Running in Tanzania

While traveling around Africa on vacation, Rhonda needed to go for long training runs as she was slated to do an IRONMAN 70.3 Mile Triathlon the day after returning to the United States.

When she asked the managers at her camp in Tanzania for a good route for her run, they told her she’d be required to have security guard accompaniment in case they encountered any dangerous animals. She also happened to be the first woman to ever request an outdoor run.

She went for runs two days in a row, and a group of locals joined her for her second training run. Several of them commented on how she inspired them personally, and others mentioned that they rarely have the opportunity to enjoy exercise given the risky circumstances of their environment.

This experience and their perspective helped enlighten Rhonda about the degree to which we often take self-care and access to safety for granted, and it inspired her to want to become more involved with wellness initiatives.

As word spread about her runs in Tanzania, Rhonda was asked to participate in the Serengeti Girls Run, a 55-mile run over the course of three days.

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Serengeti Girls Run

In October 2018, Rhonda participated in the first-ever women-only run across the Serengeti wilderness as part of a fundraiser for female empowerment programs hosted by the Singita Grumeti Fund and BRAVE:

  • The run aims to raise funds and awareness about the challenges facing girls and women living in nearby communities and seek sustainable solutions.

  • The main focus is on opportunities for women to become leaders in conservation in their communities and countries.

  • Singita Grumeti Fund programmes include secondary school, vocational studies and university scholarships, life skills and enterprise development training, environmental education and internships.

On the first day, Rhonda spoke to a crowd of 400 local high school girls and then joined the other participating women for a solidarity ‘fun run’ with girls from the local community.

For the Serengeti Run itself, Rhonda ran 30 km / 18 miles each day for three days (for a total of 90 km / 55 miles), accompanied by the Singita Grumeti Fund anti-poaching scouts. While running, Rhonda and the other participants were able to witness the wildlife in the plains.

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The run in October 2018 was the first of its kind, combining a physical challenge with a luxury safari experience, all for a good cause. This inaugural year saw the participation of nine women runners of all levels, and each day the group set out running with the freedom to choose their pace and distance, the standard being 30 kilometres per day.
— Beezie Burden, Singita Grumeti Fund
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