Blood and water fuel Maasai warriors’ marathon

Water and athletic events are themes that are entering my field right now. Here is a very interesting story about some Maasai warriors who are running in a London marathon. They are doing this to raise money to fund a water source for their people. I admire their innovative and peaceful solution to bring attention to their plight.

LONDON (Reuters) – They survive on fresh blood drained from the neck of a living cow, they often run for days and nights on end to find water and their shoes are made from car tires cut up and strapped to their feet.

So running the London Marathon should be no problem for six Maasai warriors who have come to Britain from their village of Elaui in northern Tanzania as part of a campaign to raise money to find a vital water source (www.maasaimarathon.org).

“Back at home we sometimes run for 5 or 6 days, day and night,” Isaya, a young warrior clothed in a red robe and adorned with traditional beaded jewelry, told Reuters in an interview. “Twenty-six miles not far.”

He and his fellow warriors, all between 20 and 25 years old, expect to reach the finish line of Sunday’s race within four and a half hours.

They will run in traditional dress — a red “shuka” blanket toga and car-tire sandals — carrying spears and shields showing their running numbers, and will sing and dance along the 26.2 mile route through the British capital.

“And we will do the whole marathon with no water,” Isaya adds. “We often travel for many days, eating only twice a day, and we have no water.”

“If we have no milk or meat, we cut the cow’s neck and let out the blood to drink. If I drink enough blood — maybe two or three liters — it gives me a lot of energy and I can go for days without food or water.”

The Maasai warriors, whose role is to protect and help provide for their people, hope to raise enough money to find and access a fresh water source for their community — something they say could cost up to 60,000 pounds ($120,000).

Read more about these incredible people, click here.

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