|Krissy and Simon present a screening of "Mountain of Greatness" in Boulder, Colo.|
|Krissy running past villagers in Tanzania.|
|The crew runs over uneven trails on the south side of Kilimanjaro.|
|Simon and Krissy pump up the crowd at their Boulder screening.|
Unlike other ultras, the goal of this run wasn’t time or distance. The goal was to experience the sites, sounds, and culture along the way. “It wasn’t about how fast you run the course but what you soak in along the way,” said Krissy. “It was the most connected I’ve felt to anything I’ve done.”
Living and training near Kilimanjaro his entire life, Simon had a lifelong dream of creating a stage race that went around the mountain, not to the summit and back. Wanting to expose others to the beauty and culture Tanzania offers, Simon spent four years mapping and planning the course.
Krissy and the crew started from Simon’s cottage averaging 20 miles per day for eight days. They passed about 35 villages along the way where they created relationships, stopped to talk with villagers, experience their culture, and share stories. “It was nice to unplug for eight days and instead live in the present,” says Krissy.
Large elevation gains, uneven trails, changing climates, and technical terrain made for a difficult run. “You have to be flexible and roll with what comes at you because you don’t know what’s coming next,” says Krissy. ”You have to get after whatever the day brings.”
Deforestation has become a big issue in the Tanzania as nearly 90 percent of the villages use firewood for fuel. “People continue to take and take instead of giving back,” Simon said. To combat the issue, Simon and other runners partake in a ceremonial tree planting exercise every time they leave for multiday runs. Simon encourages visitors and villagers to plant as many trees as possible. So of course, before Krissy, Simon, and the rest of the crew took off to run around the roof of Africa, they planted a few trees near Simon’s cottage.
Other than the people they met, landscapes they explored, and visions they shared, the most rewarding part for the crew was ending the eight-day journey by jumping in the giant waterfall pool near Simon’s village.
Plans for the second annual “Kilimanjaro State Run” are set for October 19-29, 2013. Plans are also in the works for a 100-mile run and possible hiking trips.
As for Krissy, she recently moved to Boulder, Colorado where she’ll explore and train in the area this summer. She’s also competing in the Squamish 50 Mile this August.
Watch "Mountain of Greatness" below.
Mountain of Greatness from D4 PRODUCTIONS | Andrew King on Vimeo.