East Africa is still filled with the wildlife Hemingway saw 80 years ago. The land is still vast, largely uncultivated, and sometimes approaches barren. Lions roam, wildebeests migrate, monkeys swing from branch to branch, and hippos swim. We are Stiv Twigg and Cameron Mehl and we live here. We are video/photojournalists with an addiction to adventure. Our journey will take us from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia through desolate Northern Kenya and into Uganda. We'll pass Lake Victoria and enter Tanzania near Mt. Kilimanjaro. Traveling the entire length of Tanzania and Malawi, we'll turn west in Blantyre through Mozambique to finish in Lusaka, Zambia.
Along the way, we'll visit CURE International hospitals, which provide surgeries for children unable to walk, in five countries. This journey is longer than the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails. The journey will gain and lose elevation two and a quarter times the height of Everest. It will take who knows how long (even though we hope not more than 4 months). It is at least 3,300 miles. It's more than dangerous. It borders on insane. Cameron will run the entire distance and Stiv will ride along on mountain bike. We'll document the entire trip and hopefully live to share it with everyone. To our knowledge, no one has ever attempted such a journey, especially in this part of the world. We know that it may sound impossible, but wasn't 4,000 miles of kayaking unbelievable? Wasn't Jennifer Pharr-Davis's FKT of the Appalachian Trail in 46 and a half days surprising? Was not Karl Meltzer's 2,064-mile run in 2010, where he ran an average of more than 50 miles per day more than was thought possible? With an estimated distance of 3,300 miles, even if we averaged 40 miles a day we would finish in just over 80 days.
Through experience we know it's not about the finish. Rather, it's about the sights and sounds along the way. Given that we're going to hospitals on the route, we have drop points for supplies and medical teams ready to help. We have the heart and motivation, we have the technical and physical prowess, we have the level of weirdness almost required to dream up such a trek. We hope to break the boundaries of what is possible in the world of ultra running and simultaneously increase awareness of a non-profit organization that helps to provide life changing surgeries to children who literally go from wheelchair to soccer field.
There is plenty of planning to do and we're more than capable of solving visa issues, route obstacles, and wild animals. We'll use the grant for food, a bike and trailer, running shoes, camera and solar power equipment, visas, for hiring armed escort most likely needed through the Serengeti, and more food. While we sometimes question our own judgement and sanity, we're sure we're ready for all this journey will bring and that it can be done. All we ask is for your support.
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