By MORE Than Sport
Posted in More Than Sport, on March 28, 2016
At MORE Than Sport we love sharing stories of inspiration, transformation, and redemption. Nothing brings us more joy than hearing, seeing, and sharing how our pros, ambassadors, partners, and fans are impacting their local communities and the world at large! We recently had the honor of supporting two American athletes - Kyle & Jolene - on an epic journey to Africa full of adventure, endurance, mountain top moments, and a humbling and heartfelt opportunity to give back to a people and community who had given them so much. We're excited to share their story in a 3 part series starting today. Part 1 of 3 - Running the Kilimanjaro Marathon!
Loving Life in Africa!
“We” are a couple of American gals, Kyle McClintock and Jolene Shaw, who met in grad school in Connecticut, studying to practice anesthesia as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. Both coming from upbringings that lent themselves to a passion for athletics, adventure, the great outdoors, and travel, it was evident upon meeting one another that our need to keep moving was going to be quite the common bond. Hence we’ve been extremely close friends ever since!
Working and living still in the Northeast (CT and RI respectively), our lifestyle is supported well by our surroundings. While being able to fuel our desire for marathoning, cycling, SUP, skiing, hiking, diving… we also find ourselves ultra lucky to have such amazing access to unending transportation options for one of our top-of-the-list passions…travel! Roaming about the planet, for us, can at times be viewed as a worsening obsession, so most recently when it was time to pick the next place to go, it of course came straight from the bucket list. On February 24th, we set off on an epic journey to Tanzania, Africa, for just shy of 3 weeks. Jolene had begun planning a trip to Tanzania a few years ago, and went with the highly recommended company, Roy Safari, out of Arusha. The original goal of the trip centered around climbing the one and only Mount Kilimanjaro and then experiencing the majesty of safari to boot. However, as planning progressed, especially with two geniuses such as ourselves involved, the itinerary began to grow. Before we knew it we were heading to East Africa with suitcases containing a potpourri of gear from zero-down sleeping bags and two-piece bathing suits, to ski goggles, scuba masks, and obligatory safari hats.
Start Line Selfies!
Our trip started out in the town of Moshi where we kicked it off with The 2016 Kilimanjaro Marathon. The marathon was agreeably one of the hardest athletic events either of us had ever competed in. However, it proved also to be one of the most unique, scenic, and memorable we could imagine. That’s probably why it ended up on Runner’s World top 5 list of marathons worth traveling to. The streets were lined with the local people of each village and coffee plantation we passed through. We figure most likely they were out there pitying us westerners for volunteering ourselves for the suffering that was ahead. All of them welcomed us runners, with outstretched hands offering a touch of encouragement, cheering “Jambo” or “Mambo” meaning “Hello!” “Hey!” or “What’s up!”. The kids stick out in our memories, running alongside us and other runners, some grabbing our hand so tight as to become a racer for just a few minutes. They were so appreciative for a smile or a few seconds out on the course, it was hard to let go when their legs slowed down. And likewise we were so appreciative for them, and their support and welcoming nature…and the welcomed distraction from the heat! They most likely won’t ever know how much the simple things they did helped us that day! Next Monday - Part 2 of 3 - Ascending Mt. Kilimanjaro!