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Day 7 - The Final Stage - 8km

13th October 2014 01:54 AM[(GMT-04:00) Santiago]

The last stage wasn't the gentle trot that I had hoped for. The organizers decided it would be a timed stage of approx 8km which saw us run from the camp to the finish line in the San Pedro town square. We left in two waves with slower runners leaving at 9.30am and the rest leaving at 10am. Come 10am my wave started and straight away people bolted, so I followed. It took a few kms for my legs to wake up and feel good despite the day of rest, but I managed to hold a good pace considering I still had a pack and 240km of hard running in the legs. Once again I picked people off and again I ended up next to Felix for the last km. Rounding the final corner into the square Felix did the awfully British thing and asked if I minded if he sprinted for the line. I was equally British and said of course he could as he felt that 4th was his 'spot' for each stage. I came over the finish line and the biggest and heaviest race medal I have ever got was placed around my neck with numerous congratulations and sweaty hugs. I had done more than enough to maintain my position as 3rd overall, highest placed British runner and the highest placed in my age category (30-39). The atmosphere in the square was amazing with a band playing, family and friends of many competitors watching, and competitors who has to withdraw were also there. The pizza went down a treat as did a nice cold can of fanta, before a couple of us found the nearest bar to get a well deserved local beer (which went straight to the head!). After numerous photos I went to the hotel. Sadly by the time I got to have a shower there was no hot water left but it still felt good cleaning a week of dirt away and putting on clean clothes. I hit the town for lunch with many of the guys I had shared tent 7 with (a great bunch of guys who all did really well in the race - one of the only tents in which everyone finished) and we were soon tucking into massive steaks and fresh salads. And when I say massive I mean massive - I have never seen or eaten a steak that big! Later that evening we had the awards ceremony. It was great seeing everyone for the last time and celebrating everyone's success, over a nice glass of Chilean red, with another massive plate of meat each (I have definitely had my protein fix for the next month!). I went up for my first ever podium and trophy, and certainly enjoyed the occasion. What a place and event to get your first podium! We then got to relive some of the last week and see some of the pictures and video that had been taken over the week. I look forward to seeing more when I am back in Blighty. Then it was a few more drinks with my newly made friends before a short stumble to the hotel and a welcome first night in a proper bed. Now I am on my way home to my family - a long 26 hour journey! So that's it. I will try to find time to post later about my training and kit as many people have asked me, but this is it for now. Thanks all for following me, and again if you haven't yet, don't forget to visit my just giving page and also look at the great work that Surrey Sands does. https://www.justgiving.com/Jonty-Cowan

Comments: Total (8) comments

Brian Reynolds

Posted On: 13 Oct 2014 06:10 AM

Simply one word Mr J: Brilliant!

Chris Garratty

Posted On: 13 Oct 2014 08:26 AM

Epic achievement. Great to see the training pay off. Make sure you bring the medal in so we can all gawp at it! Try to enjoy the flight back.

Howard Dawson

Posted On: 13 Oct 2014 09:07 AM

Phenomenal! Even william is impressed and it usually only super heroes in a cape that can do that. You're not far off that mind!

Hervé Roche

Posted On: 13 Oct 2014 16:13 PM

Congratulations !

Rita Whitfield Coups

Posted On: 13 Oct 2014 21:08 PM

Hi Jonty... Many congratulations on such a wonderful result. Niw delighted you must be.... Elliot was placed 37 and was delighted. What an amazing all-foind experience. Regards Rita

Willy Notreallyanonymous

Posted On: 14 Oct 2014 15:29 PM

Warm congratulations for this big achievement! This is impressive and inspiring! Cannot wait to celebrate it with you around a big steak :). I am curious to know how two Brits manage civility and sprint. Did you cross the finish line together?

Matthew, Sona And Flora

Posted On: 14 Oct 2014 21:34 PM

Congratulations. Hope the return to regular washing and eating more than you can carry is not too hard.

George Jones

Posted On: 11 Jun 2018 04:52 AM

You will certainly make use of a cash order rather after that money or checks. Citicards Login When you don't make use of a bank account. After you have actually citicards login.
Day 5 – The Long March – 75km (a.k.a. The Beast Is Tamed)

10th October 2014 02:59 AM[(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

There is a really nice atmosphere in camp right now. Everyone is congratulating each other on a hard day’s work yesterday, and the sense of relief, satisfaction and achievement is evident in every face. Everyone but 2 people who started yesterday finished.

