Cause Index

MBIHealth - Half Marathon World Record Attempt

In support of Morné Basson in his half marathon world record attempt to raise awareness for people suffering from Motor Neuron disease as people with Undetected Pneumonia. Read below for more info...

In loving memory of Wilma Loggenberg.

Morné Basson has been involved in creating awareness for people suffering from Motor Neuron Disease over the last few years through various (sometimes crazy) events. Through one of his crazy challenges in raising awareness, he met his beautiful Angel, Wilma’tjie…

Morné (Founder of MBIHealth) wanted to run the 2015 Comrades Marathon again 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 mad but loved the idea and supported him in his effort. He successfully completed the distance and became the first man ever to run a ultra marathon at sea… This challenge was done to create awareness for people suffering from MND thousands of people were touched by this as several newspapers as well as TV news mentioned this in their news headlines on the day.

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 people suffering from MND. Through the buildup for this event Morné met Wilma and it was love at first sight.
The "race" was planned for July but Morné suffered from Meningitis 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. Technogym offered their help and Go Health Fitness Club Group go involved and provided the treadmill as well as all the arrangements for the event. The plan was to finish the 160km between 18 hours without getting of the treadmill once. 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. Morné started very well but soon realized the body is 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 being on the treadmill for 12 hours already, Morné was really struggling. His mind was strong but his body was taking strain. Morné is very passionate about health and wellness and would not do anything to put himself at risk. He had to slow down and started to walk – at times walking extremely slowly. The help of a good friend and doctor was called in. It was confirmed that Morné was completely dehydrated. He refused to get of 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… 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 not only for patients but also for their families and loved ones. Before he got of the treadmill he promised himself that he will be back doing something bigger and better…

In Morné’s 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 venues in Gauteng. The goal once again was to raise awareness and funds for MND patients. Unfortunately the fundraising did not go that well but the awareness that was created was immense. He started on 28 September 2017 and finished with the last marathon on 28 October 2017 At Carnival Mall in Brakpan Gauteng. (This was the town where his beloved Wilma’tjie grew up) It was a tough and challenging experience taking a lot of strain on his body but more so on the mind… Morné successfully ran a total of 1308,2km at an average of under 5 hours per marathon - with the last one being done at a time of 3 hours 47 minutes. Wilma was there all the way to give Morné all the support and love he needed. The last marathon was quite emotional with Morné finishing strongly. Morné whilst still being on the treadmill entertained the crowed in the mall with a very inspirational talk.. Chariots of Fire and other favorite songs of Morné and Wilma (each with a special meaning to them) 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 took Wilma in his arms and just held her for a while… Little did he know what was about to follow a few months later…

Wilma has always been just as passionate about creating awareness for MND. She supported Morné in all his efforts. Their relationship was an absolute fairytale, with their Facebook profiles being a true reflection of their happiness. They were both truly blessed. It was a relationship of giving 100% and not expecting anything in return.

Wilma and Morné got engaged on 17 November 2017. It was the happiest day of their life’s. After a wonderful December holiday in the Western Cape (they took Wilma’s dad with as she always wanted to spoil him and share with him all the beautiful places that she visited with Morné) 2018 started in full force. Wilma was a workaholic and great in her job as a project manager. Since their return from the holiday Wilma suffered from severe sinus. Unfortunately Wilma often neglected her health… It was always about work, doing more, deadlines that needs to be reached, answering one more email late at night… She never wanted to take of work, as she never wanted to let her clients and company down. 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 braai. That Sunday morning when they woke up, Morné saw Wilma was not feeling well 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… Little did they know that would be the last time ever to walk onto a plane... The flight attendants onboard realized she was not well and 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 be flying 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 to see. Morné asked them to be present. Slowly Wilma’tjie body started to give in. Her heart stopped soon after and they had to start with the CPR and the defibrillation process. 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’tjie for another 50minutes – they refused to give up… Morné was left to tell her dad and beloved sister that Wilma passed away… Wilma had a history of taking medication for various reasons, but the fact is she never put her health first.

She 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 a seconds your entire life can change… Wilma and Morné’s beautiful love story ended. That very same morning Morné promised Wilma’tjie Dad that he would somehow find a way to take something positive from the situation and try to assist other people – that is the type of person Wilma was as well…

Motor Neuron Disease was something very close to heart for both Wilma and Morné. Having lost the love of his life, Morné knew he would somehow have to find the strength to continue with this to honor Wilma. But he also knew that there were other things very important to Wilma, like Children’s Havens, especially one in Brakpan close to where her she grew up. Morné had plans of another crazy challenge in 2017, but with the passing of he beautiful Angel Wilma’tjie, that plans were no longer an option. Morné was left heartbroken, yet he still keep on saying that they were truly blessed. Many people never experience what Wilma and Morné sharred in just over two years, even when they are married for 50 years. People that followed them on social media as well as their friends and family knew how happy they were in the almost perfect relationship…
It took a while for Morné to decide what he will take on next… One Friday morning, whilst sitting in the same church where Wilma’s memorial service took place (Morné attended the memorial service of yet another MND sufferer), Morné suddenly a word from God telling him to he must 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. That is also the very same place where Morné and Wilma met for the first time in person to years prior, even thought at the time they were already talking to each other on Facebook for more than 3 months, learning everything about each other. It was love at first sight and Morné knew that day already that he wanted to marry Wilma… (He even told her that on the day…)

Whilst sitting in the Wimpy Restaurant, knowing that God already spoke to him about the next challenge, Morné had another message from God. Right there and then Morné knew what his next challenge would be. That next Monday Morné started preparations for his next crazy event…
Morné will be staring on 31 December 2017 in Melkbosstrand, Western Cape with the first of a minimum of 72 half marathons (21.1km each day for 72 days). Melkbosstrand was very special to both Morné and Wilma… The plan is to run every half marathon in a different town in South Africa. The last half marathon will be done on 12 March 2018 and will finish at the same church in Boksburg where Wilma’s memorial service took place.

Previously Morné did all his challenges on a treadmill. This time around he will do it outside on the road – with people being invited to run with him in each town where he will be doing a half marathon.

Morné is doing this to continue to raise awareness for MND. This time around he will also focus on raining awareness for Undetected Pneumonia and hoping to inspire people to live a healthier lifestyle. Morné will use the next few months spread his message and to visit schools, companies and churches, sharing his message.

The Half Marathon World Record Attempt will be done and memory of Wilma’tjie and also to those suffering from MND.

Please follow the Facebook link on the HOME page to get updates on his schedule and also to know when Morné will be in your town!

Morné will need lots of support and funding for his project. Should you be able to assist with accommodation, petrol, running shoes or anything else, please get in contact with Morné.

Feel free to email Morné at morne@mbihealth.co.za
Join Morné in spreading the word and start living a healthier lifestyle today.

“We cannot change yesterday. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. But we can make today count…” – Morné Basson.