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Power in Numbers

What are the essential ingredients for a winning team in a RacingThePlanet Roving Race? Is it to match in physical fitness levels? Is it the psychological bonds? Four teams took on the Roving Race here in Jordan, but by the third day, only one team remains in the competition as a collective.


We catch up The MARCH to find out what it is that keeps them together. Described by one competitor as a “well-oiled machine” this trio seems to have the ability to just keep powering on, despite all odds. Blain Davis, Cameron Lawes and Sophie Collett all met at the Gobi March 2009. As Cameron Lawes explains, “We shared the same tent by chance and got to know each other really well. And even though we didn’t race together, we kind of found ourselves on the course at the same time, so we had a lot of fun.”


During the Atacama Crossing 2011, they once again found themselves on similar points on the course, and were impressed by the way that Britain’s Sophie Collett managed to power on despite her blister-ridden feet. “Sophie smashed her feet up pretty bad so we got to know her and her feet extremely well,” continues Cameron. “But she just gritted her teeth and cracked on and so we knew she was nails—we were stoked to have her on the team.”


It was Blain’s idea to create a team for Jordan, he sent out the email as soon as the registration opened online. The name is a reference to Multisport Adventure Racing Challenge, which unites business and charities through sport and races. This is their first event; their next team race is the 100km South Downs race in July. They are using the race as a means to raise funds for the Jack Davies Hope Foundation, which helps families struggling with medical costs.


When asked about their winning dynamic, Cameron says: “It’s going to sound really weird but because we all approach the race in a similar way, I see us as just one. I know that sounds cheesy, but we’re all kind of in it together and I don’t think there’s any difference between us and we all kind of rock on as one team and don’t think of ourselves as individuals.


It’s absolutely seamless,” he adds. “It’s bizarre; it’s almost telepathic. We take turns breaking trail without even having to say that. We seamlessly swap the lead. We don’t break; we don’t stop… It’s like the most stress free team on the planet. There’s never any issue or conversation – we just crack on with it.”


They are sad to have seen the other teams withdraw from the team competition. “It’s a shame,” says Cameron. And while he doesn’t know the facts behind the other teams, he suggests that it’s the way that the three in his team match in fitness levels, that makes them such a cohesive force.


What I do know is that with us we’re very similar in terms of fitness, pace and attitude,” he muses. “ So, there’s no real pressure point that could create an issue for us.”


He points out that one of the elements of racing as a team is that it is easier to stay motivated, however you need to be aware that not all of you will be feeling 100% at the same time, so take turns to lead. Perhaps it was the difficult soft sands of the second day that proved brutal to the team competition. When looking back to that day, Cameron admits it was very tough going. “It was like running up the inside of an hour glass,” he says. “It felt like we were always climbing in soft sand and never reaching the peak, there were lots of false summits!”


By Clare Morin