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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Stage 5
05-Sep-2014 09:15:30 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Lucky. The killer 77km stage is now behind me. Most pain I have in one day ever but made it through. I’m on the home straight now. 24 hours away now from proper hygiene, food and clean clothes. After having many ‘moments’ along the way where I thought I would need to withdraw, due to my crazy under-preparation, miraculously I am now 10km within the finish line, with 240km clocked. It has been an unbelievable experience on many levels and I am glad I went through with doing it.
Stage 4
03-Sep-2014 01:39:56 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Just a quickie update as feeling the effects of day 4 and am tired. Another 41km down and typing this from the medic tent getting my feet drained (!). Today we had 40C and sun exposure for the first 30km was intense. Am happy to still be in this race with 165km logged now and physically feeling stronger by the day, although the worsening blisters make it tougher than it should be. Tomorrow is the big daddy of all: 76km and will last up to 36 hours, depending on the terrain and other obstacles.

Stage 3
02-Sep-2014 01:35:49 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Another 42km down today, 17 stages in, with 124km covered. A somewhat sunstroked Matt filing this blog. Two badly blistered feet making each step memorable. I had feared my feet may take me out of the race today, but I kept foot chaos at bay. I slept badly, as the village near our roving camp had sacrificed three zebu and local custom apparently dictates that villages must sing, dance and merry until the zebu die, which seemed to take until 6am, two hours before race start. I also got badly mauled by mosquitos from a nearby swamp, which munched their way through 98 percent DEET, through the night, so was extra vigilant on my malaria pills this morn. Sleep deprived (although so was everyone else) it took me about 15km to warm up today, but once I got trucking I was ok, despite the heat. My black race outfit (which, in order to avoid sunburn, looks a bit like what Cathy Freeman wore in the 2000 Olympics – google it) probably wasn’t the smartest colour choice and has now turned white with sodium loss. Personal note to self to follow pre-race instructions and get shoes 2 sizes bigger, rather than half a size bigger, as quite surprising how fast feet expand in the heat over long distances (and toenails falling off even faster). Personal hygiene for the whole field, at camp, continues to take a turn for the worst, as we enter the fourth night without showers and eating down our freeze dried rations (my pack down to 4.5kg now). Most of the surfaces have been dust or sand, but tomorrow we apparently head on to firmer ground, which should mean less grit in the shoes. We will clock 4 stages tomorrow totalling another 41km.

Stage 2
01-Sep-2014 01:36:12 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Another 46km down, 82km into the race or approx one third of the way through. The countryside of Madagascar is certainly beautiful and I am enjoying being entertained by the villagers as we twist through remote villages. There are plenty of zebu and wild dogs to dodge, although I was surprised to sight 3 snakes today, which made the long grass sections “interesting”. No one is praying to the blister gods, as unfortunately the blisters came thick and fast today. First it was 2nd toe on the left foot and then 4th toe on the right foot chimed in. Next thing my heels both joined the blister party, which naturally led to every other available toe deciding to get in on the action. I will need to watch them as they have appeared on all toes and both heels, so if another hard day tomorrow my feet could be destroyed. The course, today, was a combination of soft sand and many river crossings and sand/water/feet don’t quite mix. The culprit was wet socks, but because the crossings were spread out quite consistently during the day my socks didn’t dry. Am surprised how my physical resilience has been kicking back in – the legs definitely remember this desert stuff. I also coped fine with the 38C heat and oppressive, continual sun, and just put my head down and moved on. Have had my feet poked and prodded by the race doctor, this evening, and will be popping a few more painkillers tomorrow than today. Day 3 is another marathon, broken into four stages, with two rated as difficult – hmmm. If you haven’t supported The Tommy Lim Initiative, please do. 100 percent of donations go to the charity as all administrative running costs are being separately covered. You will actually be able to track the specific project that your funds are used for. Thanks for your support.
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MATT CHAPMAN
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014

Hometown
Singapore

Profession
CEO

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MATT CHAPMAN
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 competitor

Bio

Entrepreneur with interests predominantly in the recruitment sector and secondary interests in farming and hospitality.

Hometown
Singapore

Profession
CEO

Why are you competing?
To re-sync my personal and work balance. Ironic
that it takes entering an ultra marathon to get
myself focused on this!

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