Steele the continental marathoner

16th May 2017
Marathoner: Steele Source:The Midweek Sun/ Dikarabo Ramadubu


By Dikarabo Ramadubu -

Not only is Ashley Steele a marathoner who has raced in four continents, she is also an avid tourism ambassador that Botswana could exploit.
Nothing could discourage the towering American citizen to complete the Diacore Gaborone Marathon race, not even the fact that she risked her life and was hit by a mirror of a truck while she was the only participant still running...

 Aged between 35- 40 years, Steele, a citizen of Unites States works for a Canadian Computer company Open Text as project manager, started participating in marathons purely to have a feel of it. How wrong?

She told The Midweek Sun after completing the Diacore Gaborone Marathon race that she decided to run at least one marathon and when she trained she told herself that she was going to run just one marathon for her whole life time.

“I subsequently ran my first marathon in Florida US.  I enjoyed it. I then was in Europe where I developed an idea that maybe I could run one marathon per continent. While in Europe I ran one in Greece but I later had a chance to fly to Australia where I did my third marathon and the Diacore Gaborone is the fourth marathon and the one for the African continent.”

Although she has been in the African continent before, her coming to Botswana was not by accident. It was based on an informed decision as she had long wished to see the country’s famed flora and Fauna.

“I came here to enjoy the beautiful Safari. I wanted to run the Diacore Gaborone marathon in order to fulfil my dream of running one in the African continent and the experience of running here was amazing. I together with my husband have been in Botswana for almost two weeks and we have been inspired by the people and love for the animals, for the conservation and it is just a remarkable country.”

Her decision to do the Gaborone marathon gave her a life time experience. She was the very last participant to cross the finish line at the Grand Palm Resort.  She arrived way after almost everybody, including the marshals, had long completed the 7-hour runs from the beginning with the cut off having been 6 hours.
But her arrival was celebrated, she was given a hero’s welcome by a handful including invited dignitaries, her husband who took part in the 10 kilometre race, Diacore officials and Grand Palm hotel staff.

 True ambassador
 She was fascinated by what she saw in Botswana. “The very first night we were in Botswana, we found ourselves just 10 metres away from a lion;  then we saw all sorts of animals. The Kalahari Game Reserve was just wilderness as far as we could see, there were no cities, roads, it was all thick bush and plenty of animals such as giraffes . Then we moved to the Okavango delta where we saw elephants, hippos - it was just magic because in America we do not have these animals. So to get to a place where they get to live freely, they get protected, that is just wonderful,” she said. me to Botswana on a safari and that they should tour different safari areas and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the country.”

Hit by truck mirrorAlthough she had an everlasting experience, her ambition of running the marathon nearly brought her death. She told this publication that towards the end of the race she was hit by the mirror of a running truck.  “When that happened, I felt like I was in everybody’s way, so I tried to stay over the path as I did not want to annoy anybody. I did not want to be a bad person and block everybody’s passage.”

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