When I was a young boy I dreamed of running around the base of Mt. Everest and when I wrote an essay about it, was promptly scolded by my
grade school english teacher for not writing about something a little more realistic. In fact I was told to rewrite it. I didn’t. Got an F, but kept my dream.
Years later I was fortunate enough to have that dream come true.
So what does Africa have to do with Everest? Africa is home to Mt. Kilimanjaro, the worlds tallest free-standing mountain at over 19,000 feet and Mt. Everest, as we all know, is the worlds highest.
Two distinctive titles. Having run around one, it made sense to run around the other.
From October 21st to the 29th I will be embarking on the second circumnavigation run around Mt. Kilimanjaro. This is a 285 kilometer (177 miles) stage run that will cover the route over 8 days while running approximately 25 miles a day. The unique feature of the run is being able to run through five different eco-systems and spending the night in Tanzanian villages. Through SENE Expeditions and trip leader Simon Mtuy (a 10-time Western States finisher) our party of eight will be guided each day on the local trails by four Tanzanian guides as we make our way around the base of Kilimanjaro. It is fully supported, meaning we only have to carry our hydration packs and food for each days run. Breakfast and dinner are provided as well as tents each night. It will be not only a mix of local culture but also a mix from other countries as our party consists of three Idaho runners and two from Germany.
The rain forest around Kilimanjaro is home to a variety of birds and animal life which includes blue monkeys, colobus monkeys and elephants so we are hopeful of spotting a little of everything.
Training for such a run has consisted of multiple back-to-back-to back days of multi-hour runs. These vary from 3 to 6 hours and are designed to replicate the days we will experience but on a shorter duration level. In addition, doing trail races of 50km up to 100 miles have prepared me well for this endeavor but just knowing that this isn’t a race relieves a lot of pressure I often put on myself. I get to leave the watch behind, enjoy the scenery, the company of my new friends and hey, its AFRICA…..