Even though they were two people with completely different personalities and thoughts on life (Morné soft and sometimes shy and Wilma loud and outspoken) they both had one thing in common: A small heart and empathy for others.

Early in 2016 Morné decided to take this a step further. His goal was to run 160km on a treadmill, for the same cause - creating awareness for those suffering from MND. During the build-up for this event Morné attended a golf day he helped to arrange for MND awareness. Morné checked in at the event and Wilma saw the Facebook post and commented that she was in the same area. They decided to meet for coffee at the Wimpy in Sunward Park, Boksburg. Morné was married before with no children. After months of talking on social media, Morné met Wilma in person. They had coffee and the rest is history. They were a couple from that day onwards...

 

The next treadmill event (160km on a treadmill in one go without getting off once) was planned for July. Morné suffered from Meningitis only weeks before the event and plans for the event had to be put on hold until later in the year… Morné ran the “race” on 16 December 2016 in Cape Town at the SA Rugby Museum. The plan was to finish the 160km within 18 hours. It was an extremely hot and humid day as a heat wave hit Cape Town that afternoon – something not often experienced to such an extend in that part of the world. Bicycle and road races in Cape Town were cancelled that weekend due to the extreme heat. The Treadmill Guy was determined… Morné started very well but soon realized his body was taking strain. From about 25km into the race Morné started to suffer. It is still not clear if it was still side effects from the Meningitis, the extreme heat that caused dehydration or his challenging training program through the year that got the better of him on the day.

 

He is a fighter and refused to give up. He kept going throughout the night with the support of Wilma, family and friends. The next morning, after already being on the treadmill for 12 hours, Morné was struggling. His mind was strong, but his body was suffering. Morné, being very passionate about health and wellness, would not do anything to put himself at risk. He had to slow down and started to walk. The help of a good friend and doctor was called in. It was confirmed that Morné was completely dehydrated. He refused to get off the treadmill – thinking about all the people suffering from MND that is “trapped” in their own bodies that can't go anywhere or do anything. He was devastated knowing that he might not achieve his goal of finishing the MND160km Treadmill Challenge.

 

After being on the treadmill for 19 hours, after running with a drip in his arm, after much pain and many tears, Morné decided to call it a day. He managed to do 90km with a broken body. It would've been irresponsible to continue. Reflecting on the event, Morné realized that what he went through on the day is what MND sufferers go through daily… They plan their life and then suddenly life throws them a curve ball. They try to finish the race – in their minds believing that they can, but their bodies have different plans. Motor Neuron Disease is a crippling disease and one of the most devastating diseases around, not only for patients but also for their families and loved ones. Before he got of the treadmill, he promised himself that he would be back doing something bigger and better… 

 

In his own words: “I might have lost the challenge but in my heart it feels like I won the race.”

In 2017 Morné challenged himself once again - this time raising the bar. He decided to run 31 Marathons (42,2km) in 31 days on a treadmill at various shopping malls in Gauteng. He started on 28 September 2017 and finished with the last marathon on 28 October 2017 At Carnival Mall in Brakpan Gauteng. 

 

It was a tough and challenging experience with his body taking a lot of strain. The biggest challenge was keeping the mind strong… Morné successfully ran a total of 1308,2km. The last marathon was quite emotional. Morné, whilst still being on the treadmill entertained the crowd in the mall with a very inspirational talk. Chariots of Fire and other favourite songs of Morne, each with a special meaning to him, were played loudly on the sound system. Tears were flowing all over… Morné got off the treadmill and as with the previous challenge in Cape Town, he get off the treadmill and gave Wilma a huge hug... Little did he know what was about to follow in the months to come. 

 

Wilma has always been just as passionate about creating awareness for MND. She supported Morné in all his efforts. Wilma and Morné got engaged on 17 November 2017. During December 2017, they took Wilma's dad, Gawie Loggenberg, on holiday in the Western Cape. They wanted to spoil him and show him all the special places they loved and enjoyed so much. 

 

Wilma was a workaholic and great in her job as a project manager. Since their return from holiday Wilma suffered from severe sinus. Unfortunately, Wilma (like many people do) neglected her health… It was most often because of work, doing more, deadlines that needed to be reached, answering emails late at night… She never wanted to take of work when she was sick, as she never wanted to let her clients and company down. Far too many companies get away with creating an environment where employees feel that they need to do more than what's expected of them in order not to lose their jobs. This is often the case with many people in a working environment. Morné hope that by sharing this it would be a wake-up call for others…

 

On 11 March 2018, Wilma was supposed to fly to Accra Ghana to kick off another project. Wilma and Morné still had friends over on the evening of the 10th for a barbeque. That Sunday morning when they woke up, Morné saw Wilma was not herself and asked her not to fly… Wilma, being true to herself, replied by saying she cannot let her client and company down – and Morné took her to OR Tambo International Airport… 

 

