In August 2018, for the first time, a multi-stage ultra-marathon took place in Kenya. There were fifty runners in attendance from fourteen different countries and, between race fees and individual sponsorships, over one hundred thousand pounds was raised to be split between Save the Rhino International and For Rangers.
Between that and the greatest marathon runner of all-time, Eliud Kipchoge, turning up to give out medals on the finish line, we could be forgiven for thinking at the time that we’d struggle to ever top that inaugural race.
Cut to the end of 2019 and we’ve learned our lesson. This year we had the same incredible adventure only with even more runners. We took seventy runners with us to race across Kenya this September and, thanks to their amazing efforts, we’ve managed to raise even more money. In total, one hundred and forty-seven thousand pounds was raised.
That means the official total for the two year’s combined is £258,951. Over quarter of a million pounds have gone straight into conservation projects supported by our race partners at Save the Rhino and For Rangers.
The opportunity to work alongside Save the Rhino and For Rangers for another year is something we’re seriously grateful for, and we look forward to continuing to stand alongside them for years to come. Both organisations have small, immensely hard-working teams who are deeply impassioned about conservation.
One of the truly unique aspects of this race is the opportunity for runners to see exactly where their funding efforts go to. For Rangers Ultra runners run among the rhinos who Save the Rhino work so hard to protect, and they do so under the watchful hawk-eyes of the rangers whose welfare is supported by For Rangers. This year we were even treated to a team of rangers entering and successfully completing the race themselves. There is a sense of community and of something genuinely positive being achieved during this event.
In describing the race, our Race Director Kris King had this to say, ‘This event has provided a lot of epic cinematic moments but more importantly, it provides a large injection of important funding. The total over the last two years is amazing. It’s great to know that this event is really making a difference to those who protect our wildlife. It’s also great to hear feedback from people who got so much from being able to meet the rangers their sponsors are supporting and come face to face with the wildlife the race helps to protect.’
The funds are now being allocated to more than 25 different projects across Africa. These grants will cover everything from life-insurance for the families of rangers, to training and equipment needed to help monitoring and protecting rhinos, down to sturdy boots for the rangers in the field.
Places for the 2020 race sold out as soon as the ballot was drawn and we’re expecting another team of 70 to take on the race next year. With luck we’ll beat half-a-million in fundraising in the first four years of the race, and more. To be a part of that, follow the race next year and be sure to enter the ballot as soon as it opens (watch out on facebook, twitter and Instagram for details).
To read about how running our Desert Ultra could help you beat the ballot and secure your place on the start line of the For Rangers Ultra, click here.
To donate to this year’s fundraising total, click here.