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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Stage 4
11-Sep-2014 01:26:55 AM [(GMT-05:00) Eastern Time(US & Canada)]

Firstly I must thank everybody for their comments. They only got shown today and it was such an uplift after 4 hard days, as I know many of you know. So many thanks David, Erin, George, PT, Mary and Fred.

The course had the usual challenges with the heat, weather and water crossings. I really never want to see a water crossing again in my life. My blisters are maturing nicely and attempting to take over the whole of my feet. A battle that , with the medical staff, I’m trying to win. I’m now blogging with, what feels like, 15 pounds of medical tape on my feet. I think I will be good for the long day although it will be painful. I think the key will be not stopping.

A nice turn for today are the sunburn blisters I now have on my hands. Curse my Lilly white English skin I have!

But Day 4 is finished, both Luba and I are back at camp debating what fine cuisine we will be partaking on tonight. In the last stage today we went through a village directly past a bar! I was temped but did not stray off the righteous path.

I realized that I haven’t talked anything about the people in the race. We are in an eight person tent and the first thing I will say is the distinct lack of snoring (David J) I think I got 5 hours sleep last night! They are a good crew though; James (JimBo) great runner and has the uncanny ability to verbalize every inappropriate comment that comes into his mind. That’s OK as he is amusing with it.

Next we have the Georgia boys, Matt and Steve. A true comical double act that have no problem in sharing every personal race grooming technique with the whole tent. Matt is also a poetry bard and is willing to serenade all to sleep with his silver tongue. Both guys are salt of the earth and a joy to be around.

Emily is the redemption queen after having to pull out of Jordan because of blisters. She is joined by her sister-in-law who is from the UAE and is in her first, and last, race. Neither of them want to race again. I told them to give it two months before making that decision…..

Lastly we have Susan, the Mama San. If you get into trouble she will offer up her wise words of “suck it up!”

Lastly I have to mention Jack who has joined me for every stage and kept my spirits and a very respectable position (for me).


Stage 5 – The Long Day………Done!
05-Sep-2014 09:46:56 AM [(GMT-05:00) Eastern Time(US & Canada)]

No matter how many times or how ready you are for the long day, it is tough. Very tough. Very long.

Once again there was a lot of water crossings, I REALLY hate water crossings now. Unless there is a bridge, tunnel, boat or aeroplane, I have not intention of ever doing a water crossing again. The worst was at the 50K mark where Luba and I both, in the dark, slid and went completely into the cold, smelly, muddy water. We stank, and still another 30K to go.

Luba and I did the long day together….and we’re still married! Just…. And never again.

One difference with this course compared to others is the number of villages we went through. It really gave us a chance to view the daily life, very interesting.

Only 10K to go tomorrow and then we’re done. It is strange to look back to only few years ago when 10K would have been a mammoth task, now it’s just the final shout, no problem.

During the run Luba learnt some Malagasy but now she has forgotten it all. Quality.

My thoughts are now on after the race and what is first on the list; shower, beer, meat, beer, clean clothes, beer, swimming pool or beer. For some reason I’m edging towards a beer first…But first we have a 4 hour journey back, you know that is going to be toxic bus by the time we leave.

This will be my last race blog in Madagascar. Once again, thank you everybody for your comments. It really is appreciated to know there are people outside of this crazy race and can see how insand we really are (Rich).

Thanks, Nigel & Luba

Day 3….Done
02-Sep-2014 02:04:40 AM [(GMT-05:00) Eastern Time(US & Canada)]

And it’s hump day, all downhill from here, I hope!

Firstly, as epilogue from yesterday’s blog, Luba did complete but didn’t get in until around 8:30. I’m so proud of her completing that course in the dark. That takes courage and determination.

Another long day with the cloudless heat that we have come to expect from the last 2 days. I can’t explain how much the weather saps every ounce of energy. Add on to that going 25 miles and carrying a 8KG backpack for over 8 hours and travelling through some challenging terrain makes it a truly “special” experience. That would explain why we have already lost 32 competitors and I’m sure there will be more before the event is over.

I’m having a really bad blister day. I usually don’t suffer much but today I pick up 5, one all cross the ball of my foot. I’m really going to have to watch them or I’ll be in real trouble.

The course was as beautiful as I have come to expect for Madagascar and RTP. The highlight was going through the Red Tsingy Valley which had the most amazing sandstone needle structures. They rose from the floor of canyon like a forest of church organ pipes. Amazing.

It was a long day covering another 42K and had a good amount of elevation each peak making us often scramble up 200 meters.

We have both finished for the day and we are about to eat another fine quality freeze dried meal. Words fail to express my excitement over the prospect of the imminent fine dining experience…….

Day 2……..done
01-Sep-2014 02:05:40 AM [(GMT-05:00) Eastern Time(US & Canada)]

Firstly, happy holiday to all our American friends. It makes us feel so much better that you are all at BBQs and pool parties whilst we are driving ourselves through some of the toughest terrain in Madagascar. Or NOT!

Today was longer than normal day clocking in at 47K (28.9 miles). The extra 7k was tough. It was through water and rice paddies. We all came out stinking and we will have to wear the same shoe or the next 4 days. Not pleasant!

The whole day was a challenge taking some of the things I generally like and making me hate them. We started off on a beach running through sand, very tough. This lead to a lava field that made very slow moving. Next we went through a forest area where I was constantly buckled over due to the overhanging branches, I guess the locals are much shorter!

Luba is still out on the course. This worries me as it is dark and she will have to navigate the water and paddies. She is a trooper though and I know she will do it.

Talk tomorrow…

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