Imagine eating only potatoes for 60 days? That is what Westville’s Debbie Ivins did, to help raise awareness and funds for the Inanda Trail Running Club, as part of her “Potatoes For A Purpose” project.

Ivins was set to run her seventh Comrades Marathon this year, but an unexpected injury forced her to put her plans on hold, finding herself on crutches instead. “Like most of us, I am no stranger to struggles and although at first, I was incredibly upset about my situation, I came to realise, like many times before, I had a choice. I could let this make me bitter or better and I chose the latter. I decided the best way to get through the next few months, was to keep an attitude of gratitude and get my mind off myself by helping others.” said Ivins.

The injured runner says her injury was an unplanned rest period, however has worked other advantage, doing something good for younger runners. “I have been inspired to try new things and am excited to work on different projects, which would never have crossed my path, if this had not happened.”

She said her goal is to raise funds for the children of Inanda Trail Running Club, where 60 members of the public, one person each for 60 days, donates R30 each.

“That R1800 will cover the transport expenses for the kids to travel to their trail running race. It’s the cost of a take-away coffee, but that one sacrifice you make, will go a long way to help this worthy cause.”

Ivins said her friends; Mmeli Ndimande and Patrick Canhman last year, have inspired her with their passion and big hearts. “They started the club in January 2018, to introduce the youth of Inanda to trail running, as well as helping the children to become responsible adults by making sure they have what they need to get an education, such as school shoes, clothes, books, pens and other stationery.

“Any of the above items mentioned, including monetary donations and food supplies for before and after races, would be graciously received and go a long way to helping Mmeli and the club fulfil their vision and goals for the future. This also includes reaching 100 children by the end of 2020 and saving towards building their very own club house,” she added.

Ivins said; “When I come back to running, I hope to pursue my goals with the same courage as before. There will still be lots of ups and downs, but I am focusing on the good in every day and see this setback as a learning experience. I am excited to keep working on my Potatoes For A Purpose project and sharing my story, while encouraging the community to get moving and live a healthy lifestyle. Focusing on the bigger goal, Ivins says, “Peanut butter has always been my favourite food but the humble potato takes a close second place. Even though I am limited physically, and unable to run, I’m going to keep a positive attitude and focus on what I can do, rather than on what I can’t.I refuse to become a couch potato. Crutches and crunches here I come. ” If you would like to donate towards this project or help in any way, please contact Debbie directly. You can follow Debbie on Instagram @debbie.ivins or Facebook. Alternatively, get in touch via email: debbie@ivins.co.za.