It takes a lot to stop the irrepressible “Running Bishop” in his tracks, but it happened one morning, when a guinea fowl launched itself into his face, sending him sprawling.
Normally timid guinea fowl can be ferocious in parental protection of their young and this seems to have been the case when septuagenarian Bishop Christopher Gregorowski stepped into the front garden of his Bergvliet home.
With a faceful of fowl, the good bishop was knocked backwards, fell over a stone onto a barrel, and ended in a bruised heap and with cracked ribs outside his front door.
The Right Reverend, seen by some as an Abe Lincoln lookalike, felt rather worse for wear but, happily, after a few weeks he was back in training for the half-marathon in the Two Oceans race this Saturday, April 15, which he runs for Fikelela Children’s Centre in Khayelitsha, a charity close to his heart.
But let him take up the story: “I was going to my garage to inspect the damage done to my parked car the night before by a person unknown, when a guinea fowl, protecting its 14 chicks, flew into my face. I stepped back, tripped over a stone, and fell backwards over an oak barrel planter and onto the front doormat over which I had stepped a few seconds before.
“That, on top of a nasty bout of shingles, took yet another month out of my already interrupted training.
“But I’ve been back on the road since mid-January and hope to be fit enough to finish the race on Easter Saturday, April 15.
“Perhaps my sad story will win some sympathy among potential sponsors.”
He is no slouch when it comes to putting his best foot forward. From 1979 he has run 10 Peninsula Marathons and 10 full Two Oceans ultra-marathons (permanent number 145) and has taken part in many other races, including 15 Two Oceans half-marathons (permanent number 127).
Last year, with readers’ and friends’ help, he raised over
R76 000 (a thousand rands for every year of his life).
This proved to be “seed money” for the Toyota Quantum the children’s centre needed, the rest of which has been generously given by a corporate donor.
His aim this year is, of course, R77 000 “to raise funds to paint our buildings inside and out, to train more of our child minders (a government requirement costing us R11 000 each for the year’s part-time training), and to keep abreast of ever-rising food and other running costs: imagine supporting a family of 40 children.”
Bishop Christopher served 12 years at St Thomas’s Rondebosch, three at St Saviour’s in Claremont, 11 years in Somerset West and is also very active in the Princess Vlei Forum.
Fikelela means “reach out“ in Xhosa and is the HIV and Aids outreach programme of the Anglican Diocese of Cape Town.
Fikelela was founded in 2000 with the vision of providing an active Christian response to the HIV/Aids pandemic in South Africa.
The vision of Fikelela is to mobilise the Anglican community to make a sustained positive contribution to the reduction of the number of new HIV infections and to drive HIV/Aids education and care, in partnership with others.
The Fikelela Children’s Centre has been running in Khayelitsha for 11 years, providing short term safe care for up to 40 children aged from birth to eight..
In partnership with Home from Home, the programme also runs a foster care home for six children in Zonnebloem.
Sponsorship may be made in cash or through GivenGain (Fikelela Aids Project stating your name and “Marathon”) or by making an electronic bank transfer.
Contact the bishop on firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to do this and for more information about the Fikelela programme, log on to www.