Meet the man behind the Lion
Kosta Nektarios Papageorgiou was inspired after returning from work on the cruise ships to get fit and take care of his body. Living in Cape Town, Lion’s Head was an obvious, beautiful, exercise choice. After arriving back from a summit, his housemate asked if he was trying to break a record.
The cogs turned.
Lion 500 was born. Initially Kosta planned on summit-ting Lion’s Head 500 times in 477 days…but work and life has made the journey last a little longer. I was down in Cape Town as I had already booked my flights for the Ultra Trail Cape Town 65 km…however after detaching my hamstring and now being 9 weeks post surgery, this was not an option. However, I wanted to explore Cape Town. Lion’s Head seemed a manageable hike and after enquiring on social media – I was directed to Kosta.
Lion 500: purpose
Kosta believes strongly in giving back.
To connect with people and nature. Be real. Become socially responsible and find a cause to fight for. Lion 500 supports 5 charities to raise awareness of social issues including mental illness. Each hike Kosta takes one of the “African Big 5” (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) with him to take a photo at the top of the summit. He purposefully engages with people.
I learnt a lot from him.
The first time I went up, I learnt that one doesn’t need to take selfies. I agree with Kosta. It is a little selfish. Ask someone to take a pic of you, and get to know them.
We met a runner, Callum Boyd, who flew up to the summit and at the top we had a great chat. Since Kosta summits so often, he regularly bumps into people who he has seen before and strikes up a conversation.
The second summit we managed to persuade Mandy Meyer of “Running4Meyer” to join us in this amazing experience. It was great to appreciate the beauty around us and get to know a fellow runner and blogger too. Love the crazy realness of her blogs and antics that she gets up to. Refreshing to see a what – you – see – is – what – you – get, approach to life!
This has been a journey for Kosta. He has found that he has learnt more about himself – his strengths, weaknesses, what he values in nature and in people. He has learnt to be happy with little and appreciate surrounding himself with the RIGHT people: optimists, positive thinking yet realists, as well as people that he can learn from through thoughts and ideas. He has met the most AMAZING people on his journey and in February 2020, he plans to pass the baton on to another Lion 500 to continue the journey.
How can we get involved?
If you are in Cape Town, join Kosta for a summit! You can easily get hold of him on social media facebook – Lion 500 – or he has a webpage which will give you more details about his journey, the reason behind the summits and the charities which he supports:
- Rape Crisis
- Animal Rescue (Fallen Angels and African Tails)
- Chipembere Rhino Foundation
- Depression SA
- WSAR (Wilderness Search and Rescue)
The last Roar
I love to engage with people. Hiking up Lion’s head for 45 minutes chatting away (poor people’s ears as I usually do all the talking!!!) and listening to other people’s stories was definitely one of the highlights of my Cape Town visit. Give Kosta a ring to summit Lion’s Head, and support this journey of purpose.
What has nature made you more aware of?