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Checkpoint Captain Tony Brammer

One of the most important elements of RacingThePlanet events are the checkpoints that competitors pass through during each stage. These stations, which are filled with staff, volunteers and copious amounts of water, are the oases that racers strive to reach on each day’s course for replenishment, reinforcement and positive feedback. Here in Madagascar, there is one daily checkpoint that is led by Tony Brammer, a.k.a. Captain Brammer.

Captain Brammer is a true character that, in 2008, became the first British resident to complete the 4 Deserts Race Series and join the 4 Deserts Club. Since then, this inspiring individual has volunteered at more than one dozen races, many of them running the checkpoints and lending his contagious humor and goodwill to all around him.

We ask Brammer how his typical day unfolds. “In the morning, I check that the right people and equipment are on the right vehicles,” he explains. “When we get to the checkpoint, it’s about making sure the communication equipment works, making sure that we’re in the right spot for the checkpoint, and eating chocolate.”

Humor, as you may tell, is closely woven into the fabric of Tony Brammer. Yet beneath this lies his perceptive ability to closely monitor the well being of competitors—and a leader who knows exactly how to build team morale. “The most important thing is checking that the competitors are okay,” he tells us. “Making sure they have the right amount of water and making sure they know what they’re expecting on the next section of the race.”

The fact that Brammer has raced in so many of these events means he knows exactly what competitors need to hear. “I’m able to brief the volunteers from a competitor’s perspective and I’m able to adjust my encouragement and management of the competitors because of my experience.”

He is a great advocate for the 4 Deserts Race Series. “The races are amazing and I have the opportunity to spectate and witness some of the most tremendous individual efforts to get through,” he marvels. And this year, he’s brought his wife, Bev.

“My wife generally enjoys 5-star lifestyle, hates camping, hates having dirty nails and dirty hair, her ability to endure the discomfort is staggering and to be applauded,” he tells us.

Of course, this is far from the truth. Beverly Brammer is a nutritionist who has climbed Ben Nevis, completed numerous marathons, and been a volunteer on many 4 Deserts races before. When we ask her how she’s enjoying Madagascar, she says: “It’s been absolutely fantastic. We (Tony & I) missed out on the backpacking years that the kids do these days, so now we do it by vacationing with RacingThePlanet. You get to go to such great places!”

By Clare Morin

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