Here we go. I say ‘we’ because if you are reading this I will proudly and with little forethought take the liberty to say you are part of this adventure. So a big ‘welcome’ (Bienvenue for our Francophile following) to a virtual and somewhat anonymous community who is about to head out on a little adventure. The expectation of this blog is that as we progress up to and across the Serengeti we will share in laughter and doubt, brilliance and misguidance – all by observing and partaking in the everyday and the unconventional bits of life. We will question the old and welcome the new and never, ever stop asking ‘Why’.
So, just to recap, you are about to join a blond hair, blue eyed, over 50, woman running across the plains of Africa – if that does not make you want to be part of this group then stop reading now as you might not have the propensity for laughter and the attraction to the absurd to enjoy the rest of this story.
Now, after that opening let us pause, refresh, and tether ourselves to the reality of our situation. How have we have gotten into the current Serengeti saunter? For that we will need to go back to 2006, when Gnarls Barclay had the hit song Crazy(which has some great and appropriate lines, FYI) and it was also the year Pluto was downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet ( apparently another ageing phenomenon we get to look forward too).
In early February 2006, on the passage back from joggling around Antarctica in the capstone event for RacingThePlanet and their 4Deserts series, I swore I would hang up my running shoes for good. To be clear, I would not compete in another running race and, in fact, I would not seriously run again unless it was for a respectable and cool cause.
I held true to this promise until I received a ‘gateway email’ in March of 2018. (Truth be known, it was not a difficult promise to keep as I find long, long distance running very hard on the body – the mind pretty much sorts itself out!). The email slid past my SPAM filter as it was from a colleague I had worked with in the early 2000’s. When I opened it there was a feel good paragraph about how her then toddler girls are now heading off to college and other sundry updates. Then those fateful words ‘I immediately thought of you when a friend was looking for [fill in blank with absurd adventure]’. In this case her friend was looking for a handful of women to run a ‘few days’ across the Serengeti to raise awareness and funds for the conservation of the local lands and the education of girls in the region. Sounded really cool to me! And just like that, I knew I was sliding into another ‘what were you thinking’ escapade. (NB: at this point you should be envisioning the stereotypical scene from old scary movies when a woman in heels is walking up a dark side alley and all you want to do is yell ‘STOP, turn around, run away’).
However, all was not lost on my mature 50 plus year old self. I did attempt a due-diligence of the event and fully warned the organisers about my requirements and concerns. To keep the above alley analogy going… I at least took my heels off and turned on a flashlight before preceding up the alley.