Stefan van Neel

Stefan van Neel


Cape Town, Western Cape


Trail Runner

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I’m a former professional football player turned Philanthropist who resorted to trail running during the challenging times of Covid. I Commenced trail running in July 2020 & developed a passion for it, combining it with the passion to give back to communities and charities in need.

I aim to Peak for Purpose by reaching higher heights and making a difference one kilometre at a time through trail running by creating more awareness with regards to cancer & mental health, through various campaigns & fundraisers.


Steve Boyes - First Ascent


What are some of your most memorable achievements?

  • Summiting 5 peaks in 5 hours raising R25 000 for Tygerberg Cancer Care home in March 2021
  • Summiting 10 peaks in 10 hours, raising R110 000 to keep Iris House Children's Hospice open in October 2021
  • Summiting 5 peaks in 5 hours raising in excess of R40 000 worth of essential items for Eikehof Cancer Care Home in March 2022
  • 24-hour Trail Run For Mental Health Awareness in partnership with JoinPanda Mental Health App:
  • I looped around Lions Head (5.2km) as many times as possible.
    • Completed - 21 loops
    • Distance - 114km
    • Elevation - 4000m

The purpose of this campaign is to provide as much exposure as possible to the public regarding mental health organisations and encourage people to reach out if they need assistance.


What are the ambitions that you are working towards?

I would like to keep making a difference where I can and also attempt to cover 160km which is 100 miles.

What are some of your top tips?

  • Remain consistent as your work towards the goals that you set out
  • Focus on the journey and not the destination
  • Find purpose in anything that you do, it hits home differently
  • Do not forget to have fun and be present in the moments!

What is your favourite First Ascent product and why?

Since I started trail running, I fell in love with the Mens Corefit 5 Inch shorts as it provided a comfortable fit and very soft and light material with a back zip up back pocket for my keys or phone. I then also recently tried out the AR-X 6’’ running shorts during a marathon trail race. The pocket sleeves provided extra storage space for my Jells and unwanted wrappers and also were very light in wet muddy conditions.