36 hours, one challenge; UT students Chase the World for charity

Jessica Regan

UT students are gearing up to race as far around the world as they can, with no money, no personal transport and no limits.

Chase the World is a fundraising race started by design sophomore Kate Thomas and chemical engineering sophomore Ben Broughton. Starting at the Texas State Capitol this Friday at noon, teams will have 36 hours to travel as many miles as possible. The race is to raise awareness for the charity Tribe + Glory.

“It’s such a cool way for students to get involved in a great cause,” Broughton said. “I’m excited, I hope that everyone has fun.”

Tribe + Glory is a nonprofit co-founded by UT graduate Loren Thomas, Kate’s sister, and Oxford graduate Caragh Bennet. Based in Uganda, it provides women under the poverty line education, capital and training to start their own businesses. Kate Thomas and Broughton, the founders of the Chase the World race, started planning the event in January.

“We were meeting these amazing women,” Loren said. “We would be asking them about their dreams, and so many of them had never been asked that before. They would tell us about their brilliant, innovative ideas with tears in their eyes. Caragh and I asked ourselves, how can we make their dream a reality?”

Teams had to raise a minimum of $300 for Tribe + Glory as an entry requirement to the challenge. As individuals are racing, the public can support teams financially to help them progress — such as buying travel tickets — and learn more about the organization.

“When you’re doing this race, you are talking to so many people around the world,” Kate Thomas said. “People were so interested and intrigued by this during the trial run … the people we meet along the way add to the awareness of a great organization.”

Through Tribe + Glory, women attend classes while making jewelry and home goods from locally sourced Ankole cattle horn. The goods are then sold throughout the U.S. and the UK.

“They save 60 percent of their salary every month, which will be reinvested into their businesses after they graduate,” Loren Thomas said. “Our goal within the next five years is to see 1,000 people above the poverty line.”

Kate Thomas and Broughton said they look forward to combining adventure and passion for their cause.

“It’s a leap of faith … it’s a moment where students can come together for a greater good but do what they’re longing to do,” Kate Thomas said.