I wanted to write a blog regarding the Rafiki Run and highlight some people that have been doing it before we ever decided to give it a nifty name. Over the years, I have had the fortune of being in many places and making many life long friends. As Run the 1 continued, many people have wished they could be with us during our fundraiser but were not able because of distance. When Ali brought up the idea of encouraging those types of people to do their own Rafiki Runs in support of run the 1, I was intimidated. I am not a very strong social media kind of guy, and I'm not very good at trying to rally people to do things. The amazing group that now is with me for Run the 1 came together naturally and out of a love to help and enjoy a challenge together. However, I changed my mind and decided to back up Ali's idea and the Rafiki Runs because of two people specifically. Gam and Hanna.
in 2013, Gam was living near San Francisco, working on becoming a paramedic. He has worked all over our forest on different fire modules so he was really close with everyone. I hadn't seen him in a long time but I heard he was coming to the party for the fundraiser. That was all I knew. That year was the first time I ran 50 miles and I was dying and didn't really know what was going on that day outside of my personal misery. It was later that night when I saw Gam, that I learned he had ran his first marathon that day, without any support. He didn't know where we would be so, he got to San Luis Obispo and ran to Morro Bay and back as a way to be a part of the event with us. I couldn't believe it.
I met Hanna in Rwanda. She was kind enough to come and visit the kids and spend quality time with them and take phenomenal pictures. Many of the pictures you see now, came from her. Hanna lives in Seattle and can never make it to Run the 1 unfortunately. That has never stopped her from running though. Every year she has a ran a half marathon or a full one on the same day when we are running. I always draw strength from that.
So when I think about Gam and Hanna and how touched I was when I learned they were running with us even if they were far away, I realize that the Rafiki Run is extremely special. It is a huge show of passion and comradery. It may raise another dollar too, but that isn't what I remember as much. I remember how humble someone is to do the run even if there is no one there to cheer them on and congratulate them. I remember how those stories need to be known especially for the kids' sake because we can all learn from that type of honest effort. It is a pure effort, one that isn't masked by anything other than pure passion.
And the icing on that cake for 2015 is that Evode and Becky who take care of the kids in Rwanda have rallied the gang to run a 10k in the day we are running. Because of the time difference, I doubt we will all be running at the same time, but I know I will feel them when we are running. It makes me feel so happy knowing that the kids, Hanna, and anyone else who joins us from anywhere on December 5th, will be doing it all together for all of us. Run the 1 just keeps bridging so many great things about life and I am so thankful.
P.S. Now that I have gotten all of the corny stuff out of me, I would like to give a shout out to some of the boys that will be running in Rwanda.
Joel might die on the 5th. Just kidding. But really, he always wants to go on runs but he always starts walking. Countless times I have stayed behind him, trying to help push him. One time, we got in a rush and I had to carry him a ways. He was much younger then though. He is becoming a teenager soon and I think he will be alright. He is a sassy kid though who likes to poke fun though. I wish I could be there to give him a hard time and a few jabs for fun.
Emmanuel is the best running partner I've had in Rwanda. He will go out anytime with me, even if it is the middle of the day and it's really hot. Emmanuel is deaf so he doesn't try to talk my ear off either. We just have a nice peaceful time and I usually end up learning some sign language on the way. I could really use him over here when I run the long distances.
Mutaganira is one of the fastest runners I have ever known. He schools me when we go out sometimes. He ran Rwanda's marathon one year and got 30th place!
We can say a million things about Jack but when it comes to running, Jack is a work horse. He does the toughest runs with me. Jack is one of those people who sets himself up with tons of activities. He also is number 1 in one of the best schools in Rwanda right now. However, between all of his activities, he still must run either very early in the morning or in the evening.
Last but not least, I have to say a word about Yves. Except for Mutaganira, I expect Yves will win the 10k. I do not know if they will race or not or just enjoy it together but I do know that Yves will be first and he will race even if other do not. He is a small kid from malnutrition is his early days on the street but that doesn't stop him from running full speed with determination. I wish I could watch him fly out of the gates.
If you decide you'd like to do the Rafiki Run, tell us about it! Just tag #Rafikirun on facebook or instagram so we can follow along. As always, thanks for your support.