Getting to Know Gilbert

Behind the scenes with Gilbert Tuhabonye

The Austin Fit Magazine April issue cover story is all about Gilbert Tuhabonye, noted Austin-area coach, runner, and philanthropist.  If you're part of the running community, you know Gilbert.  However, not everyone in Austin is dialed into the running community (which those who are sometimes forget).  For the uninitiated, how do you get to know more about Gilbert?

A good place to start is Tuhabonye's book, This Voice in My Heart: A Genocide Survivor's Story of Escape, Faith and Forgiveness, written by Tuhabonye with Gary Brozek.  This is Tuhabonye's story  about growing up in Burundi and surviving the horrific genocidal conflicts in that country in 1993.  He writes about the experience of living through attempted murder, his healing, and how he came to find faith and a new life in America. It's a personal look at the man in his own words and gives the reader the basic scope of Tuhabonye's life from his birth in 1974 through 2006.

Recently, Tuhabonye visited Burundi for the first time since his escape from violence some 18 years ago.  He and his family made the trip back to central Africa for the first time.  For those who'd like more detail about what it was like for Tuhabonye to come face to face with that painful past, Pam LeBlanc of the Austin American-Statesman wrote a moving piece recounting that visit.  Tuhabonye even returned to the old gas station site, where he'd been locked in the burning building and left to die 18 years ago, and he talked about his accompanying emotions.  There's information about the wells that the Gazelle Foundation is funding in Burundi and  how clean, fresh water is helping Burundian children lead a better life, whether they are Hutu or Tutsi.

What can you learn from AFM's April cover story?  AFM wanted to show the teacher, coach, and businessman that has developed over the years here in Austin, and so the focus of "International Voice and Local Force of Nature" by Michael Madison is on how the Gazelle Foundation came to be, Tuhabonye's role as teacher and mentor at St. Andrews, and how his life philosophy affects his training group, Gilbert's Gazelles, and his other projects and commitments.

Another way to learn more about Tuhabonye is to watch this inspiring short from the Oprah Winfrey Network.  While you're watching, see how many of the places in Austin you recognize:

The best way to learn more about Gilbert Tuhabonye?  He will always welcome you to a run.


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