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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I want to teach and give back. I want the girls to learn about fitness, mental strength, and spirituality—and that you can do anything you put your mind to—no matter where you are in the world.
— Rhonda Vetere
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Press

These Fearless Women Ran 55 Miles Through Lion Territory in Africa
AFAR – The first annual Serengeti Girls Run is the ultimate Girl Power experience: The all-women event raised funds for women living on the edges of the wildlife-filled Serengeti. “This is more than just a run to me,” said Vetere. “I came back to speak to kids, to give back, and to hopefully impact someone’s life.”

Who Runs The World? GIRLS: How This Corporate Athlete Changed The Lives Of Girls And Women In Tanzania
SWAAY – In October 2018, I 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. Our solidarity ‘fun run’ with girls from the local community was an incredible experience for me – few of the girls ran along my side, holding my hand, and we sang Beyonce for the 4 miles. I will never forget how happy and free those girls felt as they ran down the streets of Tanzania.

Laces Tied Ready to Run
Thrive Global – As a runner, Rhonda has tread many miles of pavement, but no part of her trek has been more spiritually enlightening or life changing than the journey she made to Tanzania, Africa. The interactions she had with the people there touched her soul so deeply, that Rhonda decided it was imperative to travel there again to take part in a three day, fifty-five mile run through the Serengeti.

A Mindful Runner Shares What Drives Her to Train for the First-Ever All-Female Run Across the Serengeti
Sonima – Rhonda Vetere is a tech industry executive, an athlete, and, this October, a participant in the inaugural Serengeti Girls Run—a 55-mile, multi-day journey that aims to empower the next generation of female leaders. “I think the race is about more than running. It’s about self-esteem and wellness,” says Vetere. “I want to teach and give back. I want the girls to learn about fitness, mental strength, and spirituality—and that you can do anything you put your mind to—no matter where you are in the world.”