The Race Is On
ForRangers is a fundraising initiative set up to support the lives of wildlife rangers in sub-Saharan Africa. Founded in 2015, ForRangers was a concept developed by Sam Taylor and Peter Newland, aiming to undertake extreme endurance events to raise funds and awareness for Africa’s rangers - everyday heroes who put their lives on the line so that Africa’s wildlife can continue to exist.
In partnership with Save the Rhino International, ForRangers raises funds to improve training, purchase equipment, and support rangers’ wellbeing. Since ForRangers began in 2015, more than USD $2.5 million has been granted to them.
So far, the "Running For Rangers" teams have taken part in some of the worlds toughest marathons, including The Marathon des Sables, The Jungle Ultra in Peru, The Desert Ultra in Namibia and Fire & Ice in Iceland, a 500km run across the frozen wastelands of the Yukon in the infamous 6633 Ultra as well as numerous marathons, half marathons and Tough Mudders. The "Kayaking For Rangers" team completed the Yukon 1000 - a 10-day 1,000-mile kayak down the Yukon River. The "Riding For Rangers" team endured a similar distance over ten days in the Mongolian Derby. "Climbing For Rangers" have summited Mount Blanc, 8,000m peak Manaslu in the Himalayas, and most recently Mount Everest.
So what’s next for the team? In 2022, the co-founder of ForRangers Sam Taylor, along with three others, will head to Patagonia to race in the Gaucho Derby, also known as ‘the greatest test of horsemanship on earth.’
The Gaucho Derby is a 10 day, 500km multi-horse adventure race, broken down into 40 km legs. The high mountains are a test of skill, not speed, so the horses won’t be put under stress. The flatter pampas sections will see the riders turning up the speed to eat up the miles. For these sections, they will be swapping between rested horses more regularly.
One mistake navigating could cost them the race with wilderness skills making all the difference as they camp out most nights. Racing hours are from 8 am to 6 pm, and any penalties will be sat out in real-time - the winner will be the rider who crosses the finish line first.
The team hopes to raise an incredible $120,000 to support life and health insurance, emergency rations and welfare support to over 2,000 rangers patrolling across Africa.
The effects of the pandemic continue to be felt. Rangers have seen jobs lost, resources slashed, and livelihoods destroyed. All the while, they remain steadfast in protecting what is left of our wilderness.
To support ForRangers, you can donate here.
Header image courtesy of Gaucho Derby