Blue Cross was conceived late in 1990 because of an argument about the position of the lowest point in Zimbabwe. Subsequent rigorous map searching pinpointed the Save-Runde confluence as the spot, right on the border and 150 metres above sea level. A look well northwards to Nyangani, the highest point, revealed a fantastic intervening variation in terrain. So the distance was measured….and found to be 500 kilometres. This round figure prompted some five years of thinking about an ultra marathon in aid of charity. In 1996 the event finally kicked off with eight Light Infantry and seventeen Pedal Bikers, all most uncertain of what lay ahead. It worked, twenty four out of twenty five came home and $80,000 was grossed – enough (in those days) to justify a second try.
Now entering its 14th anniversary there has been a total of 435 finishers – a noble and intrepid family from five different nations. All of them, their seconders, and witnesses along the route will vouchsafe that Blue Cross is no easy charity outing. It is extremely tough – matching any ultra-enduro in Africa and referred to rigorous international standards. Collectively these marvelous people, and you who are taking it on this year, have boosted Blue Cross to its remarkable prestige and no one now doubts our hard-won eminence in ultra endurance.
Although many loyal supporters labour ceaselessly to preserve and improve the quality of the event and its unique spirit, there is something about Blue Cross that defies definition. Perhaps Max Miambo gets close to the truth in his Infantry Foreword in 1999, ‘The event has its own special chemistry that carries you through thick and thin in an unbelievable team harmony between athletes and helpers.’
Founder of the Blue Cross Event