The flight attendants onboard suddenly realized she was getting worse. A decision was made not to let her fly. Morné, who was still close to the airport, fetched her and immediately took her to hospital. Wilma was under the impression that they were going home, still being in work mode… She even asked Morné to please help make arrangements for her to fly the next day…

 

Wilma was admitted to ICU after treatment at the emergency room at the hospital. That afternoon all seemed to be under control, with Morné being by her side throughout. That following morning at 1:20am things took a turn for the worse… Wilma's lungs started to collapse. They had to start with the intubation process. The doctors asked Morné to wait outside, as it was not a pretty picture to see and something that could be very traumatic for most people. Morné told them that he wanted to be present. Slowly Wilma's body started to give in. Her heart stopped soon after and they had to start with the CPR. Morné held her hand through all of this and kept on praying… God had other plans. After being declared dead, the nursing team still tried to resuscitate Wilma for another 45 minutes – they refused to give up… Morné was left to tell her dad and beloved sister (Nicolene) that Wilma passed away...

 

Wilma had a condition called “Atypical pneumonia” (sometimes being called walking pneumonia). Most people with this form of undetected pneumonia often don't even realize they have it – therefor often going undetected. They often feel well enough to continue with their normal routine… 

 

Within a matter of seconds your entire life can change… That very same morning Morné promised Wilma's Dad that he would somehow find a way to take something positive from the situation and try to assist other people. 

 

Having lost Wilma, Morné knew he would somehow have to find the strength to carry on with life. He did cancel his event planned for 2018. Morné was left heartbroken, yet he was still thankful for their time together. He keeps on saying that they were truly blessed. 

 

One Friday morning, four weeks after Wilma’s passing, whilst sitting in the same church where Wilma's memorial service took place (Morné attended the memorial service of another MND sufferer), Morné suddenly received a word from God telling him to start training again and focus on a next challenge. After the memorial, Morné stopped at the Wimpy restaurant just down the road from the church in Sunward Park, Boksburg. Whilst sitting there having a coffee, the same message from God came again, this time with the number 72 being very clear as part of the message. That evening Morné started to do research… The result was the 72 Day 72 Half Marathon Treadmill Challenge.

 

On 7 January 2019 Gawie Loggenberg, Wilma's dad also passed away. He had a stroke. It's been a very tough time for Morné. Life is short. Life is not fair. In his words: “We cannot change yesterday. We certainly don't know what tomorrow will bring. Make today count.” 

 

Morné refused to give up on life. He continued trying to make a difference, especially in creating awareness for MND. 

 

Morné often use the words: “NO REGRETS”.

 

That is his message to everyone out there. Live your life in such a way that when there is a setback of whatever kind, you can always look back and say no regrets - whether that is health, religion, financial or even in a relationship. Make now count… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morné was blessed to meet someone special again. Life always brings a smile to those willing to accept the blessing... Andrea came into his life and Morné's heart was happy again.

 

Morné started his next challenge on 15 July 2019 trying to better a Guinness World Record by running 72 Half Marathons in 72 days on a treadmill at various Planet Fitness Health Clubs across South Africa. Once again raise awareness for Motor Neuron Disease. He successfully completed this challenge on 24 September 2019 at Planet Fitness Fourways in Gauteng. During this challenge he met the team from The Character Company. They do long-term mentorship for young boys growing up with absent fathers. What they do touched his heart and Morné instantly knew he wanted to get actively involved with another campaign… Throughout this challenge Andrea supported Morné unconditionally. Many people might relate to challenges in a new relationship after you lost someone and this was no different, but they were destined to end up together. Morné and Andrea de Jager is still a very happy couple. Morné share this story with many people to encourage them never to give up. “Happiness is always around the corner, regardless of your current circumstances”. 

 

In 2020 Morné took on his next crazy event, this time in support of The Character Company (TCC). Yes, it was another 72-day event… Morné, being very passionate about health and wellness, always refers to correcting the cause of health problems in order to get rid of the symptoms. What TCC to and stand for ultimately help fight the cause of so many problems in our society – young boys growing up with absent fathers. In order to stop corruption, gender based violence, racism, bullying and many other challenges in our communities, the long term solution is to change the hearts of our young children by teaching them good values and show them the heart of God. The #Bthat1 campaign started on 2 October 2020. Morné decided to challenge himself by doing something completely out of his comfort zone. He took on a cycling challenge (not being a cyclist at all) and cycled 72km’s each day for 72 consecutive days – a total of 5184km. He successfully completed this challenge on 12 December 2020 at the Valley View Shopping centre outside Planet Fitness. The last day was amazing with the parking lot filled with spinning bikes and many people cycling with Morné to celebrate this achievement and supporting the cause. Yes, Andrea was there to share the special moment with Morné.

 

2021 will be a super amazing year. Morné will take on a different challenge – again something very close to heart. The number #72 will feature once again – this time slightly difficult, again taking Morné (and those keen on joining him) out of their comfort zones…  

 

Also look out for his next inspirational book that will be available soon! Take a guess what the name will be...

 

Please visit the HEALTH page for more info.