BENEFITING: FRIENDS OF IMAGINE1DAY INC
EVENT: #STARTARYOT Challenge
EVENT DATE: Nov 08, 2013
The question that I will continue to get asked, “Ben, why would you ever run that far?” has been lingering in my subconscious psyche for almost a month now. As I gear up to run what will be the furthest in terms of distance, (282km or 175 miles; almost 7 full marathons) longest in terms of time, (almost 30 hours of total running time, given that we keep an average pace of about 10-minute miles) most strenuous in terms of physical exertion (Scott Jurek, ultramarathon guru, describes ultramarathon running as, “a sport stuffed with long stretch’s of agony, that I belong to a small, eclectic community of men and women where status is calibrated precisely as a function of one’s ability to endure. Hallucinations and vomiting, to me and my fellow ultrarunners, are like grass stains to Little Leaguers. Chafing, black toenails and dehydration are just the rites of passage for those of us who race 50 and 100 miles or more.”) and unquestionably the hardest in terms of mental endurance, (This is considered the hardest barrier a runner will have to overcome during a long excursion) I feel an overwhelming sense of tranquility and aspiration.
Ethiopia has arguably the best running culture in the entire world and running is a part of the country’s wonderful history and a part of people’s daily lives. Along with Ethiopia’s saga of generating some of the world’s top distance runners, comes with the challenge for future generations to live up to the prestigious reputation laid out before them. This concept plays true for not only running, but for education and advocacy of Ethiopia’s youth for the future of the country. What could be better than running in the cradle of humanity, in a country where running is deeply engrained into daily life and a country that is full of rich culture and history? The answer: running to help educate Ethiopian youth and to provide them with the knowledge and resources needed to face the challenges of the future. Education through running is about as good as it gets.
Ryan Plourde, one of my good friends and fellow Peace Corps Volunteer, came to me with an idea that would change the end of our service and would help shape the memories that we share with other volunteers, each other, our communities for many years to come. We had discussed doing a project that would unite all of Tigray, the region that we both live and serve in as Peace Corps Volunteers. Tigray is located in Northern Ethiopia. We had discussed doing a project centered around music, education, art, sports and even running, but we never thought that we would decide on a run that would span 282km/175 miles and would unite over 10 communities along the way. We talked about this project ambiguously for several weeks and then one day, it was official, we had Peace Corps approval to run from my site, Hawzien to Ryan’s site, Alamata.
Thus, the TigrayTrek282 was born.
We are planning on running from Hawzien to Alamata over the time-period of a week. (October 31- November 7, 2013) We plan on stopping in eight towns along the way to promote our running lifestyle, to conduct an educational session with local kids on a wide array of topics such as: HIV/AIDS, environment, nutrition, school pride, tuberculosis, gender equality, people living with disabilities, exercise and sports, hand-washing and exam cheating, and to raise awareness about imagine1day and the amazing work they do.
The partner and recipient of the funds that we will raise is an NGO called imagine1day. (www.imagine1day.org) This is an NGO that works in the Tigray region and focuses on creating equal educational opportunities for all of Ethiopia’s children. 100% of the money that we raise will go toward their efforts here in Northern Ethiopia. This money is not going to be used to administration costs, for unnecessary purchases or for any ambiguous items. This money will go strait into the educational programs that imagine1day has already establish and it will also help expand and innovate the educational interventions that imagine1day carries out. Please look them up and see all the amazing things that they do here in Ethiopia!!
All of that being said, this is a run of a lifetime. This is a culmination of a lot of different ideas, lifestyles and motivations all coming together in the last couple months of our Peace Corps service. This is a run that is for a good cause, yes. This is a run that will bring in much-needed funding to the children of Ethiopia. This is a run that is focused on developing Ethiopia’s youth and giving them the tools to combat the issues and changes that the future is sure to bring. But it is also important to realize that this is overall a run. An event. A masterpiece. An event that will bring two cultures together through RUNNING. This is a sporting event that will make history and will be talked about for many years to come. This is a project that two Peace Corps Volunteers have engineered to cap off a 27-month service in Ethiopia. This is venue for friends, family and other Americans, even other countries to get involved in a meaningful project that has extraordinary obstacles for the participants and will bring about a story that will move people. This is a run that will be made into a documentary in order to ensure the longevity of the relationships, friendships, kinships and connections forged over the next 11 weeks. Yes, this is an amazing event that will pit each runner against himself or herself, while simultaneously uniting everyone as a team!
With the support of everyone back home, we are confident that we can finish the entirety of the run and we can finish it on schedule. We are full of zeal and we are ready to take on any impediment that stands in our way.
imagine1day allows all donors to choose which project 100% of their donations goes towards supporting. Our run and this fundraiser will be no different. Every cent of your donation will go directly to imagine1day and help with infrastructure development such as building schools, libraries, and latrines, and a grip of capacity building ranging from professional development programs for teachers, leadership and small business training for Parent Teacher Associations, and leadership and M&E training for our government partners, and much more!
See the affect your donation could have: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke8RxXC8y7Q
Now….it’s up to you guys! We appreciate all of your support and we look forward to working together!
Also, please check out my blog about this project, it will give you some insight on wht we are running for education:
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us:
Ryan Plourde: email@example.com
Benjamin Morse: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryan and Ben!