I had a great day. I started a little more conservatively than I had the last few days and ran with a few others to CP1. Thankfully they had to cut out a lake crossing at the start so we didn’t get wet feet, and it also shortened the stage by 2km. shortly after CP1 I was running with one other guy in 4th, but from about 7km I was on my own in 3rd. We had more of the salt crust to run on (imagine trying to run on frozen broccoli) but it was more runnable yesterday thankfully. The frozen broccoli turned to a dirt track from CP2, which went on to CP3 at approx. 30km. It was shortly after this that Felix caught me again, which I was grateful for. The shuffling along was starting to hurt and my adductor was tightening, so I needed the company.

We ran the rest of the day together getting each other through. The scenery was varied once more, with monster sand dunes to climb, rocky jeep tracks to follow, mine fields to pass (no kabooms heard thankfully!) and then a final sting in the tail, climbing a pass through ‘Moon Valley’. The tourists there were slightly bemused by the site of two dirty, sweaty, tired runners shuffling along. Hopefully the pictures they took are the highlights of their holiday photo albums!

Coming into camp after 10hr 11mins of running was a great feeling. I had expected to finish in the dark after about 12 hours, so to finish in the light was great. It was great to finish with Felix and to also help him keep 4th place overall. It has made a great difference running with Felix as he pushed me on.

Today I will mostly be eating. Then tomorrow we have the final stage. We are waiting to hear the distance and if it will be timed. Most people just want to walk it together, me included, but we will see.

Pizza and beer will greet us at the finish line, which will be very welcome. Sweet stuff and expedition foods are not very palatable now. Many conversations in camp centre around the foods that will be eaten (steak and chips is on my mind…) and how nice a shower will be.

This has been a long journey for me which is finally coming to an end. I first signed up for MDS2013 in 2011. That was postponed for a year to 2014 when we lost the twins, and I had to withdraw from MDS2014 due to injury. To have finally completed the dream after 3 ½ years is amazing, but to have had such s great week and achieve far more than I could ever have imagined had blown me away. This chapter of my life is done.

Thanks for each and every comment and message this week. It is pretty surreal sitting at a computer in a desert laughing, smiling and occasionally shedding a tear, but it has made the experience that much more special knowing the support that I have had back at home.

Thanks too for the donations to SANDS. It means a lot for me to give something back to them following the loss of our twins 2 years ago. (And if you haven’t donated yet, why not go to justgiving and search for ‘Jonty Cowan’…)

What next? Family J I owe them big time (and have majorly negative brownie points). Amanda, Emma and Noah have been amazingly supportive, putting up with early morning runs, obscene amounts of kit to wash, obsessions over gear weights and the number of calories in food and much more besides. I simply could not have done this without them.

Comments: Total (12) comments

Tony Ostersen

Posted On: 11 Oct 2014 06:30 AM

Dear Jonty. Congratulations from us all. We have all (Churcher's Posse and family) enjoyed following you this week. Enjoy the last day and the pizza. Cheers, Reuben, Esme and Tony (The only one up yet)

Poul And Kirsten Ostersen

Posted On: 11 Oct 2014 08:02 AM

Dear Jonty Congratualtion with the 3. Place. It has been great following you on the block. Poul and Kirsteb

Brian Reynolds

Posted On: 11 Oct 2014 09:41 AM

Mr J, What an amazing week you've had and a brilliant story and fantastic ending to it too! Solid 3rd place and richly deserved for al the training and preparation! Enjoy the podium celebrations and that 'real' food that'll be waiting!

Nicola Bonnell

Posted On: 11 Oct 2014 12:24 PM

Congratulions Jonty! We (especially me) have eagerly (and slightly obsessively) been following your progress all week and are so happy for you! Are you doing anything interesting next week :) Lets just say a few more people in Canada know your name now too. Looking forward to reading one last update after today . . .

Peter Parmenter

Posted On: 11 Oct 2014 16:35 PM

Brilliant achievement Jonty - I can't tell you just how awful it sounds which makes its completion even more wonderful (and bonkers). Enjoy a beer at the finish! Pete

Tony Ostersen

Posted On: 11 Oct 2014 18:39 PM

Hi Jonty, With all the celebrations about done could you do us a favour? We (my tutor group) have been following you quite close all week, and we have to do a section assembly next week. Could you film yourself in Chile saying hello to 'Churcher's Posse' and tell a little about the race. Perhaps we can raise some money as well. Our section assembly is in 10 days. Cheers, Tony

Tom Robertson

Posted On: 11 Oct 2014 19:41 PM

Boom!Great work Jonty. Hope you're enjoying the beer and pizzas - looking forward getting a bit more of that down range when you're back and having a look at the photos. Congratulations!

