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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Camp 6 the day after the longest day
05-Sep-2014 09:57:23 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Well I can say that ranked amongst the toughest days of my life.. My feet are shredded, I have strained the tendon bottom of my right shin, I have not slept with the pain. However, most importantly, I finished the 80km stage. The tale for yesterday is mostly about what went on inside my head rather than lengthy descriptions about amazing scenary. Of course there were stunning sights along the way, including a particularly beautiful river crossing and the majestic grey Tsingy, reflecting the fiery sunset. Had been in sight of Lois, Andy and Ewan til somewhere between CP2 and 3.. Lois was on a mission and Andy resolved to stay with her, which was a tough ask – with such disruption to his preparation, Andy had to use the 4 X 25 milers to get conditioned and work with his years of experience yomping . Ewan too showed his strength and determination to push hard despite his feet being in a bad way. As for me I thought that making the day alone might be quicker or maybe disasterously slower and I felt Lawrence , who is in our tent would be a good man to mark, having similar pace plus being good company. That turned out to be a good choice as each of us had to take turns to set the tempo when the other was flagging. After some13.5 hours, the two of us rocked up in camp, finding Andy Lois, Leiven and Ewan there already as expected. That was a joyous reunion and great that all of our tent were home safe. The previous 3-4 hours had been super-hard. The route took us across agricultural land, country tracks and through small settlements but there was almost no ambient light, with the moon hidden behind clouds. So our only visual references were the glow sticks and reflective markers spaced along the course. and other senses were amplified. Sounds of dogs barking, children crying , birds calling and smells of woodfires and cooking . At one point I was convinced I could smell liquorice but don’t know if that was hallucination So these sensations plus Lawrence’s company were my only distraction from the endless sandy path that we must travel to reach the haven of the campsite. At times the only rational motivation to keep going was the certainty that if we kept going, regardless of speed, we would each our destination. The rest was about what state our bodies and minds would be at the finish.

I haven’t a clue what I would do differently next time, I’m just glad I finished that stage – and times and positions are irrelevant because in this race, every competitor had their own yardstick. I just watched Gretta, AKA miss Denmark in the tent next to us finish after 25 hours., still smiling and chatty and hat and lip gloss still in place after all her trials. What a lady - and she will be a grandmother soon. So I salute all the incredible people that finished stage 5 and showed that pure mental toughness wins the day whether a seasoned athlete chasing placing in the results table or participating because they enjoy incredible journeys with good company. I think I’m a mix of both. Tomorrow I will complete the final stage under my own steam; it won’t be quick with the strain I have and I’ll walk if that’s what it takes!

Massive thanks to all who made fresh comments and support. Everyone has been amazing. – stop press; a Japanese couple just crossed the line and the guy dropped to his knee and proposed to his girl – and she said YES! Fabulous!!!

And a special shout out to Dave and Ester back in Stirling for your wedding day. You both really are the happy face of Stirling Triathlon Club and I send you all the best from Madagascar!! xx


Eddie Roberts

Posted: 08-Sep-2014 06:12:38 AM

Sounds absolutely brutal Peter, hang in there mate you are doing fantastic!

Alistair Abbott

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 05:18:19 PM

Pete, That sounded like a brutal stage so well done for getting through it. Hopefully it's al downhill from here on in. Look after yourself and remember to try and enjoy the experience.

Doug Bain

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 11:14:30 AM

Amazing Peter. Your blogs are incredible... how you manage to do 75+km... and then write up a blog like that I don't know... I struggle to blog after a days office work... Hope today is not too tough waking up with shredded feet and a marathon ahead. Can't even imagine it. Good luck for todays finish. Inspirational... !

Karen Leask

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 08:05:50 AM

Pete. Your blogs are amazing and give us a real idea of what it's like out there. What a journey to go on both physical and mentally. You are all amazing for doing this. Hope you manage to finish today in one piece and your injuries are. It too bad. Please don't post pics of you feet. I am in awe of you all. Karen x

Karen Leask

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 08:05:45 AM

Pete. Your blogs are amazing and give us a real idea of what it's like out there. What a journey to go on both physical and mentally. You are all amazing for doing this. Hope you manage to finish today in one piece and your injuries are. It too bad. Please don't post pics of you feet. I am in awe of you all. Karen x

Jane Milne

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 07:55:36 AM

Massive well done on making it to the end of that ridiculously tough day Pete. Hope that last 10k isn't too painful and hope you have an extremely well-deserved fantastic time celebrating when you finish. Your blogs have been brilliant - thank you for keeping us supporters from afar so wonderfully up to date with the team's progress :) xx

Claire Gill

Posted: 05-Sep-2014 10:36:47 PM

Well done you, we're so proud of you and massively relieved. I've stayed up to wait for blog. Now 23:31hrs. Alarm off at 05:45 for swimming tomorrow Your strain sounds painful so hope you can obtain some painkillers or other? Sounds from your email that the resting today was easing the pain a bit, wondered if you had shin splints. Take it easy tomorrow. Looking forward to catching up with you. I've arranged for someone to meet you at the finish. Love you lots, Claire, a Grace and Madeleine xxxx

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Works for Emerson as the Global Field Services Director for Flow Lifecycle Services. I joined the company over 20 years ago and spent most of that time managing field services in the oil and gas sector. I didn't go to university straight out of school but joined the Navy instead and caught up on my education later by studying in my own time for BSc hons and MBA while working full time.

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