• EVENT CALENDAR
    Click the event name for full details.
    EVENT NAME LOCATION DATE
    Gobi March China 1 Jun 2014
    RacingThePlanet: Madagascar Madagascar 31 Aug 2014
    Atacama Crossing Chile 5 Oct 2014
    The Last Desert Antarctica 1 Nov 2014
    Sahara Race Jordan 8 Mar 2015
    Gobi March China 31 May 2015
    Atacama Crossing Chile 4 Oct 2015
  • NEWSLETTER
    * Please fill out all fields

     

    Albania
    • Afghanistan
    • Albania
    • Algeria
    • Andorra
    • Angola
    • Anguilla
    • Antarctica
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Argentina
    • Armenia
    • Aruba
    • Australia
    • Austria
    • Azerbaijan
    • Bahamas
    • Bahrain
    • Bangladesh
    • Barbados
    • Belarus
    • Belgium
    • Belize
    • Benin
    • Bermuda
    • Bhutan
    • Bolivia
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    • Botswana
    • Bouvet Island
    • Brazil
    • British Indian Ocean Territory
    • Brunei Darussalam
    • Bulgaria
    • Burkina Faso
    • Burundi
    • Cambodia
    • Cameroon
    • Canada
    • Cape Verde
    • Cayman Islands
    • Central African Republic
    • Chad
    • Chile
    • China
    • Christmas Island
    • Cocos (Keeling Islands)
    • Colombia
    • Comoros
    • Congo
    • Cook Islands
    • Costa Rica
    • Croatia (Hrvatska)
    • Cuba
    • Cyprus
    • Czech Republic
    • Democratic Republic of Congo
    • Denmark
    • Djibouti
    • Dominica
    • Dominican Republic
    • East Timor
    • Ecuador
    • Egypt
    • El Salvador
    • England
    • Equatorial Guinea
    • Eritrea
    • Estonia
    • Ethiopia
    • Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
    • Faroe Islands
    • Fiji
    • Finland
    • France
    • French Guiana
    • French Polynesia
    • French Southern Territories
    • Gabon
    • Gambia
    • Georgia
    • Germany
    • Ghana
    • Gibraltar
    • Greece
    • Greenland
    • Grenada
    • Guadeloupe
    • Guam
    • Guatemala
    • Guinea
    • Guinea-Bissau
    • Guyana
    • Haiti
    • Heard and McDonald Islands
    • Honduras
    • Hong Kong
    • Hungary
    • Iceland
    • India
    • Indonesia
    • Iran
    • Iraq
    • Ireland
    • Israel
    • Italy
    • Jamaica
    • Japan
    • Jordan
    • Kazakhstan
    • Kenya
    • Kiribati
    • Korea (North)
    • Korea (South)
    • Kuwait
    • Kyrgyzstan
    • Laos
    • Latvia
    • Lebanon
    • Lesotho
    • Liberia
    • Libya
    • Liechtenstein
    • Lithuania
    • Luxembourg
    • Macau
    • Macedonia
    • Madagascar
    • Malawi
    • Malaysia
    • Maldives
    • Mali
    • Malta
    • Marshall Islands
    • Martinique
    • Mauritania
    • Mauritius
    • Mayotte
    • Mexico
    • Micronesia
    • Moldova
    • Monaco
    • Mongolia
    • Montserrat
    • Morocco
    • Mozambique
    • Myanmar
    • Namibia
    • Nauru
    • Nepal
    • Netherlands
    • Netherlands Antilles
    • New Caledonia
    • New Zealand
    • Nicaragua
    • Niger
    • Nigeria
    • Niue
    • Norfolk Island
    • Northern Ireland
    • Northern Mariana Islands
    • Norway
    • Oman
    • Pakistan
    • Palau
    • Palestine
    • Panama
    • Papua New Guinea
    • Paraguay
    • Peru
    • Philippines
    • Pitcairn
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • Puerto Rico
    • Qatar
    • Reunion
    • Romania
    • Russian Federation
    • Rwanda
    • S. Georgia and S. Sandwich Isls.
    • Saint Kitts and Nevis
    • Saint Lucia
    • Saint Vincent and The Grenadines
    • Samoa
    • San Marino
    • Sao Tome and Principe
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Scotland
    • Senegal
    • Serbia
    • Seychelles
    • Sierra Leone
    • Singapore
    • Slovak Republic
    • Slovenia
    • Solomon Islands
    • Somalia
    • South Africa
    • Spain
    • Sri Lanka
    • St. Helena
    • St. Pierre and Miquelon
    • Sudan
    • Suriname
    • Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands
    • Swaziland
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • Syria
    • Taiwan
    • Tajikistan
    • Tanzania
    • Thailand
    • Togo
    • Tokelau
    • Tonga
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    • Tunisia
    • Turkey
    • Turkmenistan
    • Turks and Caicos Islands
    • Tuvalu
    • Uganda
    • Ukraine
    • United Arab Emirates
    • United Kingdom
    • United States
    • Uruguay
    • US Minor Outlying Islands
    • Uzbekistan
    • Vanuatu
    • Vatican City State (Holy See)
    • Venezuela
    • Vietnam
    • Virgin Islands (British)
    • Virgin Islands (US)
    • Wales
    • Wallis and Futuna Islands
    • Western Sahara
    • Yemen
    • Yugoslavia
    • Zaire
    • Zambia
    • Zimbabwe
    EVENT NEWSLETTER
    Highlights on events, media coverage and new items.
    GEAR BULLETIN
    News on special discounts and latest information on equipment, clothing and nutrition products.
Follow Me on Pinterest

RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

The Neno Knee-breaker…
08-Jul-2014 01:11:50 AM [(GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria]

Well - this was a heck of a weekend! I just spent 4 days doing a "mini-Madagascar" in the mountains of Neno, Malawi along with my training & race partner Karen, with my wonderful hubby and son crewing for us… Distances were 25k, 35k, 25k, and 50k - for a total of 135k…. We walked/ran from Ntcheu to Mwanza along the Mozambican border… absolutely STUNNING scenery, and more hills than I hope to ever have to do again! So the biggest thing on my mind this weekend was fundraising… This is something I have absolutely NO experience with - I can write multi-million dollar healthcare proposals and create logic models and lists of indicators and targets, along with detailed budgets with no problem at all. But I don't know how to just ask for a donation for something that really matters to me. I wanted my Madagascar race to have something very tangible and impactful attached to it, so we are raising money to buy an ambulance for the Child Legacy clinic here in Malawi. The many many hours of walking this weekend gave me a whole new level of appreciation for the combination of distance and pain. We passed only two health centers the entire four days, and not a single hospital. The districts we walked through have a combined population of over half a million people. Anyone who is severely ill or having trouble in childbirth has a herculean task to get to the nearest health care. The need for a four-wheel drive ambulance in this part of the world cannot be underestimated. And so, my biggest task in the next 7 1/2 weeks is to swallow my uncertainty (and my pride?) and just ask all my friends and family to help us buy the ambulance. Now, what about all the other things I thought about this weekend? There were so many lessons learned, I hardly know where to start…. some of my questions which evolved over the last few months have now started to answer themselves… Socks - which kinds and how many? - Injinji liners x2 - CEP compression socks x2 This way, there's a dry pair to put on at the end of each day after redoing toe-tape…. oh… and no, I can't wait until the morning to put on the dry set, as my feet and legs have a nasty habit of swelling and throbbing in the night, making it a huffy-puffy-sweat-inducing task to get socks back on in the morning! It's amazing how much socks can handle being re-worn, so I really don't need to carry the extra weight that a clean pair every day would add to my pack. Mindgames… After hour 5 on any given day I seem to be at the mercy of my mind - I may not have multiple personality disorder, but there's definitely a voice in my head that I'd rather not claim as my own - it starts talking insistently and negatively when I'm tired and my feet start to hurt. Is there a mean-voice-killer you may ask? Yes, LOUD music and just sing-along no matter how many funny looks you get from passers-by… After thirty minutes or so, the voice gives up and goes away - for a little while at least Shoes…. FINALLY - I've found something that works - La Sportivas. Lovely shoes… since I had to go up two sizes to allow for swelling (and believe me you need the extra space!!), that put me into the range of men's sizes - sigh, yes, I do feel my femininity and [wishful] inherent sexiness threatened completely by admitting I need men's shoes - but I've ended up with a rather bizarrely black-and-flame colored pair of shoes which feel like heaven. They're so good in fact that I just did 110 of my 135k trek in them - I wore them on day 1 straight out of the box… then planned to switch back to my 'old' Salomons for Days 2-4. But my feet hurt so bad by the end of Day 2, along with a nasty ache in my knee that I switched back to the new ones. At the end of the four days, my feet were just tired and sore like nothing I've ever experienced, but I'm confident the new shoes at least mitigated the worst of it. Food… I hate freeze-dried meals… yuck! I can stomach the lasagna and the cuban beans and rice, but that's about it. Ramen noodles on the other hand, I start fantasizing about after four hours on my feet… Must be a salt/carb thing going on. Anyhow, I'm rethinking what food to take with me to Madagascar now…. Instant noodles, freeze-dried fruit, and biltong (extra-dry jerky) may be the magic combination for me. But before I can decide for sure I'll need to work out the calories and make sure it's enough. I have to say, I've never in my life had to work so hard to make sure I pack and/or eat ENOUGH calories in each day. Breakfast is a given - chocolate Pronutro with a scoop of protein powder and powdered milk - yummy. I'm actually contemplating doing the same for a couple of dinners given my gag response to the freeze-dried meals. Desitin creamy… The advantage to having had kids in the somewhat recent past, is that there are random baby products left laying around well after the kids are out of nappies. This stuff turns out to be a girl's best friend! It's a great supplement to body glide. And in the event you do chafe, this'll fix it overnight before you have to head back out again. The pack… I'm still a complete fan of my WAA ultra bag - turns out it works REALLY well as a pillow as well, since it's so flat and rectangular, even well packed. I sleep on my side, so I need more pillowing to be sure I don't get a crick in my neck. The only thing I really DON"T like about the pack are the water bottles and holders…. I've struggled with these for the last few months, and even lost one when it randomly fell off my front pack (without me even noticing?!?!) a few weeks ago. I don't like the holders as they come undone too easily; I don't like the straws as they are too much work, and the bottles have a nasty habit of leaking - and I hate having sticky fingers. So, I've decided to just go ahead with spending the extra money for a couple of the Raidlight Olmo bottles with holders. They look far better engineered that what I'm struggling with. Oh, but I should say that the bottle holders which came with my bag work really well for stashing my iPod in - easy to take in and out when I want to take photos, which is often! Music, and… I have my normal go-to music, but I have found that after a while I need something different… turns out 80's and 60's music works nicely… especially when I need to slay the mean-voice-in-my-mind. The other thing I want to try that I've not done yet is an audiobook. I think this would help from hours 7-10 when things start to hurt and time starts to really drag. And that's all for now folks… time to sit back for the rest of today, be glad I took time off work, ice my achy knee, and feel exceptionally happy that nothing else hurts!
5 COMMENTS

