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Runner's Scars Tell Of A Survivor's Story

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 09:47 PM CDT

Gilbert Tuhabonye is one of the most popular running coaches in Austin, but how he got to Texas is a path of hope.

“It’s a part of my history. It’s a part of who I am,” Tuhabonye said.

The scars that nearly cover his entire body tell a survivor’s story.

“Running helped me overcome obstacles,” Tuhabonye said. “I almost lost my life, I almost died.”

He was born and raised in Burundi, Africa, a small nation plagued by civil war and political tribes battling for power.

On October 21, 1993 Gilbert found himself in the middle of the country’s unrest.

“That day the Hutu president was assassinated by Tutsi extremist,” Tuhabonye said. “In act of retaliation the Hutu came to my school and locked up everybody they could find.”

Tuhabonye and 200 of his classmates were kidnapped, taken to a gas station, locked inside, and the building was set on fire. The flames scorched for eight hours while Tuhabonye hid under a pile of dead bodies. He was the only one to escape.

“I had to use something to break the window so I could run free,” Tuhabonye said. “I used a dead body, someone that I knew, and I broke the window and was able to run.”

He kept running.  Despite third-degree burns all over his body, Tuhabonye earned a track scholarship to Abilene Christian University where he became a national champion. In 2008 Olympics he carried the torch while representing his native country.

“The emotion that I went through carrying the Olympic torch, the fire that burned me few years back, and now I have the fire in my hands,” Tuhabonye said.

Now living in Austin, he does everything he can to give back to his tribe. He started the Gazelle Foundation and the proceeds build water projects in Burundi. The largest annual fundraiser, Run for the Water, has helped 16,000 people get clean drinking water.

“You've seen all my scars. I don't have scars in my heart because I forgive,” Tuhabonye said. “Running for me is my therapy, it’s my freedom.”

That’s because he’s been running his entire life.

By Cassie GalloRunner's Scars Tell Of A Survivor's Story


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Scores & Schedules

October 31, 2014 07:08 GMT

NFL

Thursday's Game

New Orleans 28, Carolina 10

Sunday's Games

Arizona at Dallas, 1 p.m.

Philadelphia at Houston, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

Washington at Minnesota, 1 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Cleveland, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

San Diego at Miami, 1 p.m.

St. Louis at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

Oakland at Seattle, 4:25 p.m.

Denver at New England, 4:25 p.m.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m.

Open: Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Tennessee

Monday's Game

Indianapolis at N.Y. Giants, 8:30 p.m.

NBA

Thursday's Games

Washington 105, Orlando 98

Minnesota 97, Detroit 91

New York 95, Cleveland 90

Dallas 120, Utah 102

L.A. Clippers 93, Oklahoma City 90

Friday's Games

Memphis at Indiana, 7 p.m.

Cleveland at Chicago, 8 p.m.

Philadelphia at Milwaukee, 8:30 p.m.

San Antonio at Phoenix, 10 p.m.

Portland at Sacramento, 10 p.m.

L.A. Clippers at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 p.m.

NHL

Thursday's Games

New Jersey 2, Winnipeg 1, SO

Chicago 5, Ottawa 4, SO

Minnesota 4, San Jose 3, SO

Boston 3, Buffalo 2, OT

Pittsburgh 3, Los Angeles 0

Tampa Bay 4, Philadelphia 3

Florida 2, Arizona 1

St. Louis 2, Anaheim 0

Colorado 5, N.Y. Islanders 0

Vancouver 3, Montreal 2, OT

Friday's Games

Toronto at Columbus, 7 p.m.

Los Angeles at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

Anaheim at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Nashville at Calgary, 9 p.m.

MLS PLAYOFFS

KNOCKOUT ROUND Eastern Conference

Thursday, Oct. 30: New York 2, Sporting Kansas City 1

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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