Shirley Harman

USD 200

Raised by 2 supporter(s)

Open Ongoing
Goal: USD 2,000

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The ForRangers Ol Pejeta Virtual Ultra Marathon 2019 - helping rangers from home. #VirtualUltraKenya

Torrance, United States
Torrance, United States

In 2018, ForRangers and Ol Pejeta Conservancy pioneered the first virtual ultra in Kenya. Enlisting participants from all over the world, the marathon was 1,245 kms long and traced a virtual route between Kenya’s rhino parks and conservancies. 31 people took part, and enjoyed receiving information about the wildlife areas as they went from one checkpoint to the next, while maintaining a demanding exercise regime.

For those of you who are not familiar with a virtual ultra, here''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s how it works:

The event was created for people who want to take part in a significant physical challenge for conservation, but don''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''t have the time, funds, health or even fitness to travel to some far-flung corner of the world and participate in an actual ultra marathon. This is much more of a slow-burner, a daily commitment that you can take privately, at your own pace and in your own style. All you need to do is cover a certain distance (see below) within a certain number of days - 365, to be precise. Using a fitness app, you log distances covered in each session - and this can be running, walking, swimming, rowing, playing tennis, riding horses - anything you please! - and enter them into a customised web-app.

So how did this all come about and why are there two names associated with this campaign?  It all started when I, Shirley, attended my 30th vet school class reunion... My classmate Lois is now a professional wildlife photographer who has become very involved in conservation in Kenya. That''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s her in the picture above with Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino a few months before he passed away. She mentioned that she is moving to Colorado, somewhere south of Denver, near the mountains. Well the notion of hiking the Colorado Trail has been bobbing around in the bucket portion of my bucket list for a few years, and during our recent road trip across Grand Mesa and Independence Pass the idea of a 457 mile trek across the Rockies started to turn into something that I had to try. And I had to try it soon, before Lyssa or I got any longer in the tooth, (she’s only 8 but I’m…., well I’d rather not say!)

The biggest challenge was going to be arranging all of the resupply stops and support crew. So I contacted Lois and asked her if she knew anyone in Colorado who would be willing to drive to remote mountainous road crossings for the Colorado Trail every week or so and bring me a box of fresh dog food and freeze dried trail rations.

Lois not only liked the idea and was willing to help, but proposed an even better idea- how would I like to participate in a “Virtual Marathon” and let all my hiking miles be used to raise money for a rhinoceros conservancy in East Africa? All I had to do was hike about 1200 kilometers during the coming year using an app to track my miles, and Lois would do the rest. No Problem!

No problem/ No brainer. I didn’t even have to think twice about the idea: what could be better than raising money for wildlife and hiking in the mountains with my best 4-footed friends? So that’s the concept- there’s loads of work and planning to be done first, and then of course there’s the fun part of actually hiking the hike!

The app will track my progress on a leaderboard, showing you how far I''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''ve made it along the "virtual route" - which will be mapped out on Google maps, as well as where I am compared to everybody else. It will also track how much I have raised for the conservancy. That''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s where my supporters come in.

This year, they will actually be offering two virtual ultras - the Wild Dog route and the Lion route. I will be attempting the longer Lion Marathon. You''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''ll also be able to see my progress next to the conservancy rangers (on their daily patrols), and even a collared lion, as they move around their territories!

Wild Dog Marathon

  • The same track as before: 1,245 kms around Kenya’s rhino sanctuaries
  • Average daily distance of 3.4 kms (2.1mi.)
  • Compete with one of our rangers on their daily patrols!
  • Registration fee: US$ 50

Lion Marathon:

  • The distance between Ol Pejeta and Kruger National park: 4,435 kms (2,755.8mi.)
  • Average daily distance of 12 kms (7.5mi.)
  • Compete with one of our rangers, and a collared lion!
  • Registration fee: US$ 100

What I commit to:

  • Raise US$ 1,000, which will go straight into equipment for the rangers
  • An active lifestyle

By supporting me in the 2019 Virtual Ultra Marathon, you will help make sure the rangers have everything they need to continue their critical work in conservation. 

Virtual Ultra Marathon 2018 is still ongoing, click here to view how our conservation champions are doing on the Virtual Marathon.

For more information about the Virtual Ultra, ForRangers or Ol Pejeta Conservancy, please get in touch with

To follow me in my training and preparation for my Colorado trek and the adventure itelf, follow this link to my webpage, Six!Dog Studio

To see some of Lois'''' photography check out

S Sorry for all the ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s, the word processor for this site seems overly fond of them!

Update 1:

Shirley Tells What Moved Her to Hike for Rhinos

Shirley Harman
USD 100  Contribution
Shirley Harman
USD 100  Contribution