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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Final refections....
29-Sep-2014 10:14:30 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

So the race is finally over and its only now, a few weeks later that I am able to sit and finally reflect on what I have just done. As soon as the plane touched back down in London I was thrust back into the world of work and motherhood and have barely had a chance to sit a drink it all in. Life inevitably carries on but I have managed to find a spare few minutes. Work emails are done, the baby is napping in her nursery and I have a cup of tea in hand so here goes…

I feel such an enormous sense of pride in what I have achieved. I think its only now that I am realizing what an incredible feat it was to take on. I am no athlete. In fact I hate running with a passion yet I have just managed to complete my first ever 250km. Its safe to say that my training has been fairly minimal in a year that saw me have a baby, go back to work full time and start up two businesses at the same time as trying to continue being a loving mother, wife, daughter and friend with some level of social life thrown in for good measure. I really have been running on fumes for the last 12 months pretty much.

Its also safe to say the race really wouldn’t have been the same without my little tent 12 family. We had such a fun week together and they were one of the main reasons I woke up feeling that I could face the day. Every morning I would wake up and peel the lovely Steve’s blistered feet out of my hair [because putting the two tallest tent mates on the same side of the tent seemed like a great idea at the time] I would turn and smile at my lovely Susan who had started her daily pre-race rituals and laugh at the never ending amount of expletives coming out of Jimbo’s mouth about the day ahead. I would pack my bag, slip on my shoes [admittedly this part took longer and longer by the day] and stood on that start line ready to see what course setter Piers had in store for us the next stage.

Quite understandably there were a fair few people who were unsure whether or not I would complete this challenge and quite honestly you wouldn’t blame them for thinking it. However there was never a doubt in mind that I would finish the distance. It could have meant me being the last one crawling at the back with the guys in the pink but the only way I would have withdrawn would have been because a RTP staff member had told me to. Knowing the whole rainbow of emotions that I felt when I dropped out of the Jordan race in 2012 there was no chance that I was going to feel that way again. Not only that but in order to take part in this particular race meant leaving my daughter for the first time ever to travel half way across the world to take part in my own personal adventure-if I’d quit half way through then it would have been for nothing. When Lydia-Rose is old enough to comprehend I really want her to know that she can do anything she puts her mind to if she wants it badly enough just like her mummy.

A lot of people have asked me if it was lonely out there on the course on my own but I can honestly say that I wasn’t. I enjoyed every single second of being out on the race. For the most part walking independently gave my usually crowded brain the chance to let go of everything and focus on the task in hand, to enjoy the scenery and to smile at all of the local villagers that I would walk past. I was free from any kind of guilt of holding anyone back moving at my fairly slow pace and never had to inflict any of my internal and external pain onto anyone else. I felt positive throughout every day [with that little exception of my mini mini meltdown on route to check point three of day four!} I would get to have little snippets of conversations with people as we passed each other, say hello and sometimes I would walk small sections between check points with others but really I was more than happy with my own thoughts.

The one exception to this was of course the welcome companion that I had on the long stage. Ahmad. For his company I will be forever in his debt. I am sure that really he probably could have finished faster than me but we stuck together throughout the entire long march side by side in the dark, often in silence but mutually understanding the pain that we were both going through with our ankles. I hope that his two young girls back in South Africa are very proud of their daddy.

I may not have been any kind of competition for the likes of Ryan Sandes [That guy cannot be human!!] but I feel that I won in my own special way. All of my personal goals that I’d set myself were achieved on the race. Not once did I see a pink sweeper, I ran into every single checkpoint without fail and placed a respectable 170. Certainly not last and not bad for a self confessed hater of running. When Avi placed my medal around my neck at the finish line and I was so elated. Then Eric passed me a nice large cold beer and never had a beer tasted SO good! I can finally say that I have run an ultra. AMAZING!

I do need to say a few thank you’s.

To my Tent 12 [Elephant tree] family- Paula, Susan, Jimbo, Steve, Matt, Luba and Nigel. Thank you for making my week so memorable. Long may poetry corner continue from afar. I miss you already.

My honorary tent mate Ralph- you know!

Toby and Susan for our daily games of cat and mouse on the course…

Sam Fanshawe for always believing that I would finish the distance and to Riita for directing another awesome event.

To every single one of the volunteers and doctors who worked tirelessly throughout the event. But particular thank you to Eric, Avi and Dolfen. Having their familiar faces cheering me on at every check point made up for the fact that Alan wasn’t there shouting “Good Jawb” every two seconds!

But more importantly I would like to thank my husband Alan. After all it was due to Alan’s own challenge that got me involved with Racing the Planet in the first place. He has continually supported me knowing that I had to do this and has been an amazing daddy to Lydia-Rose especially whilst I was on the other side of the world. I love you very much.

So…. Miss Fanshawe stood there on the finish line and turned and asked me would I do another race and I categorically said no. My brief career as an ultra-marathon athlete [!!] was well and truly over. But now as I see all of the hundreds of photos floating about on my Facebook feed and that the post adventure blues have well and truly kicked in I find myself thinking that now I know I can complete the distance what if I bettered my 170 position….

Damn it Racing the Planet, damn it…..

6 COMMENTS

abhi singh

Posted: 23-Jul-2017 04:58:11 PM

I want to know about the playstation codes so now i am searching for these codes.check url and you get free psn card codes.

Donna & John Braithwaite

Posted: 02-Oct-2014 10:26:21 AM

We never had any doubts that you would complete the course - we know your determination - you were brilliant - well done

Sam Weller

Posted: 30-Sep-2014 05:49:46 PM

Fantastic reflection of your epic time racing. Have a goal, touch it, and grow. Very proud of what you have experienced and will be with you for ever. Something to tell the grand kids. Ha ha Love you zillions of billions. Dad

Denise Moyse

Posted: 28-Sep-2014 07:45:29 PM

Bonkers! Utterly bonkers! But I wish I was you....! Big Hugs & loads of love. Very proud of you xxxx

karen weller

Posted: 28-Sep-2014 07:22:24 PM

Lovely Emily....... so very very proud of you xxx

Michelle whitmarsh

Posted: 28-Sep-2014 06:15:42 PM

Good job little buddy, I'm so proud Emily, I don't think you should stop until you've done one in every continent!

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EMILY BRAITHWAITE
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014

Hometown
Southampton

Profession
Civil Servant and owner of Baylily Bell Tents

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EMILY BRAITHWAITE
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 competitor

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Hometown
Southampton

Profession
Civil Servant and owner of Baylily Bell Tents

Why are you competing?
Due to not completing the Jordan race back in 2012
I have a personal mission to complete the 250km
distance.

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