This question was answered earlier this week at King Shaka International Airport in Durban.
Four amateur athletes and a local sport radio presenter vied to emulate Springboks and Toulon Rugby player Bryan Habana’s sprint against an A380. Apart from serious bragging rights, a trip of a lifetime was also up for grabs.
Last year, Bryan Habana’s Man vs Plane race, grabbed international attention, generating almost 2 million online views and rating as one of the top 10 most watched YouTube clips in South Africa.
This prompted BA to launch an international competition to find people who would take up the challenge. The competitors were selected from thousands of entries through a competition hosted on ba.com. They were flown to Durban, where they were hosted over the weekend by Tourism KwaZulu Natal.
Watched by Bryan Habana and a bank of media, the runners from the UK, France, Israel and South Africa took their turn to race the plane over 200 metres on a wet taxiway, parallel to the runway.
Rudolph Raath, a 23-year-old Project Manager from Cape Town, took the crown to become the fastest runner on the day, with a time of 23.800 seconds. And his prize is a pair of Club World return tickets on one of BA’s A380 direct flights to London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong or Johannesburg.
The brave runners:
Rudolph Raath, 23, is a Capetonian who played first-team rugby, water-polo and cricket for Fish Hoek High School, and now works as a project manager for a roofing contractor.
Elliot Havakuk, 35, has dual Israeli and British citizenship, is self-employed and assists companies in the environmental sector, including some involved in developing agriculture, water access and energy supply in Africa.
Heidi Hawkes, 30, works in the security industry and is due to get married next year.
Julien Maderay, 33, is a French Air Force officer, based in Brussels.
Also pitting his skills against the British Airways A380 aircraft, not to win the tickets, but for the thrill of trying, was Mak Dlamini, former Sharks Academy rugby player and East Coast Radio’s breakfast sports reporter.
A little about the plane:
The A380 has been at Durban’s King Shaka International Airport since January 27 for flight-crew training. The airline will begin scheduled A380 flights to South Africa on February 12, with three services a week.
This will increase to six in March and together with its 747-400 services the airline will offer two flights a day between London and Johannesburg. It also flies twice daily to Cape Town.