Tom, Louise, Daisy And Baby Ava

Posted On: 11 Oct 2014 20:40 PM

Great work. You probably deserve extra pepperoni on your pizza for that. I imagine a beer might make you quite light headed though! Enjoy the celebrations and an opportunity for your feet to start recovering. Bet you'll be finding sand for a long time to come.

Chris Garratty

Posted On: 12 Oct 2014 14:43 PM

If I remember my playground rhymes correctly, this makes you the one with the hairy chest. Absolutely blown away by your achievement! Carla and I were reading through your blog today and it's really amazing. Looking forward to hearing all about your adventures when you get back to blighty. The 24hour flight home will seem a breeze after this! :)

Katarina Zajacova

Posted On: 12 Oct 2014 19:16 PM

Jonty what a result, so excited for you! What an experience, loved reading your blog, but can't wait to hear about it in person. Massive congratulations!!!! You are amazing x

Katarina Zajacova

Posted On: 12 Oct 2014 19:22 PM

Jonty and can I just say I was not at all that far when I said you might win it!!!!! So proud of you x

Katarina Zajacova

Posted On: 12 Oct 2014 19:22 PM

Jonty and can I just say I was not at all that far when I said you might win it!!!!! So proud of you x
Day 4 – The Infamous Salt Flats – 44km

8th October 2014 02:53 AM[(GMT-04:00) Santiago]

Day 4 is in the bag with another third place. I started strong as we slogged up sandy, rocky dunes and then down some huge dunes. Going down the steepest ones feels like snowboarding as you have to zig zag down and almost jump to turn. At CP1 Felix caught me up again but I was glad for the company as the next 13km were across a sandy, rocky plain which went on and on. Towards CP2 I pushed on and built a gap again, but then we hit the salt flats. Whilst it was easier going than yesterday, I seem to struggle more than Felix and he caught me again. We ran (and walked) through the 14km of flats up to CP3. From here it was a flat 6.6km along a decent trail. Despite feeling the heat (again in the 40s) and some soreness in the legs, I told myself that all I had to do was run the equivalent as going to Stoke Park and doing 2 laps. So I did. I have never run a tougher 6.6km before, but I managed to gain a 2min gap on Felix by the time I hit the line. It is great fun running with Felix, but we also enjoy the competitive side of this too.

All in it was probably an easier day than yesterday, but we have the big day tomorrow – 77km. Whilst we have 36hrs in which to complete it, I hope to finish within the first few hours of darkness.

There is a huge sense of relief that people have got this far. There have been more drop outs, more with injuries getting the better of them. Given how everyone else feels I am actually doing quite well. My legs seem to recover well overnight. I went to see the medics today about my feet just to make sure they are ok and I am doing the right thing, and they said that I am probably doing the best in camp at looking after my feet and to just keep doing the same which was nice. It took me about 1.5 hrs to tape them last night, but it is obviously worth it!

Sadly the fresh water pool hasn’t materialised but I will still find a way to wash my shorts or they will start walking by themselves!

The volunteers here who are running the race asked me what I think about when I run. They were amused by my answers – random songs (for the last 2 days “every day I’m shuffling”), doing random maths (if we pass a flag every 25 metres, how many do we pass in a day – 1600 in 40 km) and I think of Amanda, Emma and Noah (which is the biggest motivation of all).

Thanks again for the comments.

Churchers posse – nice motivational words! Its pretty tough staying cool in this heat being a pasty white Englishman, but I am obviously doing ok ;)

Tom – I knew there was something positive that would come out of our memorable river run – perfect training for this! Just one more day to smash it, but it’ll be a tough day all in! I will definitely be using that Jens Voigt tactic ‘Shut up legs!’

Tony R – cant wait for the real cuddle.

Brian – I am mostly managing one foot in front of the other, but occasionally forget and catch a rock. Ah well, who needs toes?! I am intrigued to see the pictures as I haven’t seen any myself at all. I am taking less and less pics as I just try to run now J

Herve – thinking of contracts makes me want to stay here and run another 250km J

Chris – v cheesy but it made me laugh…

Dad – thanks for all the messages, they mean a lot to me

Alan – thankfully it was an easier day all in. lets see what happens with 2nd, but I think that 3rd or 4th is more likely, as long as I don’t have a disaster tomorrow! The celebratory beers are on Saturday. A v welcome thought, particularly after 6 months of v little booze!

