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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Stage 2
01-Sep-2014 01:10:29 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Hi all,

I cannot recall of more hellish single day of running. Ever. Period. And I’m in all sorts of strife..the worst of which is some mutant chafing.

The day started by the sea with some very ginger hopping over an expansive headland of serated honeycombed rocks. Jagged, volcanic and extraordinarily sharp. After tip-toeing over those the course ducked into the scrub and the start and the commencement of what would become a 10 hour slog through sand, dust, rice paddies, river crossings and dank bogs.

About 15km into the day I stepped over a light tan snake that had darted toward me. It only changed direction when startled by my shrill manly squeal and wisely slithered into the bush to avoid my landing on it when I come back to earth after my best ever vertical leap. Jamie and I were trotting along well at that stage and alternating walking and some short spells of running. Not long passed until a much larger python was sunning itself on the path until it too moved into the bush. No more wildlife and we moved quickly through a long grove of trees and locals farmers fencing. The villages were abuzz but I was tiring by early arvo and had to let Jaime shoot ahead.

Before that though, just ahead of a checkpoint we spied a large knoll wooded with towering and magnificently broad baobab trees. It was text book Madagascar and I was enjoying the first stages. Until we wandered into muddy rice paddy and I sunk into the mud to my right knee. When I tried to lift my left leg out my shoe stayed in the mud. Deep and stuck fast..and the day then really started becoming tough. The long dusty roads of deep sand were very tough to negotiate and I was heading downhill fast. To be honest the heat, humidity and sand was simply savage and I was spent with 17km still to go.

The afternoon held series of waterways to be forded and rice paddy bunds to balance along. I tried to be cheerful for the dozens of villages I passed through. I enjoyed wandering amongst the thatched adobe huts and watching the kids dart after me was a welcome distraction. By now though I had disintegrated to a staggering lumber and just needed to get it done. When I heard the drums I was relieved beyond belief. The final few km’s of paddies, mud and fences have taken their toll. My biggest concern is the aggressive chafing and I’m afraid my only option will be Elastoplast over my raw thighs…that’ll stay on for weeks!

I’m trying to recover as best I can for tomorrow’s 40km stage..today’s 46km was stunningly tough and my goals have gone from top 100 to top half of the field to simply surviving the week. Much, much tougher course and conditions than I expected.

But hey; this is Africa.

My best to you all and much love to my wife and children.



Fay Spratt

Posted: 03-Sep-2014 12:52:45 AM

Sounds very stressfull Steven,but we are all proud of you.Only a couple of weeks to cocktails, keep thinking of that.I would Love Fay and Ron

Paul Graham

Posted: 02-Sep-2014 11:04:43 PM

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger mate. Except pythons !

Travis Saunders

Posted: 02-Sep-2014 10:50:25 PM

Whatever it takes mate. Your courage is inspirational. Stage 3 is another day. Break it down. It certainly sounds like a very tough course taking it to the extremes. Think of the lemonades you will be drinking at the end. Cheers Trav

Paul Tyas

Posted: 02-Sep-2014 10:30:15 PM

I'm hurting just reading that blog post. I hope you got through stage 3. Take it as you need walk it. . Hopefully the elestoplast helped. Keep up the the good work. I'm sure Leanne's cocktail image will get you across! Go Steve!

Leanne Brydon

Posted: 02-Sep-2014 06:18:40 PM

This blog from stage 2 has only just come though and by now I'm hoping you have finished stage 3! Sounds really tough out there, and with the chaffing...ouch! Loving the images of snakes everywhere, how do you reckon I would go? Stay strong, sending lots of love your way with images of cocktails by the beach in a couple of weeks! xxxxxx

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