British couple at half-way mark in record attempt to run South America for wildlife
By Shaun Hurrell, Thu, 18/04/2013 - 07:00
Katharine and David Lowrie, two adventure runners from Devon and Northumberland, UK, have just burst through their 3,200th mile (the equivalent of almost London to New York) of their record expedition to run the length of South America for its wildplaces and wildlife. The 34 year old pair are raising money for BirdLife International and its Partner Armonía in Bolivia to secure habitat for species including the Critically Endangered Blue-throated and Red-fronted Macaws, vulnerable Giant Anteater and Near threatened Maned Wolf.
“The run has been so much tougher than we had ever imagined. Physically; pain sprang around our bodies pretty much constantly for the first three weeks in the “freezer” of Patagonia. We thought that our bodies would seize up completely in protest to the day-on-day assault. But gradually and incredibly the 20 mile daily quota, six days a week, clicked by. Millions of tiny steps later, we’re now a hair’s breadth away from the Bolivian border and everything seems so much more possible!”
Aside from the physical pain, one of the most challenging sides of the expedition for the couple has been life on the roadside: running through nappies, plastic bottles and bags; seeing rivers chocked with rubbish; charred remnants of forests making way for soya fields marching in perfect sprayed ranks into the distance and watching soils take to the air in the wind-torn desertified steppes of Patagonia.
“But whenever we have felt low, something wild has sprung into view and reminded us of why the run is important: a throng of cackling turquoise-fronted parrots munching fruits in a tree nearby; a tiny preying mantis splaying his wings in an incredible show of bravery in front of the two towering Homo sapiens bearing down on him or a Patagonian armadillo shoving his head into a bush in the belief that because he couldn’t see us, we would not be able to spot him!"
"Then three days ago, after seven months of searching, we finally saw her. We had barely run a mile from our night’s home below a nearby “palo borracho” tree when something sloped across the road only 50 metres in front of us. Her long back, sleek coat and curved tail were unmistakable. Finally a puma! We couldn’t believe our luck, but could find only paw prints to mark her passage."
"Running is such a simple act. Anyone can do it, you only need a pair of shoes- and not always even those! Best of all, it’s about being outside, in the company of wildlife and running through magical wild places. We created the 5000mileproject so that we could do just that; run through some of the most biodiverse habitats on earth and share their beauty with people from around the world. We present to schools along the way about the wildlife and environments we’re running through and share the stories with schools, newspapers and magazines back at home."
"We hope to show that with small steps and everyday choices, we can all tackle seemingly insurmountable challenges; that it’s not too late to protect the world’s remaining unspoilt ecosystems, but time is running out.”
Raise money for BirdLife International and Conservacion Patagonica to buy and conserve threatened habitats in South America, ensuring their protection through local governance and employment. click here.
Connect people from around the world to the communities and wildlife met along the way, via the 5000mileproject interactive website and on-the-road communications and examine how, through our actions, we are connected.
Inspire environmental action; to prove that with small steps we can tackle seemingly insurmountable challenges; it’s not too late to protect the world’s remaining unspoilt ecosystems, but time is running out.
We wish them the best of luck! If you would like to support Katharine and David’s run by donating to their charities (they still have another 3,500 miles to run before they reach the Caribbean Sea of Venezuela) please click here.