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Live Race Coverage
13 - 19 May 2012

RacingThePlanet: Jordan 2012 Blogs

Stage 5 - 1
18-May-2012 03:45:35 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

Day 5 is dust! A monster slog. Difficult to describe the day without swearing, so lets pause before trying. Instead, I thought I might describe life off the course. In many ways it is the aspects I haven’t mentioned to date that add to the challenge.


We sleep under a rough textile canopy that is strung across a couple of branches and poles. It is completely open at 1 side and often 1 end. It creates a perfect funnel to channel the desert winds and their passengers, the endless weight of desert sand. But the sand has only 2 functions in this desert – to fill every human crevice while one is attempting rest and to eliminate all traction on every climb. What it never does, and must never do, is provide a soft floor for sleeping. For that, this desert offers the companionship of rocks – angry, nasty rocks. Rocks that haven’t spent a lifetime rubbing shoulders with their buddies until they’re nice and round.  These rocks don’t have friends. They snarl and snigger and target whatever soft human tissue is available and not already a bruised mess.


But of course we don’t actually sleep. We lie there wondering what we are doing and trying to work out whether there is life without piercing pain. Patches of sleep might be snatched between the seized hip flexor causing pain to ripple up your body and the shooting pain in the left shoulder you fell on at some earlier point that no longer matters. But it doesn’t feel like it. You see each hour pass and at some point you give up and go for a walk, just to experience pain in a different body part.


You feel the rapid physical degradation but you don’t see all of it. You haven’t seen your reflection since last week - a good thing no doubt. You don’t wash and you marvel at the different layers of dirt that now crust your entire body, each layer counting the hard days on the course. Cuts have been left to bleed and the hardened blood is left where it chose to end its journey downward. There isn’t much left to eat. Most of the food you have carefully carried all week has been eaten but what’s left can’t be faced. Is it possible to neither eat nor sleep? It seems preferable. But you know you must try and force a final few calories down your throat.


But hey, that’s just the melodrama of a tired man. Things have actually gone well. All 3 of us are in relatively good shape. Many people have suffered more and still smashed through it. Which must bring us to the run yesterday. It was brutal beyond words. It was always going to be long, but no one was ready for the hills – endless hills. Maybe 40 or 50km, maybe more  –non stop. But we all ran well. We started at 7am as usual and came in just after 11pm. We never took a break. We blew through most checkpoints in 1 or 2 minutes. At hour 12 we were still running the rare downhills we encountered. But it was tough. Super tough. I am typing this at 11am, 28 hours after the start and people are still coming in.


So as things stand, sitting here looking out across the Mars landscape things are good. Depleted but not defeated. And actually, just maybe, with a wry smile reflecting what we have achieved.


I can send one more blog, which I’ll do later today. Recovery is rapid. I think the next blog will be a very happy affair! As indeed this one is already. So, to you guys and all your great messages – thank you! Nicki, tell Finlay I found some chooks as he requested. They looked quite happy chilling under their koop as I ran past. Thank you for all your lovely emails - not long now until I speak to you both!!


Righto – until the next and last blog!



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RacingThePlanet: Jordan 2012

Palmerston North, NZ (Palmy Vegas!)

Solicitor and Partner in a London Law Firm

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RacingThePlanet: Jordan 2012 competitor


Palmerston North, NZ (Palmy Vegas!)

Solicitor and Partner in a London Law Firm

Why are you competing?
Like most vices, desert ultramarathons are

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