I am unlikely to post tomorrow given I will be tackling the beast…

Comments: Total (29) comments

4r Ostersen

Posted On: 09 Oct 2014 12:29 PM

Hi Jonty, You would appreciate the rain shower we have just all had. We are as drenched as you are sweaty;-) Cheers, Churchers Posse Issy Hughes, Jack Stubbings (Cross Country), Grace Moran, Phoebe Teychenne

Brian Reynolds

Posted On: 09 Oct 2014 11:20 AM

Go go go Mr J! The podium and certain legend status awaits! Plus champagne, not just beers! We're planning to visit you very soon to congratulate you in person! Keep on going! B

Chris Garratty

Posted On: 09 Oct 2014 10:09 AM

Keep on shufflin'! May I suggest that today's song in your head should be the magnificent ohrwurm "Call me maybe". Regardless of your feelings towards that song, it is now stuck in your head. You, and anyone else reading this, are welcome. :)

Howard Dawson

Posted On: 09 Oct 2014 10:20 AM

Looks like you're nailing it Jonty...reading the blog makes me feel v fat and lazy...inspirational stuff...keep it going! PS: the dawson kids are very impressed...makes ironman look easy apparently. :-)

Howard Dawson

Posted On: 09 Oct 2014 10:28 AM

PS: noticed you're the only on of the top 5 athletes who has the energy to be keeping a blog.....reeeeespect! :-)

Bob Cowan

Posted On: 09 Oct 2014 09:14 AM

Another fantastic achievement. Good luck with the big one today. The last day should be a walk in the park for you. You can then relax and enjoy the celebration dinner. Love from Dad and Janet.

Simon Bill

Posted On: 09 Oct 2014 06:16 AM

You're going great Jonty, keep it ticking over and good luck with the beast today!

Tom Robertson

Posted On: 09 Oct 2014 18:36 PM

Great work! Hope the beast is going well and you're locking in the podium slot! Can you get all of this on Strava?! Uber kudos!!

Rita Whitfield-coups

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 19:57 PM

Hi Jonty and many congratulations for such an amzing result for the !ong March. Third place is absolutely amazing and I am delighted for,you. Enjoy your rest today and your 'walk in the park' tomorrow to the Finish Line. A nice lie-in too! Kind regards Rita

Janet Cowan

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 16:21 PM

Jonty you have been absolutely amazing. Well done for your constant stamina and brilliant mindset throughout. Just one more run then the party can start! Many congratulations for everything you've achieved. Janet x

Colin Barnes

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 07:33 AM

Jonty, absolutely brilliant running and great to see you and Felix doing so well you both have worked hard for this. Stay strong the podium is beckoning!! Colin

Colin Barnes

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 07:33 AM

Jonty, absolutely brilliant running and great to see you and Felix doing so well you both have worked hard for this. Stay strong the podium is beckoning!! Colin

Colin Barnes

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 07:33 AM

Jonty, absolutely brilliant running and great to see you and Felix doing so well you both have worked hard for this. Stay strong the podium is beckoning!! Colin

Colin Barnes

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 07:33 AM

Jonty, absolutely brilliant running and great to see you and Felix doing so well you both have worked hard for this. Stay strong the podium is beckoning!! Colin

Colin Barnes

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 07:33 AM

Jonty, absolutely brilliant running and great to see you and Felix doing so well you both have worked hard for this. Stay strong the podium is beckoning!! Colin

Colin Barnes

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 07:33 AM

Jonty, absolutely brilliant running and great to see you and Felix doing so well you both have worked hard for this. Stay strong the podium is beckoning!! Colin

Colin Barnes

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 07:33 AM

Jonty, absolutely brilliant running and great to see you and Felix doing so well you both have worked hard for this. Stay strong the podium is beckoning!! Colin

Colin Barnes

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 07:33 AM

Jonty, absolutely brilliant running and great to see you and Felix doing so well you both have worked hard for this. Stay strong the podium is beckoning!! Colin

Colin Barnes

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 07:33 AM

Jonty, absolutely brilliant running and great to see you and Felix doing so well you both have worked hard for this. Stay strong the podium is beckoning!! Colin

Colin Barnes

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 07:33 AM

Jonty, absolutely brilliant running and great to see you and Felix doing so well you both have worked hard for this. Stay strong the podium is beckoning!! Colin

Peter Parmenter

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 08:12 AM

Loving the updates - its amazing what you are doing. Don't get too matey with that Felix. Take Him Down.....P

Per Christian Berg

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 09:36 AM

Hi Jonty! Just read the race update for stage 5 and I am in awe of your achievment! I hope you have a good rest now before the final stage.

