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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

A great big shout-out to the Child Legacy ambulance supporters!
08-Sep-2014 06:34:43 AM [(GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria]

I finally got a chance to catch up on my emails…. I got the wonderful news from Jeff and Karen that enough funds to purchase the ambulance were in - and the ambulance has already been ordered! YES!!! Thank you all for your amazing generosity and sacrifice. You are all truly amazing. An especially big shout-out to Karen's friends and family members for their help in making this happen - Karen put her everything into this race, and your support in realizing the dream of the ambulance will surely help balance the disappointment she had as a result of injury. And for those who have pledged but not yet given, we do still need to get the ambulance to Malawi, clear it through customs, and get it registered in Malawi…. so your contribution will still be as critical as every other one we've received so far! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you ALL!!!! Leaving you with a parting verse: "Do good, be rich in good deeds, and be generous and willing to share. In this way you will take hold of the life that is truly life” - 1 Timothy 6:18-19 (slightly paraphrased).
Stage 5
05-Sep-2014 09:07:41 AM [(GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria]

“Every morning in Africa”….. you know how the saying goes about making sure whether you’re a lion or a gazelle, that you’re running when the sun comes up? Well I didn’t even faintly resemble either, but when the sun came up this morning I was still moving…. I suspect looking something like a drunk tortoise, but moving…. I found myself chuckling at 4am, in the dark hours before sunrise – I needed rumble strips to keep me on the road – I literally kept going off the side of the road with my eyes closed but feet still moving. Unfortunately I had some less amusing moments around 3am when I was reduced to going just a few steps at a time between dry heaves… ugh. Anyhow- the African dawn broke while I was refilling my water bottles at the last checkpoint…. And I crossed the finish line at 7:30am…. 23 ½ hrs after starting….. quite definitely the LONGEST day of my life. Lots of heat, sand, and water crossings…. I ran out of foot tape and dry socks… gave up trying to prevent more blisters and just gutted it out from 40k onwards. I didn’t fare too badly overall on the blister scene but my feet are not a pretty sight. I have heat rash and blister bubbles all the way up my legs too…. I do however remember some lovely walking in the hours before midnight – the moon was bright and the road was firm white sand so we didn’t need headlamps. After the heat of the afternoon, it was gorgeous! Many of my friends out there have written the most amazing emails to me – it has been so incredibly encouraging – you know who you are and thank you! My lovie Jeremy was with me most of the last 24 hours in my head – telling me “don’t you dare give up, this is what you came for”…. Early on in the day I had been through a very nasty bout of shin pain and dizziness, and I can remember seeing Jeremy’s legs as he walked next to me at a saunter saying “come on love, I thought this was a race you’re in!”… you kept me smiling Jeremy – thank you! As I sit here, the final few people are coming across the line. Somewhere around 50 of the 232 people who started this race dropped out. It’s been intense. The Japanese elite runner who is in second place said this course has been more difficult than the famously brutal Marathon des Sables run in the Sahara each year. So, now I get to rest… more than usual… tomorrow we have just 10k in to the finish line – more of a ceremonial completion of the race than an actual stage…. And since we’ve quite literally gallivanted our way across Madagascar, it’ll be about a 4 hour drive back to Diego. Tomorrow night is the after-race party and awards ceremony. It’ll be nice to see what everyone looks like and smells like AFTER a shower! Anyhow, I will write another update after all that…. The internet is quite useless in Diego, so it may not be until next Thursday after I get to RVA that I get to post. Thank you again to all of you who were praying me through the last six days to a successful completion of this race… there were so very many factors which could have led to a different result, but it was SO clear that HIS Hand was guiding my way each day. Starting with the 3 tentmates who have completed 23 of these races between them, who gave me encouragement and tips every day, kept me laughing each evening, waited patiently through my teary-eyed moment, and who had complete faith in me each day as we went to the start line… Martin, Harold and Paul – you were FANTASTIC! And Cynthia, whose ever-present plod next to me was more of a comfort than I can begin to describe – we most definitely ARE the “Truly Triumphant Turtles”!! This has been the experience of a lifetime.
Stage 4
03-Sep-2014 01:31:51 AM [(GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria]

Hello everyone!! First of all a HUGE thank you to everyone who has sent encouraging emails to me… I can’t tell you how encouraging its been! Sorry for the silence over the last two days. It’s been a long couple of days - not getting into camp til after 8pm and the cyber tent is closed. Today I made it in just as the sun was setting. Only 85 of the 250k left to do…. Tomorrow the long 80k day happens. Given the heat, terrain, and state of my feet, I think it could take me up to 30hrs to complete. Basically it’s a long haul through the night. I have been with a Canadian lady called Cynthia for the last two days and we’ll likely stick together tomorrow too…. Please pray for her as well! I’m just going to focus on doing one checkpoint at a time. Everything from my ankles up is doing great! But my feet are literally on fire every step of every day and have been since stage 2. There will be less pressure with time cut-offs for this last big stage, so that’s good. Please keep the prayers coming – I’m feeling the effects for sure – I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME!! You should all know you’re in my head at some point each day.... Your encouraging words stick with me through the heat… Asa, Zaida, Robs… and especially all my wonderful family and friends…. Thank you for caring enough to follow me in this race and send emails! I’ve got to get some food now and get my feet elevated, so I’ll sign off for now. Love to all….

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BETH BARR
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014

Hometown
Lilongwe, Malawi

Profession
Public Health / Epidemiology

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BETH BARR
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 competitor

Bio

Lived in Malawi, Kenya, Botswana, US and UK.
Education in Public Health: Behavioral Sciences and Epidemiology

Hometown
Lilongwe, Malawi

Profession
Public Health / Epidemiology

Why are you competing?
I'm always up for a new challenge and this fits!

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