Running Toward Empathy: Uniting for a Cause at Run For Rangers

Running Toward Empathy: Uniting for a Cause at Run For Rangers

Run For Rangers 2023 – Babanango Game Reserve

Founded just over a year ago by former Hilton College pupil, Harry Bailey, who was only 18 years old at the time and not a runner by any means, Run For Rangers has become a truly unique annual event.

This event, which is not a race but a movement in solidarity with our rangers, involves participants running 100km over two days through challenging Big 5 terrain.

The primary aim of this event, which is endorsed by the International Rangers Federation & Game Rangers Association of Africa, is to shed light on the remarkable efforts of game rangers not only in South Africa, but across the world. Shockingly, this year alone 148 rangers have lost their lives on the frontlines.

However, thanks to the invaluable work carried out by Project Rhino, which provides support and training to rangers throughout South Africa, significant strides are being made in this field.

Empathy is a concept often talked about, but rarely explored deeply in our fast-paced world.

Sport For Lives believes that stepping into someone else’s shoes, figuratively and sometimes quite literally, should be a way of life for all.

The experience of pushing the runners’ limits alongside those who protect our natural heritage fostered a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by game rangers.

It was an opportunity for the participants to walk, or run, in the rangers’ shoes, gaining a profound sense of empathy for the crucial work they do.

Destination: Babanango Game Reserve

This year the event unfolded at the picturesque Babanango Game Reserve in Northern KwaZulu-Natal.

The mission was clear:

To raise both awareness and much-needed funds for the brave men and women who put their lives on the line daily, ensuring that future generations can also relish the sight of the magnificent big five and enjoy diverse fauna and flora.

This event was not just about running; it was about building bridges, connecting people from diverse backgrounds, and answering the question, “Are you as tough as a ranger?”

What made this journey even more remarkable was the incredible hospitality extended by the staff of Babanango Game Reserve – which is itself a proud Project Rhino member and benefits from their support through training of their rangers, canine units on the ground, air support and community education programs.

The warm welcome, delicious meals, and tireless care from this world-class Game Rangers ensured that the runners had the energy and motivation to push through the challenging terrain.

The reserve’s dedication and generosity in creating a memorable experience for all involved is truly commendable.

The event brought together about 12 rangers and 17 official runners, each supported by their dedicated teams, and included four Hilton College boys who were specially invited by Harry, ensuring the legacy could continue at the school.

These runners were not just athletes; they were ambassadors of empathy and unity.

When it got tough, singing led by the rangers themselves echoed through the reserve, lifting spirits, and reminded everyone that they are part of something greater than themselves.

Collectively, the runners raised over R590 000 through the Sport For Lives platform, with only 9 participants finishing all 100km of the grueling yet achievable run.

Run For Rangers 2023 is a poignant reminder that when diverse people come together for a common goal, extraordinary things can happen.

It showcased the power of unity, empathy, and the ability of sports to bridge the divides in our society.

The runners, support teams, and rangers became a family, bound by a shared mission.

Finally, this event also highlighted the power of collaboration, without the partnership between Babanango Game Reserve, Project Rhino and Sport For Lives, as well as the valuable sponsors, none of this valuable work that was achieved would have taken place.

Place Pledge

This is non-binding commitment of support to the fundraiser that you will make a donation amount based on the amount of goals/tries/kms/etc achieved.