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Wednesday, March 16, 2011


A 250-mile run through a Game Park, a 20,000-foot summit,
to build the first public children's hospital in Sub Saharan Africa...
Can you step up & join Rodney Cutler in this journey?

9-million kids die each year, most of them in Africa, and an astonishing two thirds of these deaths are said to be treatable or preventable.  A travesty of neglect?  Sub Saharan Africa does not have a single public children's hospital!  For a continent made up, large in part, under the age of 18, the budget has traditionally gone towards the adult.

At Whom You Know, we celebrate Movers and Shakers that care not only about their profession, but also about going beyond the call of duty and truly are good people helping others.  Our first Mover and Shaker, Dr. Garo Nazarian, is a great example of that, previously featured here:

Mover and Shaker Rodney Cutler has the same idea!
Rodney's friend Toby Tanser tells us:

THE JOURNEY – from the Sea ‘n sands of Africa to its highest ceiling
Ten years ago, I was going to run up Kilimanjaro, to celebrate the Millennium.  Instead, due to the wish of others, I ended up by the Indian Ocean in Zanzibar (100-miles South of Mombasa).  On the beach, I was attacked for my running shoes by two men wielding a machete and a baseball bat.  It took me eleven days to get out of Africa, a nightmare.  Being treated for my smashed skull, the clinic did not have antibiotics or anesthetics; if I had stayed in Africa I would have died given the offered health care.  Eight years later, during the Kenyan Clashes (think a mini-Rwanda) I discovered the facts that amazed me; no public children’s hospital in Sub Saharan Africa when I was given a proposal, fully backed by the Ministry of Health, so my life changed as I set forth to build one.

A world record attempt, it is an adventure-on-the-run that could one day become the Great Race of Africa. Together, with my good friend Rodney Cutler, running 250 miles through small towns, we’ll be doing what Shoe4Africa does, promoting AIDS Awareness.  Starting in the Sea, in the tropics of Mombasa, filled with lush beauty and the lure of the African coast, we head inland through heat and torrid humidity.   We’ll run through rural Kenya, then reach the gorgeous sweeping vistas of one of Africa’s best game parks, Tsavo – a chance to run with the Lions and African tribesfolk (hopefully out the other side) into Tanzania, to Moshi and then up Mount Kilimanjaro. 
Climbing will not only be difficult, but it will take us into Antarctic conditions that will test the steel – the whole purpose, on reaching the absolute summit of the World’s highest freestanding mountain.  Finally, we’ll reach our goal to break ground and build the largest and only public, children’s hospital in Sub Saharan Africa; a continent whose child mortality is a 21st Century atrocity that MUST be addressed.

Brief Synopsis of the run
We will begin in Mombasa, the coast of Africa with either the Mayor of the City or Lornah Kiplagat, the 2007 world cross country champion, the first and only year the race was held in Mombasa.  Kiplagat is one of the longest standing Shoe4Africa Ambassadors.
We will then run through the town of Voi accompanied by a group of African school children dressed in ‘Sea to the stars Children’s Hospital’ tee-shirts to raise AIDS awareness.
In the Game Park, Maasai warriors will run with us in all traditional red dress.

At the border of Tanzania and we will meet John Stephen Akhawai, the courageous “King Without A Crown” Olympian. 

When we reach Moshi, we will meet Fabiano Joseph, “Mr. Shoe4Africa.”  In 2001, Fabiano was given a pair of running shoes from S4A’s coach Max Iranghe; he said “Go run, try running.”  And, he did!  In 2005, he won the World Championships!

When we arrive at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, we will celebrate with a small kick off concert by the Naked Brother’s Band.

From there, we will reach for the stars by running up to the summit accompanied by Simon Mtuy, a Tanzanian who holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest ascent / descent of the mountain.

We've been running since 1995.
The charity is based in New York City and operates, mainly, in Africa.  Our mission is to empower through sports and education, create unique health initiatives, and promote AIDS awareness. Our projects have not only made everyday people heroes of their community, we’ve also launched the careers of champion athletes.  The simple act of giving a shoe has proved invaluable to the empowerment of people in Africa.  100% of donations go straight to the building and equipping of our main project; to build the largest, and ONLY public, children's hospital in Sub Saharan Africa.  

Toby Tanser is the CEO and Founder of Shoe4Africa.  Rodney Cutler is on the Board of Directors.
More information about guest runners and the Naked Brothers Band:
John Stephen Akwhari                                   
Lornah Kiplagat                          
Fabiano Joseph                                                                                             Naked Brother Band            


Peachy Deegan interviewed Rodney Cutler for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan:  What do you know now about running 250 miles in a week that you did not know prior to doing it?
Rodney Cutler: I did not know that I could get blisters the size I did and still be able to run on them. However, the biggest lesson on day two was that I couldn't expect to run across Africa on Coca Cola and Redbull alone, day three I smartened up and started eating correctly.
What strategies did you employ to successfully complete your goal of 250 miles?

Making sure we had a great support vehicle, police men with guns, 3 pairs of good running shoes, great company and a willingness to be flexible with my daily running regiment. Also, having a significant cause to keep us going when things got tough.
For someone that has not run this course other than the obvious differences, what would surprise others the most about the difference between running in Africa and running in Central Park, for example?
The weather being really really really hot was definitely unplannable, making sure we had access to water and didn't run out between rest stops and just not knowing if we were going to get a decent meal or what faced us around the corner.
What were some of the most memorable experiences you had interacting with the people you met?
Everyday was a constant joy and seeing all the smiles on the African children's faces as we ran by was amazing. The highlight for me was visiting the children's hospital and seeing my children interact with the native children and now our goal is to raise some money to help out!
What did you enjoy most visually about the run?
Visually the most inspiring part of the trip was looking out across the plains at the beautiful sunsets and the simplicity of the terrain.
Tell us about the Children's Hospital which was the beneficiary of the run please.
Our purpose for the run was to build the first dedicated children's hospital in Kenya through the vision and mission of Toby Tanser the founder of Shoe4Africa.
What kind of sneakers did you wear and did you wear multiple pairs?
I had three pairs of Asics Kanyon running shoes. But, I spent my down time reading, Born to Run which encourages you to go bare foot. (I may have to try that next time).
What did you miss most about Manhattan during your journey?
Fortunately my job doesn't feel like a job and I really missed the exciting things we do at Cutler and the interaction between myself and the clients.
Tell us how Cutler Salon as a whole was involved please as we think you were not the only one to go over on this journey.
What was exciting was that our entire company got behind us and for such a great opportunity to give back as a whole!  We initially help a fundraising party at our Soho salon, we also did some fundraising online, which whom you know readers can donate. Finally, we had a great team following us on our mission. Mike Martinez and Dean Holcombe of Cutler salon ran with me and Emma Heser, Peter Martin of Esquire magazine and some others accompanied us on our Mt. Kilimanjaro climb!
What else should Whom You Know readers know about this mission?

The mission did not end with our run. We are still raising money and looking for support in building the first ever children's hospital in Sub- Sahara Africa. It is importan to raise awareness and anything you can do to help support this cause would be greatly appreciated.
How can Whom You Know readers help you in your mission?

Your readers can go to to donate online.
How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
Please contact us at

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