The Old Diocesan Issue5 Mar2020 - Page 58

Charity can be a great motivator for those looking to break records and perform
feats of physical endurance – none more so than Cameron Bellamy, who recently
rowed from South America to Antarctica… By Jeremy Ryall
ou need a certain mindset to commit to gruelling
endurance challenges – a
mind-set that trusts the suffering
and enjoys the hardship. Cameron
Bellamy (2000B) is no stranger
to this process. In 2014, he was
part of a crew that completed
the fastest Indian Ocean crossing
in a rowboat, and he is the only
South African to successfully
complete the “Oceans Seven” –
a marathon swimming challenge
similar to the Seven Summits,
consisting of seven open-water
channel swims. As mentioned in
Issue 4, he also swam a mammoth
150km from Barbados to St Lucia
in 57 hours – the longest-ever
channel swim in history – while
raising money for his charity,
Ubunye Challenge. More recently,
with a team of five like-minded
athletes, he navigated Drake
Passage, widely considered
to be the most dangerous stretch
of ocean in the world, in 12 days,
covering more than 600 miles amid
waves that reached 20 feet. While
this has been achieved before, it
had never been done in a rowboat
powered only by human strength.
The team was followed by the
Discovery Channel, with a short
documentary due for release
later this year.
“Endurance sports have
given me a chance to leverage
something I enjoy to give back
to others,” says Cameron. “This
is why I started the Ubunye
Challenge.” Founded in 2011, the
charity helps tackle the formal
education challenges among
children in the Eastern Cape.
I spoke to Cameron via email,
while he was in transit back to
his home in San Francisco, to find
out why he’s so eager to suffer for
charity – and how he deals with it.
for the extended version of
this interview with Cameron.
You started rowing at 13. What
drew you to the sport? My brother
rowed for Bishops, and did well, so
when I got to the school I decided
to give it a go. I fell in love with
it. Being on the water, moving
in sync with your crewmates,
and the heavy endurance
aspect all appealed to me.
What was your first endurance
challenge – and why did you do
it? After university, I lived and
worked in China for three years.
Then I decided to quit my job and
cycle to India, solo. The 6,000km
took four months; it was an
amazing trip filled with adventure.
Cameron Bellamy during his 150km channel swim from
Barbados to St Lucia – which landed him in hospital (below left).
Left: Navigating Drake Passage in a rowboat.

Read the full interview here on OD Connect

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