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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Stage 5
05-Sep-2014 09:07:41 AM [(GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria]

“Every morning in Africa”….. you know how the saying goes about making sure whether you’re a lion or a gazelle, that you’re running when the sun comes up? Well I didn’t even faintly resemble either, but when the sun came up this morning I was still moving…. I suspect looking something like a drunk tortoise, but moving…. I found myself chuckling at 4am, in the dark hours before sunrise – I needed rumble strips to keep me on the road – I literally kept going off the side of the road with my eyes closed but feet still moving. Unfortunately I had some less amusing moments around 3am when I was reduced to going just a few steps at a time between dry heaves… ugh. Anyhow- the African dawn broke while I was refilling my water bottles at the last checkpoint…. And I crossed the finish line at 7:30am…. 23 ½ hrs after starting….. quite definitely the LONGEST day of my life. Lots of heat, sand, and water crossings…. I ran out of foot tape and dry socks… gave up trying to prevent more blisters and just gutted it out from 40k onwards. I didn’t fare too badly overall on the blister scene but my feet are not a pretty sight. I have heat rash and blister bubbles all the way up my legs too…. I do however remember some lovely walking in the hours before midnight – the moon was bright and the road was firm white sand so we didn’t need headlamps. After the heat of the afternoon, it was gorgeous! Many of my friends out there have written the most amazing emails to me – it has been so incredibly encouraging – you know who you are and thank you! My lovie Jeremy was with me most of the last 24 hours in my head – telling me “don’t you dare give up, this is what you came for”…. Early on in the day I had been through a very nasty bout of shin pain and dizziness, and I can remember seeing Jeremy’s legs as he walked next to me at a saunter saying “come on love, I thought this was a race you’re in!”… you kept me smiling Jeremy – thank you! As I sit here, the final few people are coming across the line. Somewhere around 50 of the 232 people who started this race dropped out. It’s been intense. The Japanese elite runner who is in second place said this course has been more difficult than the famously brutal Marathon des Sables run in the Sahara each year. So, now I get to rest… more than usual… tomorrow we have just 10k in to the finish line – more of a ceremonial completion of the race than an actual stage…. And since we’ve quite literally gallivanted our way across Madagascar, it’ll be about a 4 hour drive back to Diego. Tomorrow night is the after-race party and awards ceremony. It’ll be nice to see what everyone looks like and smells like AFTER a shower! Anyhow, I will write another update after all that…. The internet is quite useless in Diego, so it may not be until next Thursday after I get to RVA that I get to post. Thank you again to all of you who were praying me through the last six days to a successful completion of this race… there were so very many factors which could have led to a different result, but it was SO clear that HIS Hand was guiding my way each day. Starting with the 3 tentmates who have completed 23 of these races between them, who gave me encouragement and tips every day, kept me laughing each evening, waited patiently through my teary-eyed moment, and who had complete faith in me each day as we went to the start line… Martin, Harold and Paul – you were FANTASTIC! And Cynthia, whose ever-present plod next to me was more of a comfort than I can begin to describe – we most definitely ARE the “Truly Triumphant Turtles”!! This has been the experience of a lifetime.

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Amanda McIntosh

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 09:00:06 PM

So proud of you and happy for you! What strength!

Ann Hale

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 05:55:39 AM

Brilliant Beth. You will be there by now. Rest those weary feet and enjoy. Love A Ann and U Peter xx

Heather Walton (Harman)

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 01:10:42 AM

SO proud of you Beth, what a journey! Class of '93 has a lot to be proud of! Finish strong and to God be the Glory!

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Posted: 05-Sep-2014 11:28:27 PM

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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 competitor


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

Lilongwe, Malawi

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

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