Early start, 5am following a rubbish sleep, cock wrestling at 3am (Americans call them roosters), more mango s falling on Katie, there was a nervous energy around camp as the head torches were on, hammocks put away and bags being packed ready for the race ahead.
The hot water wasn’t ready until 630am and the race was starting at 7am so there were a few tempers rising. Katie and I had our breakfast and coffee at around 645am then it was a quick final kit check and press on to the start. People were excited, I was crapping myself but the countdown began and we were off, suddenly we were running. A steep incline at the best of times isn’t easy but with a 16kg back pack is another story. But I made off well and got into the centre of the pack (about 44 people in total), where I suddenly remembered what happened in 2009…cramps and vomiting. So I hung back and allowed the pack to thin out. Caught up with Guy the vet who is here with his daughter and we cracked on at a fairly good pace. Wasn’t long before we got to the first checkpoint for an imposed 15 minute rest for all runners (due to the dehydration/comas from 2009). Top up water and a small swim through the river followed by some clambering through swamps for 3km. Check point 2 was a welcome rest through to checkpoint 3 where I had cool water thrown over me and took some footage of a local monkey, more flat until checkpoint 4 when it was the start of the ‘hills’. This is a different stage one to last time, but some of the course was familiar. Like thesethe steep inclines up then down, up then down up then down. My heart wouldn’t stop beating and by this point, my clever swimming yesterday (nice spot of sun burn !!) started to impact on my back and backpack. It was like a very heavy hot iron being pushed into my shoulders. Sod bikram yoga, I think Ive lost a few kg in weight today, the sweat was pooring off. At the bottom of one of the hills there was a runner sitting with his head in his hands not wanting to go on. ‘So many darn hills man” (American). Checked he was ok and carried on.
At this point I started questioning the whole thing and wanted to stop. Guy kept stopping to take photos and point out the wildlife, but at this point I just wanted to get back and see Katie. And take off the bloody ruck sack !! As we approached the finish line, some local children ran with us grabbing my hand as we crossed the line. As I shouted the Bird call, one returned so I knew she was here to meet me, Katie. Totally magical. We’ve kept one of the small children for the mantel piece when we get home.
It was bag off, water and up with the hammock to get my gear ready for the next day.
Katie s day on the other hand was also eventful. After waving off the runners and clearing up the base camp, the medical team left without her. So she spent a few hours mixing in with the locals until one of the local support team realized she should be somewhere else. They have a saying here ‘TIB – This Is Brazil”. I.e., don’t expect anything to go how you think it should…those that have done the race before will know what I mean, mixed messages / communication doesn’t really happen. She managed to get a small boat to the finish where she met the finishers in true ‘Shelly’ form despite the challenging journey there.
Daniel Dillon, a Glasgo lad came in first from the International squad in a superb 3hrs 54 – the 15 minute breaks, 2hrs 54. The rest of the crew did really well with a few of us stragglers coming in later, I managed 5 hrs 27, 34th place (on track to beat my 37th place in 2009!). And a few more behind me 7-8 hrs. No major issues with people, apart from feet, bit of dehydration but nothing serious…yet.
Fed, watered and ready for some perperami. Early night and see what tomorrow brings. Its hot, humid and Im sunburnt, but I love it here !
Many thanks for the messages – means a lot.
Peace and much jungle love