As the M/V Plancius bounds its way back to Argentina in the wake of a wonderful Last Desert, we find several lovebirds nestled in the warmth.
Couples have always come to the 4 Deserts series, and they are an enigma to behold—to be able to stay together despite the toughest moments and to see them encouraging each other on, is a testament to human connection and care.
Take, for example, the Sucklings (Sandy: Centre, Colin: Right). The Aussies have won awards for their great spirit and and Sandy in particular has put in a phenomenal performance here in Antarctica, coming in as joint second-placed woman.
It turns out that exercise was the very grounds upon which they met.“We met at Sandy’s aerobic class,” explains Colin. “She was teaching and I asked her to help me train for a marathon in 1996. We haven’t had an argument since.”
Colin explains that as soon as it became clear that Sandy was the one with the real speed about her, they decided that she would be able to charge ahead. “Once we worked out that Sandy would run on her own; I could never catch up.”
Out on the field, they have found themselves come even closer. “We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and these races have reinforced that,” says Sandy. The most important thing, she adds, is “get a game plan before you leave, and prepare to change it.”
Love is also in the air with fiancées Kate Hogan and Fergus Edwards. They too met with racing as a topic of conversation. “I was working in location services, and was helping Fergus move from Singapore to Hong Kong,” explains Kate. “He was training for Atacama, and I was training for the Trailwalker: I invited him to join our training group.”
They are now engaged to be married and have made the 4 Deserts a combined effort. Fergus says that when it comes to training, “if you are going to enter a race together, you must make the time commitment with each other, even if you are not going to run together.”
They say there are countless benefits to being out on the field and having someone there for you. “It is really nice to get to camp and see someone there for you,” says Kate. “You really have someone to open up to and share space with,” agrees Fergus.
As this lovely couple shows their great connection, finishing each other’s sentences and proving the merits of racing as a pair, they leave us with a gem. Fergus decides that The Last Desert is particularly good for couples: “Because the goal is just to finish, and not to worry about your place. And after 65 retches…”
“That is love,” concludes Kate, looking at him with a twinkle in her eye. “When you are still holding back my hair.”
By Clare Morin