I belong to a Facebook group called We Run The World. It’s comprised of runners (no surprise there) from the Foreign Service from (again, no surprise) all over the world. It’s quite inspirational and sometimes informative, as people ask questions, post achievements, and throw down challenges. If you follow this blog you may remember this challenge from the end of 2014.
Earlier this year, someone threw down the challenge of running a virtual 5k. The idea is that we’re all part of the same race, even if we’re spread out on multiple continents. The organizer organized it as a fund raiser on behalf of a Foreign Service family whose child was recently diagnosed with Diamond-Blackfan Anemia. Another FS runner designed the shirts. It was quite the global initiative.
Here at US Embassy Bujumbura I decided to join forces with the Community Liaison Officer (CLO) whose job it is to organize events for the embassy (among many other things). He and I spread the word, got people excited, ordered t-shirts, collected money, and chose a date.
The week leading up to the race was filled with rumors about a possible upcoming political event that put the reality of the race in jeopardy. I was devastated, because as I had mentioned in a recent newsletter article, organizing this event brought together many of the things I love: running, promoting healthy activities, fostering community, and organizing people to have fun.
As it turned out, the run was scheduled for early morning and the political event late morning, so we were able to gather and get’r done without a hitch.
From its humble beginnings as a 5K with a couple of friends, I’d say Team Bujumbura’s Around the World 5K was a great success, captured here in beautiful photos by my ever-ready photographer, Randy.
Here are Renee the ELF (English Language Fellow), Hilary, and Michelle our female winner, relaxing before the race starts:
And they’re off! A beautiful day in the beautiful setting of Jardin Public:
That marine in the blue shirt didn’t stay in the lead for very long:
And the winner! David Tietze, who, much to my jealousy, just completed his first half marathon: The Kigali International Peace Marathon. Congrats, David; I’m totally green with envy, although running a half or a full in a city named The Land Of A Thousand Hills may not be my dream race!
A few more action shots:
HILARY! That HAIR! Can you believe this girl just carried that hair around for a full 26.2?? Congrats, Hilary!
Here are the race organizers in their glorious finish: Ian the CLO, Guita the lovely, and yours truly!
The US Embassy Bujumbura 5K really was a great success. We had fifteen runners, a cheering squad nine strong which included three toddlers and one Flat Stanley, and two dogs. Here we all are post race. Props to the head of the cheering squad, Jim and Kate Carney for support, time keeping, and the sign!
Here’s a close up of the fun shirts, designed by a FS officer in Kyiv, Ukraine. Note all the participating embassies from all over the world! (Note, too, this is soaking wet from the sweat of our winner! Plus, I like how CO rated as a country. While I’m in total agreement, I still don’t know how that happened! 🙂 )
After the race, some of our spectators took the opportunity to give some lovin’. It’s like a petting zoo, only better!
Even the ambassador participated. True to form, she was late, so here we are, walking the course with Quandary after everyone else finished.
This may seem like an uncharacteristic post: lots of pictures and an entire post dedicated to a relatively small event: a 5K. I decided to post this “latergram” because I wanted to preserve this wonderful memory of a beautiful day and a fun event. And because our Around the World 5K on April 25, 2015, may go down in the annals of history as our last happy day in Bujumbura for quite some time.
it’s five weeks past the event today, and sadly, that statement still rings true. Stay tuned for the explanation of why in the next blog post coming shortly.