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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Finish and reflection
08-Sep-2014 11:38:33 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Its taken a couple of Madagascar days to get to a place where I could put down my last words on the race finish and the aftermath. Friday night at Ambilobe camp was a cocktail of physical discomfort blended with good laughs and support that everyone gave each other - especially at home in Marofato. I'd made a miscalculation trying to shed excess weight for the long march and left myself without a meal for Friday night. . By the time I got to the lost and found bag, anything even remotely edible was gone. But I managed to scrape 3-400 calories by splitting my Saturday breakfast plus bits and pieces scrounged and donated around the camp. A cup of beef oxo has almost nothing in it but so tasty when you're starving. So my memory of Fridays sleep was painful feet, hunger, restless cold sweat and my brain working overtime trying to figure out how to make the best of the final 10K when even standing up was excruciating. When morning came I had my small breakfast plus a couple of painkillers and then tried to warm up a bit. As we gathered at the start I was buzzing with adrenaline and within a couple of minutes I was chasing with the lead pack in sight. The feet were behaving themselves and it didn't immediately feel hot so I locked into my stride. I had a bit of a duel with Leiven for a bit but let him go as I wanted to hold something back for the last 2 miles. I didn't have a watch, the strap having broke on the first day so it was good to get a time check from the US half of the run/walk/pee quartet when they came through. I was feeling comfortable with sub 9 minute miles so the last 10K looked doable in under an hour and the whole event in under 45 looked attainable then also. As we approached Ambilobe I could see Lorence ahead - he'd run out really fast and I thought there was a high chance he'd blow up. I drew level and passed him and my intuition was confirmed as he fell back after a couple of minutes. So all that remained was to hang on for the finish and fend off any late attacks. The canadian barefoot runners and one of the Italian gents passed me as we entered the main street and I was getting hot and looking for the finish. The crowds were out lining the street and I just tried to keep my stride and form while smiling and waving to as many folk as possible. Once I reached the timer, I swiped my card and looked ahead for the finish chute. With that locked in, I lifted my knees, swung my arms and kicked for the line as hard as I could. I was pleased with how I felt: nothing held back and not hasselled with foot pain or sore shins. I thought I'd come in decently under the hour and the welcome we got at the end was incredible, not to mention the long awaited cold beer - the subject of 6 days hallucination came into reality!!! And to hold that massive medal was just the best feeling; I can't describe it. I am glad I pulled myself together and got back to the finish to see Lois, Andy and Ewan finish too. They're all legends - so very very strong to finish this race. What an epic week!!!
2 COMMENTS

Jane Milne

Posted: 09-Sep-2014 02:27:07 PM

Another great post to end with Pete. Many Congratulations again on such a fantastic achievement - hope you're enjoying your well deserved celebrations and rest (in fact, on reading between the line on Facebook I gather Congratulations are in order for surviving your celebrations!!) I've so much respect for the whole Gargunnock team, but for Lois to finish so far up the women's rankings (and first of the Gargunnock Dafties!) is just totally awe-inspiring - what a girl!! I'm sure you all encouraged and cajouled each other - the team effort is usually just as important as everything else in these things - so a huge well done to you all :) And thank you again for keeping us so comprehensively updated with your really great blog posts :) x

Andy Simpson

Posted: 09-Sep-2014 07:46:08 AM

Haha - great stuff Peter - can't wait until the day 8 entry - surely the hardest stage - 5 bottles of Three Horse, 17 mojitos and 4 bottles of wine in 24hrs...!

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PETER GILL
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014

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Global Field Services Director

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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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