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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Stage 5
05-Sep-2014 10:11:04 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Nailed it! 14 hours and 40 minutes, pulled through with the support of all of you and my ex-submariner hiking partner Peter.

I confess to having a good sleep, foot clean and blister slicing, followed by a cup of scrounged powdered soup with an OXO cube for good measure, before beginning this blog. Rather slack after 80kms of sandy trails, high tsingy spiky mountains, villages full of smiling happy people (and hundreds of pairs of discarded shorts for some reason), villages which in darkness provided sanctuary for slightly bolder dogs, and what I believe where the Malagasy Olympic snoring team (my ear plugs will be donated to their victims before I leave), and seven checkpoints full of dedicated team support, doctors and pained feet. At one of these we all pontnouly burst into the Boxer by Simon & Garfunkel, a weird and wonderful moment.

Brendan, they are playing a live tape of Queen as I type, so music is still good (just changed to ACDC), Kyra I stopped for a short break under a shady tree, to watch two very very small perfectly white kids (baby goats that is), jumping around together, sorry no video, but you would have wanted me to bring them home as new pets.

Thank you again all for your postings (if that is the technical term). So happy to know the pressure the Nile crocodile can exert with its jaws.

You will not believe this but someone has just arrived at camp here, which means they have been on the trail for over 28 hours! 4 hours earlier a Japanese couple crossed the line, and then he knelt down and proposed to her, with a ring that he hd carried for 240kms. Not a dry eye in sight.

There were many moments on the trail which will start to flash back to me, but the camaraderie and humour amongst competitors pervades with great strength through it all.

Flashbacks – Peter and I being driven off the trail by buffalo, dancing by torchlight through a laughing village who were listening to some awesome Malagasy jazz, repeatedly catching up with a team of 2 South Africans and 2 Americans whose strategy seemed to be walk/run/pee, walk/run/pee… large black and white ravens (?) waiting in trees vulture like by the trial, beautiful snakes (green and silver), cool Malagasy dude on a bicycle in 1960’s shades and dark purple shirt, a lovely French girl waiting for breakfast in tears before starting the day (she finished strong), immaculate Japanese tents, immaculate Japanese team food, still being unable to squat after 25 years in Asia, competitors laid out today under the tree, feet on benches where possible, chatting and laughing,


One more night and 10km final sprint to the finish and cold drinks, yeah!


YanYan Li

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 04:04:43 PM

Congratulations on an absolutely amazing finish. So wonderful to hear all about the grueling journey, blisters, lost toe nails and all and then to hear your excitement and high from completing each stage. What a huge accomplishment!

penelope Johnston

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 02:53:07 PM

So proud of you. what a magical time. and in the top 100, WOW. Hugs M

Brendan, Jameson Johnston, Mclennan

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 01:26:48 PM

So glad you are finally done and listening to great music. You should have listened to "The Show Must go On" at the beginning of the day but I guess you had enough motivation as it was. Hope all is going well and have a great final 10km. So glad that you completed it. It seems really amazing and I can even contemplate doing the race my self. Glad you had fun.

Kyra Johnston

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 01:14:46 PM

I'M SO PROUD, GO DADDY! I wish I could've seen those super cute kids playing with you. Can't wait for you to come back and relax in the pool and watch those fabulous rainbow patterns; and listen to the amazing stories! Love you lots and have fun on the last day! Big hugs, KJ

Kyra Johnston

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 01:14:41 PM

I'M SO PROUD, GO DADDY! I wish I could've seen those super cute kids playing with you. Can't wait for you to come back and relax in the pool and watch those fabulous rainbow patterns; and listen to the amazing stories! Love you lots and have fun on the last day! Big hugs, KJ

Clare Baldwin

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 12:39:19 PM

WELL DONE! That is just awesome. A big cheer from Hong Kong!

Michael Chandler

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 10:40:26 AM

Way to go LT!! You did it. Nicely done and great to see that you are in good spirits, taking it all in, and embracing the event. Great accomplishment. Always knew you had the fortitude and toughness to do this. Enjoy the last day and celebration. Safe travels home and can't wait to see your pics!!

Adam Johnston

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 10:36:05 AM

AWESOME!!!!!!!!! Just so impressed with your feat or should that be feet! Enjoy if you can the last 10 km's. I love that 10km's is now simply a sprint, everything is relative!

Sarah Searson

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 07:47:08 AM

Sounds incredible ! Cold drinks - aahhh the mirage in the distance ...coke or beer ? beer or coke ? , coke or beer ?, beer or coke ? coke or beer ? Beer or coke ? Coke or beer ? beer or Coke ? ..... Or both ! Enjoy the finale xx

Lucy Toms

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 04:10:49 AM

Wowsers! So amazing and inspiring you are and so fantastic to hear the happiness in your blogs recalling the awesomeness of your journey. Everything really is awesome! Good luck for the final 10km and the cold refreshing drink much deserved at the finish line! You are an official hero! X

Sarah Mawkes

Posted: 05-Sep-2014 11:13:29 PM

Hey Lawrence it just sounds all too amazing except the slicing blisters off thing, ouch! And what do you eat with powdered chicken tikka or is the rice included in the mix? Can't wait to see your photos, the wildlife and scenery sounds utterly incredible. What a change from the river Stour! Well done you, enjoy your last two days , lots of love and hugs, Sarah Maisie Tom xxx

Claire Gill

Posted: 05-Sep-2014 10:23:09 PM

Ell done on completing the long march Lorence. I would like to thank you for supporting Peter too. As a first timer I am sure he has appreciated the support and camaraderie you have shown him along the way too. Best of luck for tomorrow and it has been a pleasure reading your blogs. Thank you "The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity." - Ulysses S. Grant

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Why are you competing?
Because it's Madagascar! and to tighten up so I'm
not physically embarrassed or embarrassing when by
the water with Brendan and Kyra J. And it's about
time I got back into some sport.

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