Into the Lion-Verse
21 December 2020 •
Okay, let's do this one last time, yeah?
For real this time. This is it.
My name is Brian Khepri. I was bitten by a radioactive lion, and for like seven years, I've been the one and only #Running4Lions. I think you know the rest:
I finished my race. I saved a bunch of lions. Kicked off some toenails. I did this with my Loirish jersey. Met Letupukwa finally. Handed out buckles where my race director's never gonna find 'em.
And when I feel alone, like no one understands what I'm going through?
I remember my friends who get it.
I never thought I'd be able to do any of this stuff, but... I can.
Anyone can wear the mask.
You could wear the mask.
If you didn't know that before, I hope you do now.
Cuz I'm #Running4Lions, and I'm not the only one.
Not by a long shot.
With all due apologies to:
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman
written by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman
2020-2021 : #52Weeks4Lions
For the last three years, #6Days4Lions served as my hashtag while I ran in a one-mile circle for 144 hours at my A-race, Across The Years in Glendale, Arizona. Ordinarily, that would start one week from today. But the pandemic, understandably, cancelled the event. And truth be told, were it available as an option, I'd probably skip it as a precaution. "We need your lungs strong, Brian." is a message Resson sent back in March, and I heed the words and wisdom from Ewaso Lions' deputy director.
So living the Machine Gun Kelly lyric, "I need to overdose on inspiration," I stuffed my eyes, ears, and heart full of all the people, places, and things that move me to movement. I won't lie: it was a long simmer, and I wasn't sure there'd be soup this year. But I kept circling back to a photo I snapped of a Samburu proverb from a book laying around the Ewaso Lions' mess hall.
It means, "A week is a lifetime," and I really felt that passage, deep in my bones, given the highs and lows of the week (six days) I dedicate to lions each winter.
Don't get ahead of me.
So my brain...
My brain says, "What if you dedicate all the weeks to them? Fifty-two lifetimes."
And here we are.
Now obviously this can't be the same 300-mile week/lifetime as an ATY due to several factors, not the least of which is the raging pandemic. But here's what I'm going to do:
• five or more miles a day
• six days a week
• for fifty-two weeks
At a minimum (barring illness or injury, of course), that's a 1560-mile (2510.6-km) commitment to my friends, my heroes, the team at Ewaso Lions.
(I did ten miles today, so... a 1565-mile minimum commitment. See how it works?)
Thank you for your continued support.
Look, I know this year's been impossible. You're under no obligation to give. But I'm extending the invitation anyway. There's plenty of room for innovation and creativity within the limitations of our new bubble-environments. I hope you'll safely join me, in all that ways that you're able.
There will be a thread pinned to the top of my Twitter, so you can follow my daily mileage updates there if that's your kink. I'll update my Facebook probably weekly, this GoFundMe probably monthly; and I'll definitely be making FiveMileLion.com more than just a placeholder website.
Let's roar throughout 2021.
#52Weeks4Lions • #6Days4Lions • #Running4Lions • @briankhepri •
About Ewaso Lions • www.ewasolions.org •
Founded in 2007 by Dr. Shivani Bhalla, a 4th generation Kenyan, Ewaso Lions is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving lions and other large carnivores by promoting co-existence between people and wildlife. Their study area covers about 3,000 km2 of lion habitat, which includes National Reserves (Samburu, Buffalo Springs, and Shaba) and Community Conservancies.
About Brian Khepri • www.5milelion.com •
A type 2 diabetes diagnosis in 2009 led Brian Khepri to dump 110 lbs. on his way to the starting line of the Run For The Cheetah 5 km race in 2010. He continues to run, chasing higher mileage for bigger cats. Every buckle he's earned in an ultramarathon adorns the belt of a warrior in Samburu, Kenya.
About Wildlife Conservation Network • www.wildnet.org •
WCN provides independent wildlife conservationists with the tools and funding that they need to succeed. Ewaso Lions is one of their 17 conservation partners, a network dedicated to protecting endangered wildlife in 37 countries around the globe. They hold a perfect, 4-star designation by Charity Navigator, and serve as the 501(c)(3) for Ewaso Lions within the United States of America.