July 4, 2003
THIS DOESN'T happen at every marathon.
One of our runners had to dodge a herd of zebra," Jean Anderson
was saying Thursday. "Another one had a run-in with a rhino
and her baby. There was a helicopter keeping watch and it swooped
Anderson, 37, is director of development/research
at the UW Foundation. She's just back from an extraordinary trip
Africa, where she
ran a 26.2-mile marathon to support the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy,
55,000-acre preserve 140 miles from Nairobi.
Anderson didn't just
run in support of the conservancy, she ran in the conservancy -
26 miles of dirt roads and hot sun that added
to an experience she'll never forget.
Originally from Darlington,
Anderson has been in Madison since 1998. She has been long distance
running for four years and last
heard about a Boston-based company, Marathon Tours, that coordinates
trips and races worldwide. Last year was the first trip to the
conservancy in Kenya. Anderson signed up for this year's trip last
A total of 50 runners - 44 Americans
and 6 Mexicans - left June 21. "The
day they closed the U.S. embassy in Nairobi," Anderson said.
That was due to security concerns, and Anderson said that once
they were in Kenya, it was clear the country's tourism economy
a severe hit. "We never felt unsafe," Anderson said,
adding that wherever they went, Kenyans told them to go home and
the word that "Kenya is safe."
The group visited museums
and markets in Nairobi, though Anderson said it did not have the
feel of a city of more than 3 million
people. They stayed at a safari camp on the conservancy grounds
on game viewing expeditions where they saw rhinos, elephants, giraffes
and zebras in their natural habitat.
Each of the runners was asked
to raise money in pledges for the Tusk Trust, which helps preserve
the endangered species as well
schools and a medical clinic in the Lewa area. Anderson was the
event's first runner ever from Wisconsin, and she raised the most
any American individual - $1,950. All told the group contributed
The race itself was June 28. Of the
400 participants, 300 ran a half marathon. Anderson did the full
26.2 miles and was
performance at high altitude. Afterward the runners high-fived
and drank an African beer called Tusker.
Back in Madison, she was
happy to find the beer at an east African restaurant on State Street.
Did she order one?
Not here," Anderson said. "I had plenty over there." ...
2002 The Capital Times
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