For Rangers Ultra – Day 1
I’m nervous and I’m excited. My stomach is in knots and I’m feeling breathless. Surely this is a dream and I’ll wake up soon or maybe this is an elaborate joke and the punch line is about to drop.
When I was a child I wanted to be a film camera operator, a conservation ranger and work in outdoor sports, it looked like a noble and romantic way of life. I dreamed of visiting those serene and tranquil distant destinations and seeing those majestic creatures from ‘wild life on one’ and being part of enthralling events like those on ‘Transworld sport’. I made a space in my heart for these things.
Somewhere along the way, my reality became very different and until now, I haven’t visited places like that or worked in a job close to this: I’m now Save the Rhino’s Events Manager.
This afternoon I was in Green Park with my colleagues. Bonus. Meeting 27 incredible supporters who took part in Ride London-Surrey 100 (on the most miserable day of the summer) to raise money rhinos. Bonus.
Now, I’m about to go somewhere and do something I thought was not possible. It will be hard work and it will be challenging but, these are the things I signed up for.
I’m on a plane in the aisle seat of the emergency exit row. Bonus. I’m heading for Nairobi via Dubai from there I go to Laikipia, to the foothills of Mount Kenya and to four of the most important rhino conservancies in the country. Bonus. I’ll spend five days in the bush with all the big fauna (and the little fauna) and the people who dedicate their lives to looking after them, surrounded by an incredible landscape. What more could I want?!
Wait, there is more. I’ll be meeting 50+ brilliant runners who are taking on the five-day, 220 km, For Rangers Ultra to raise money for Save the Rhino and ForRangers.
I’m so pleased that my career has brought me here. But, this is not a ‘jolly’ and this is not a waste of your hard-earned fundraising pounds. I’m here for good reason.
The animals and destinations I dreamed of as a child are under threat. They’re not so serene, tranquil, or simple. The people that work here to protect wildlife, who I idolised as a child, lead a sometimes hard and difficult life, facing threats of violence on a daily basis.
So we and our partners ForRangers and Beyond the Ultimate, put together a truly unique and immersive event to raise much-needed funds.
We at Save the Rhino believe people will be encouraged to act using three points: head, heart, hands.
All of us here in Kenya have used our heads and hearts to get here and soon we’ll use our hands (and feet) to guide us through the next few days.
The team have so far raised more than £50,000 to support rangers on the frontline. You can follow the race here and support the real heroes, the rangers, by making a donation.