Mina Guli

Posted: 16-Jul-2014 06:00:34 AM

Hi Beth - agree with you on the WAA Bag - it's a fabulously designed piece of equipment. I tried a bunch of others but keep coming back to this one. Re bottles - actually i've just been using regular water bottles in the front two holders which seem to work quite well. Will be interested to hear how you go with the raidlight options. On the charity question - couple of thoughts: - I want to do something local, and work full time for Thirst (a water focussed charity here in China) so I'm putting together a project in Madagascar which will deliver clean water to 3,000 people. I have more information on this if you want it and will send it through to the great RTP team for posting on the competitors website. - I also have a problem in asking people for money - actually when I did MDS last year, I didn't ask people for anything until right at the last minute when a great friend sat me down and refused to let me up until I'd sent the email. By the time I came back a week later, I had raised USD20,000!!!! it was amazing. The lesson I learned? If you don't ask, you'll never receive. Find a friend that can help you put together an email, and send it out. Sign up to one of the fundraising websites so that people can donate immediately and directly by credit card (following up commitments after you get back is a pain in the neck!). You'll lose a few percentages in the transaction costs, but it's worth it to eliminate the followup hassle. Just one more thing about charities - I had a stress fracture at the 7km mark of MDS. The only thing that got me across the remaining 243km was my awareness that the hopes and dreams of young chinese kids following me across the desert were resting on my shoulders. The people who support you, who will benefit from the ambulance - the lives you save by doing this - they are the things that will finally silence those voices you hear. Look forward to meeting you in MAD. Mina

Pamela Badger

Posted: 11-Jul-2014 09:34:11 PM

Go Beth!

Sharon Dopak

Posted: 09-Jul-2014 06:17:20 AM

Beth, So great to read your blog. I was struggling with the same issues when it came to a charity. Originally, I hadn't declared supporting one but after doing some training and telling people about it many were surprised that I wasn't raising money for SOMETHING. The problem for me too is that I hate asking personal friends and relatives for money. So, no advice here I'm afraid, but I certainly understand how you feel! When I did the Sahara in 2009 I did a mini-trial run before the race similar to yours. I'm afraid I haven't had time to do one here yet but your blog has definitely inspired me to some how find the time, because as you've said, it's quite a learning experience! Looking forward to meeting you. Sharon

Kerry Randall

Posted: 09-Jul-2014 04:27:29 AM

Fantastic blog Beth, thank you for sharing. Sounds like a great cause too, good luck with the fundraising. For the record, I had the same issue with my WAA bag and also switched to Raidlight bottles. Good luck with the training and I look forward to meeting you in Madagascar!

Sam F

Posted: 08-Jul-2014 04:29:10 PM

Beth, what a great blog - I love to read about people's preparations when they are all coming together and this is perfect timing before the race for this to happen. I also think the cause you have chosen to support is so worthwhile. Do send more details of the charity to [email protected] and we will add it to your profile and to the charity section of the website. Keep up the good work and I look forward to meeting you in Madagascar!

First Name*
Last Name*
Email*
Country*
Comment*
Sign up for our newsletter
Sign up for our gear bulletin
 
Security Code*:
(Please type the code shown below)
  

Our Partners
BETH BARR
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014

Hometown
Lilongwe, Malawi

Profession
Public Health / Epidemiology

Race Stats
Equipment List

Other Races

archives

BLOG ROLL

  No Blog Roll

BY CATEGORY

   

  Walking( 1 )


BETH BARR
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 competitor

Bio

Lived in Malawi, Kenya, Botswana, US and UK.
Education in Public Health: Behavioral Sciences and Epidemiology

Hometown
Lilongwe, Malawi

Profession
Public Health / Epidemiology

Why are you competing?
I'm always up for a new challenge and this fits!

Race Stats
Equipment List

Other Races