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The Power of Uncertainty

In South Sudan, I’m still trying to get used to the emotional extremes. On a good day, the sunrises hold promise, the kids laugh a little brighter, and the air feels cooler. Some mornings, I have these moments of immense gratitude when I’m running through the bush and it hits me that I’m incredibly lucky to be where I am, doing the […]

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Dancing in circles

On 16 May, I was awakened at 4 am by loud gunfire. I had expected it, of course – it was SPLA day after all, South Sudan’s day for celebrating the army – but it didn’t make it any less stressful. Whether you call it celebratory gunfire or ‘happy gunfire’, as we used to say in Afghanistan, the sound of a gunshot […]

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Are you running free?

“Are you running free?” In any other situation, it might have seemed like an odd question. But having spent a couple of months in South Sudan already, I knew instantly what he was getting at. I stopped to take out my headphones and wiped the dripping sweat from my forehead. “Yes, I’m running free.”  He looked at me with a puzzled expression, conveying […]

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Beneath the Death Zone: A Climber’s Personal Account of the Everest Avalanche

Climbing Everest is a dangerous activity – no question about it. Climbers face the risk of hypothermia, cardiac arrest, cerebral swelling, pulmonary edema, getting crushed by rockfalls, trapped by avalanches, or getting caught at high altitude for many hours in raging storms. As one article simply put it, “to set foot on Mount Everest is to risk death.” But despite […]

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An Ultra Race Against Hunger and Violence: Q&A with Ultrarunner Stephanie Case

An Ultra Race Against Hunger and Violence: Q&A with Ultrarunner Stephanie Case **Originally posted on The Runner’s Trip** By Sarah Lavender Smith Normally, I turn away from reports about Africa’s famine and atrocities that too frequently make headlines and overshadow the continent’s bright spots. The news always seems too terrible, far away, incomprehensible and intractable to try to follow and care—until […]

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Running in Mingkamman

Kawadja! Kawadja! Fine dust sprays up around my feet as I run down the dirt path through the ‘camp’, weaving my way around collections of mosquito nets strung from trees and sheets of plastic stretched around bamboo sticks. It isn’t light enough yet for me to make out details other than shapes around me, but the young kids are still […]

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