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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Running Wild

Published 10/01/08
By Tracy Lesperance, Vice President of Development

I’ve always been one of those annoying “morning people,” but I recently began resenting my alarm’s insistent beeping telling me to get up at 5:00am every day. While I usually enjoy exercising in the morning ... lately, it’s felt more like a chore. You see, my husband Chuck and I — along with Born Free USA CEO Will Travers, and Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson — are training for the December 7 California International Marathon as Team Elsa.

Properly training for this event has obviously placed running at the top of my exercise list. And while I am still doing some cross training in areas I really enjoy such as yoga and weights, I’m predominantly running. Early. Before the sun is up. With a flashlight. Running.

During a run just last week — one in which I had a particularly hard time getting going — I realized something that suddenly made every early morning, every in-the-dark step worthwhile. Aside from wanting to support the organization for which I work, in my own way, I am literally running for those animals who cannot — but who absolutely could and would if they were in the wild!

I am running for the magnificent, endangered Asian elephant who in the wild may roam 25 miles or more daily, but who instead is chained inside a railroad car for hours on end traveling up to 11 months a year in Ringling’s circus show. I am running for the thousands of majestic tigers kept in substandard zoos — or worse — in backyard cages, pacing endlessly, never able to fully run like their wild brethren, obtaining speeds up to 35 mph. I am running for the more than 7,000 bears kept in barren metal cages with catheters inserted into their abdomens to collect their bile — who in the wild can also run up to speeds of 35 mph not to mention swim and frolic.

And now, I’m no longer quite so tired and that next hill does not seem quite so steep, and this marathon not so daunting after all, especially when running with fellow animal lovers like me. Each day when I wake up, I do my best to remember: today I have a choice to run, and so I do.

Please help us reach our Team Elsa fundraising goal by visiting www.firstgiving.com/teamelsa and if you’d like to run with us, or run a race in your own town on behalf of Born Free USA united with API, please call me at 916-447-3085 x202.

Running Wild,


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