RUN FOR RANGERS AT THANDA SAFARI
The upcoming Run for Rangers event – a two-day marathon (on July 9 and 10) through big five territory – is the brainchild of Harry Bailey, a young Grade 12 Hilton College learner with a passion for wildlife and a desire to champion the often forgotten, but true, heroes that make this possible – the game rangers.
Bailey is a young man on a mission! Conservation is central to the lifeblood of many communities across South Africa, he believes. If there is no wildlife, there will be no tourism and the adverse knock-on effects will be significant.
The event will be, quite appropriately, held in July, which is International World Ranger Month. It will therefore highlight the work done by the many brave men and women across Africa’s protected areas who battle life threatening challenges associated with everything from poaching to providing veterinary care to endangered species. At the same time, they have to contend with poor funding and dwindling resources, especially in the wake of the fall-off in tourism during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bailey’s Run For Rangers expedition aims to create awareness of all that is done by rangers as well as to raise funds to aid them in all aspects of their work – from training, to assisting the K9 unit, to aerial support, community education and engagement.
It also aims to help create awareness of the significant work that Project Rhino is doing.
Thanda Safari, a private game reserve in KZN is hosting the event together with Sport for Lives movement and Project Rhino.
Bailey will be doing a 100km run through Thanda Safari’s vast open spaces in the northern reaches of Zululand where the Great Rift Valley meets the Lebombo Mountains over two days with some armed Thanda Anti-Poaching Rangers escorting him and his team.
He will be accompanied by former Sharks Captain and Springbok rugby player, Keegan Daniel and Chris Kingsley, co-founder of Sport for Lives (www.sportforlives.org). The former bodyguard of Nelson Mandela, Rory Steyn will be joining them on Sunday only.
The Thanda Safari ranger participants, Vusi Gumede and Siyabonga Zulu, are both in the Thanda Safari Reaction Team. An invitation has been extended to marathon runners Ntombi Ntuli, a Thanda housekeeper, and Peace Nyawo Thanda, a field guide, to take part.
Thanda Safari is providing accommodation, meals and passage through the reserve for the team.
Bailey confesses that he is not a natural runner. “But I was inspired by my school to go the extra mile for others and I want to challenge myself. In the same breath, I am also challenging the two rangers running with me to run 100km in two days. Most importantly, I want to challenge the public to sponsor R1 000 (collectively) per completed kilometre that I run,” he says.
While on the run, Bailey’s intends to get to know the two rangers escorting him for the two days – to hear their life stories, learn how and why they became rangers and to find out more about their communities.
It is hoped that Run for Rangers will become a staple in running calendars, says Thanda Group Head of Business Development, Nadine Delvaux. “It really would be amazing if this run became a ‘legacy’ event here at Thanda Safari, as has happened at Hluhluwe, Umfolozi and Manyoni.”
Bailey is aiming to raise R100 000 (R1 000 per kilometre), and the public can get involved by pledging an amount per km or making a once off donation by using the unique campaign link on the Sport for Lives website. (https://sportforlives.org/campaigns/run-for-lives-run-for-rangers/
Social media handles:
@projectrhinokzn @thandasafari @sportforlives
@boysofhilton @flyingfortheenvironment @thirstiwater @keegan8tor @hiltoncollege1872 @expandasignsa