Greetings, dear Readers.

It’s the end of December 2016 already!  While I know this year has been difficult for a lot of people in a lot of ways, I choose to focus on the many wins of the year.  One of the most significant experiences of this year is also one of the most significant experiences of my life– running the 90KM Comrades Marathon in South Africa.

I loved having the Running On Balance community read along on my journey to Comrades, and I appreciated your support more than you will know.  You got me through a really challenging day!

I am returning to South Africa in 2017 to run Comrades again, this time in the “up” direction.  (That means roughly 6000 feet of incline and 4000 feet of decline over the 55ish miles.)

I was so moved by the whole Comrades experience that I am choosing to run Comrades 2017 for a South African charity.  Thanks to my dad’s fantastic experience fundraising for Wildlands Conservation Trust in 2016, I have chosen to run for Wildlands this year.

Why Wildlands?

Wildlands Conservation Trust is dedicated to creating a sustainable future for all.

Our programmes are complimentary and all contribute towards our core focus of building robust ecosystems that underwrite human wellbeing and sustainable development. They are focused areas of intervention aimed at sustainable natural resource use and the development of a green economy.

Okay, that sounds cool.  But what do they actually DO?

One of the things I appreciate about Wildlands is that it is a holistic conservation organization.  They’re not just saving the black rhinos and elephants for the animals’ sake.  They understand the importance of the animals to the identity of the people. Their work to tag rhinos and dehorn them to decrease poaching has been a tremendous success.

Furthermore, the Wildlands focus on land and resource conservation links directly to improving the environment and people’s lives.  Programs like the Green Desks campaign– using recycled materials to make new school desks— is a real-world way of improving the lives of African children through conservation programs.  If I can raise R21000 (about $1500), together we will outfit an entire school classroom with new desks.

You’re right.  I want to help.  How can I donate?

Click on the link.  Donate.  Done. (Yes, it’s a secure link.)

Thank you very much!

Are you seriously asking me for money right now while I’ve just spent oodles of bank on gifts?

Well, yes.  I know your credit card number is on the tip of your fingers.  And with the strength of the US Dollar comparative to the South African Rand, you can feel like a big spender!  After all, 100 rand is just a little over $7.  1000 rand is $70. Give what you can!

Or maybe you have someone in your life who would appreciate the mission of Wildlands Conservation Trust, and your donation could be a gift in their honor.

Or maybe you just think I’m completely crazy, and that’s worth the price of a cup of coffee.  🙂

What’s in it for me?

Most importantly, you know that you are supporting an organization dedicated to animal, land, and resource conservation in one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.  As a global citizen, you’re participating in supporting a group with less financial resources even when you may not see the benefit yourself.

Also, I’ll be making a bracelet with the names of all of my donors on it to wear during Comrades 2017.  And, no doubt, as I am struggling to haul myself up all those hills, I will be reminded of your generous spirit and how thankful I am to have you on my side.

I’m not really in a place where I can donate.  Please don’t hate me.

I get that.  We’re good.  Thank you for your consideration.

I would be happy to have all of your good thoughts on June 4th.  I’ll need them!

Like last year, I’ll be including Comrades Updates here on the blog to keep you informed of how my training is going.  But if you don’t really care about running, I totally understand.  I’ll keep those posts to Wednesdays, with the regular Running On Balance posts about Fitting in Fitness and Well Balanced Women coming on Mondays and Thursdays.

As we close 2016, I leave you with the runner’s prayer:

May the road rise to meet you and the wind be always at your back!

Be well,

Karen

P.S.  Here’s the donation link again.