On the 12 November this year, over 1,000 runners took part in the 10th edition of theTegla Loroupe Peace Racein Kapenguria, Kenya. Warriors from numerous tribes across Kenya and Uganda (including Tegla Loroupe’s own Pokot tribe) ran alongside ambassadors, government officials and sporting champions to help raise money to bring an end to the cycle of conflict and violence that has existed for so long across the region.
The Be UNIQUE team
YPI Charter Manager, Carine Zanotti joined the Be UNIQUE team to raise funds for the completion of a school where local children, both boys and girls, will be able to learn about the real alternatives to the cattle-rustling and violence their parents and elders have now become so accustomed to.
“The Academy aims to show young people that there is an economic alternative to things like cattle-rustling,” explains Carine. “It will do this by teaching agricultural best practices, introducing skills such as bee-keeping, as well as scouting for the next new stars in athletics and sport to represent Kenya as a more united nation.”
Who is Tegla Loroupe?
The power-house behind the Foundation is marathon runner and World Record holder, Tegla Loroupe.
“Tegla was the first African person to ever win the New York marathon,” says Carine. “In fact, she went on to win it twice. Several years ago she decided to use her newly-established international profile to help improve conditions in her native Kenya, a country plagued by tribal conflict for generations.”
Convinced she could make a difference, Tegla began canvassing tribal leaders, eventually managing to convince warriors from different tribes to put down their weapons for one day every year and to run together in Peace Races.
“In 2006, over 3,000 warriors from six tribes across Kenya, Uganda and Sudan competed alongside international presidents, prime ministers, ambassadors and government officials in the third edition of the Tegla Loroupe Peace Race,” Carine continues. “It was a great success that not only introduced local people to a new way of thinking but it also drew a lot of much-needed attention from the rest of the world.”
The school, which is due to start admitting students from June 2012, is just one of a number of projects being undertaken by the Foundation. Carine and her Be UNIQUE team have committed themselves not only to ensuring the school’s successful completion but to also making sure it is properly equipped with the right sports equipment, books and educational material.
“Thanks to YPI and a number of other sponsors, we have raised over 5,000€ so far,” smiles Carine. “And there’s more coming in. We intend to produce some limited edition Christmas Cards to help generate some more funds.”
For Carine and many participants, taking part in the Peace Race and working with Tegla is a life changing experience.
“It changes how you see the world,” says Carine. “And not just because it was the first time I have ever run at 2,000 feet! What struck me the most was the huge welcome we received. People were so happy to see that we had made the trip over from Europe to support them by pounding the streets of Kapenguria. I feel fortunate to have met some incredibly brave, inspirational people thanks to Tegla.”
One man particularly stands out in Carine’s mind.
“He was called Joseph. In 2006, he turned his back on violence after 25 years as an active warrior by handing over his AK47 weapon to the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation. He told me: ‘you can steal cattle and other people's property…but education is one thing no-one can take away from you.’ This is the future he wants for his children…and it’s the future we want to help Joseph and all the people in that region to achieve.”
The Be UNIQUE team members are:
See the full CARINE BE UNIQUE Photo Gallery: CLICK HERE
To find out more about the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation, to be a part of it yourself or to donate:
Pascal Gerdsmeier: +33 (0)6 13 50 55 82
Julia Harrison: +33 (0)6 70 18 53 75.
For more on Tegla Loroupe go to: