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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 Blogs

Crater Capers
30-Jul-2015 04:47:37 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

The horror we feared, of 3300 metres of cumulative altitude gains, was dispelled at a drizzly, cloud-shrouded race briefing, as we all stood, steaming in our soiled, sweaty gear. Porridge, noodles and tea steamed in tandem, with an altogether more appealing aroma!

It appears that someone couldn’t work their calculator correctly and we ONLY faced 1950 metres of vertical!

Given what we’ve already seen and experienced, we would have lost half the field to exhaustion and failed cut-off times, had the original estimate been correct.

As the rain abated we made our way out along a winding, urgent river, necessitating a waded crossing. Dom and I decided that removal of socks and Hokas was preferable to running the next 36km in sopping footwear and accepted the loss of a few places for the luxury.

Immediately thereafter we hit a 400m climb out of the valley to the hills on the other side and then on to the volcano.

I am lost for a suitably hyperbolic adjective to describe the unbelievable scale and beauty of the scene from the rim of the crater. Only Dom’s photos will, hopefully, do it justice, but the chameleon colour changes on the surface of the lake defy description.

The running, scrambling, slogging was tough, but we hunted down more racers down the back stretch and when we hit a five-kilometre downhill, complete with scree, sand and fine volcanic pumice-dust, I was in my element. Both Dom and I are suffering shin-splints or tendonitis, however the frisson of the added danger of running downhill with a pack in loose terrain seems to take away the pain, so I took the shot, with Dom’s blessing.

I overhauled five people and only fell once, resulting in a minor scrape on one hip, which was worth the risk.

We came in in 37th and 42nd places and are happy with or performance so far. Only the ‘long day’ of 65km tomorrow poses any real risks, but apart from shins and my rapidly evaporating toenails, we are in good shape.

Couldn’t wish for a better team-mate and we are still on very good speaking (well, me talking and Dom listening, mostly, if you can believe it!) terms.

Lots of others dropping out, so we feel like we’ve done well to get even this far, in this fashion.

Signing off from the little local church which is serving as cyber-tent and medical centre and back to the one-room school which is to become our dormitory for the night, much to the amusement of the local kids!

Love from lava-land…

Peter Pan & Wendy xxx


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Posted: 31-Jul-2015 06:13:24 PM

Awesome effort chaps. Loving the blogs....particularly pleased you are keeping the British End up and showing Johnny foreigner how it's done!! Hope the feet hold up and Ange has plenty of spare toenails she'll let you have when you get back (you can even choose the colour!!) Keep that lip stiff gents. Cheerio for now

Macca Ronan spikey

Posted: 31-Jul-2015 04:31:44 PM

Dear Budgie & Dom a massive cheer has gone up in McSoreArris as we just found out you done the 65km. You boys are the dogs testies....love you both....bring it home xxx Macca Spikey, diddly Ronan and Terry my Lambo won't start Mccann x now what part of private didn't you understand xxx

Macca Pikey

Posted: 31-Jul-2015 08:33:57 AM

Orrright lemon - absolute qualiteee effort so far.....saw Jit last night and she sends her love......poor old Dom might start pretending he is deaf soon listening to your drivel....nearly as bad as Mourinho saying....other teams are buying the title!!!! oohhh and you are the manager of which club??? keep going geezwar and keep writing.....you are a very funny man....big hugs Caravan Pikey Macca xxx

Weird Al Yankovic

Posted: 31-Jul-2015 02:19:08 AM

No, don't sing the lava song, sing the Llama song... here's a llama, there's a llama, and another little llama, fuzzy llama, funny llama, llama llama duck .... Had enough yet?

Margaret Dempsey

Posted: 30-Jul-2015 10:34:36 PM

Very descriptive. I love it! Well done.

Ian M

Posted: 30-Jul-2015 02:44:44 PM

Well done Budgie, you are nailing it good and proper and with characteristic humour. Zara is practicing hard on the trampoline so she can show Uncle Budgie what she can do when you visit. Love from all the Mullanes

Angus Mackintosh

Posted: 30-Jul-2015 02:11:04 PM

Fandabidozy fellow! Step lightly on the way down, you are nearly there! The best of Java Lava luck to you and Dom!!!

neal verga

Posted: 30-Jul-2015 08:01:40 AM

marvellous effort boys, very impressive !! you really dont need to be exaggerating these distances/climbs... 1950 metres still rather more than just running up the stairs ! good luck with the "biggie" 65km's on thursday... slow and steady wins the race !!.. delighted its going so well !

rowley aird

Posted: 30-Jul-2015 06:39:59 AM

keep going team. by the time you read this the long day will be done and you can dream of that fine Italian pizza and beer! Not sure if you like ur cricket but Jimmy Anderson got 6-47 yesterday as we skittled out the Ozzies for 130 odd. we then finished day 1 on 127-3 so v good day. Pls ensure you give any Ozzie there a load of grief albeit we will probably get smashed now the next 4 days! Love the stories of blood and wounds in the tent. Brings back such fond memories...not. Savour every moment as believe it or not they are memories of a lifetime! good luck gents!

Rachel Penton

Posted: 30-Jul-2015 06:00:04 AM

In Reference to Lava land, get Dom to sing the "lava song" .. That will bet you running..as far away from him as possible .. It goes along the lines of " I lava you, you lava me.." Perfect song for the happy couple! Hope the feet hold up for the long march.. Thinking of you bothx24

Kat C

Posted: 30-Jul-2015 05:03:10 AM

Great blogging Budgie, I can almost smell the antiseptic, sweat, blood and tears! Reading these takes me back to waiting with baited breath for your letters of tales travelling in Africa all those years ago. Selfishly, I'm almost wishing your trials could continue for a bit longer! Inspirational Quote #2 - I'm not sure if you kept it, but I remember a looonnng time ago, your Dad gave you a picture of some birds in flight with the inscription "They can, because they think they can". Yes I know, all very easily said whilst sitting in my comfortable chair, but I really hope you think you can! Fly my pretties! Oh and not sure if you've been able to check your donations page but its currently sitting at GBP 12,120! Good Luck for the 65km dash. Kat xx

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