Bob Cowan

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 09:52 AM

Congratulations on your third equal place on the Long March. Good to see that Felix and you have been supporting each other. A rest today and then a short run to the finish. Enjoy the celebrations. Love Dad

Angela Garrathy

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 10:29 AM

WOW . Excellent Jonty. We are all rooting for you .no offers to do your washing though

Angela Garrathy

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 10:29 AM

WOW . Excellent Jonty. We are all rooting for you .no offers to do your washing though

Nicola Bonnell

Posted On: 10 Oct 2014 02:17 AM

The Long March is complete for you and you have a day of rest ahead! What a great feeling that must be. Might you go for a run tomorrow to keep from seizing up? (Daniel's suggestion) Congratulations on another great achievement today - the end is in sight!!! Nici

Mari Graves

Posted On: 09 Oct 2014 21:39 PM

Have got completely hooked on your progress. Well done you . Will be thinking of you tomorrow for the big push. May your feet grow wings! Mari xx

Matthew, Sona And Flora

Posted On: 09 Oct 2014 21:56 PM

Keep on going! What happened to the little brother who preferred watching TJ Hooker to playing football or running around the garden?!

Rita Whitfield-coups

Posted On: 09 Oct 2014 20:31 PM

Hi Jonty... Many congratulations on an amazing Stage 4. What an amazing person you are. As I write this nite (9:30pm Thursday) you will still be running and preparing yourself to run into the night. What an amazing sight it will be to see all the competitors' head torches, though you won't see many as you will be right there at the front! Have a fantastic Long March and a mere trot to the finish line on Saturday morning, Just think, you will be able to eat and drink whatever you can get your hands on! Kind regards Rita (Mom to Bib Number 31!)
Day 3 – The Atacameno Trail - 40km

7th October 2014 02:22 AM[(GMT-04:00) Santiago]

Wow. That is the hardest day of running I have ever managed. Although it is fair to say that there was more walking than running today.

We started across some hideous terrain – an old dried out lake bed which was just salty mud interspersed with grass reeds. It was a lottery as to whether your foot would stay firm, fall through the crust a few inches or you would go over on your ankles. After about 5 km of that we hit a trail until checkpoint 1. Already the legs were aching. I was in 3rd place at this point and had managed to open a gap on the chasers. The guy in front were about 2 mins in front but he managed the crusty stuff better than I was. We then hit small sand dunes which sapped more out of the legs for a few km. when we hit a dirt road I was happy to start as I could run properly, but pretty soon that hurt. I wanted a hill to give me a chance to walk and use different muscles, but instead we turned on to more of the crusty stuff. At this point I really struggled and ended up walking a lot as it was just so difficult to run. After 20km the second placed brit (Felix) caught me which was a life saver. It was exactly the right time as I was aboutnto break out the ipod to get my spirits up. He helped push me through and run a bit more. We ran the rest of the day and actually helped each other – I was chief flag spotter and he helped me run more.

After 30km we had a sandy, flinty uphill section. By now we knew that 2nd place was out of reach so we mostly walked, relieved for the respite. But after 2km someone was catching us so we had to walk run. It was the longest 8km of my life, especially as the flags were so difficult to spot today (the whole route is marked with pink flags every 25 metres). At 5km to go we had to climb a 30 metre sand dune which must have been about 50% gradient. It was a proper hands and feet effort and half way up it felt like I wouldn’t make it up as every footstep just sank back downhill and the sand was burning my hands. Needless to say we did struggle up it.

We then had the equivalent of a park run to complete, mostly through sandy and rocky dunes, with the guy behind us still catching us. We pushed each other on and with a couple of kms to go the guy behind us dropped back. With a last 50m sand dune to climb to the finish, I had completed the toughest stage so far. Amazingly I just held on to 3rd place, which is amazing given how bad I felt earlier in the day.

Apparently the temperature today got into the 40s which explains one reason why I struggled today. Having trained up to 35C I have felt ok in the heat the last 2 days, but today was tougher.

My legs are pretty sore now and my toes suffered on the difficult terrain, particularly on the left foot. I would say that a pedicure is in order, but it would likely hurt too much. But I will patch them up tonight ready for tomorrow.

We are now about half way through which is great. I need to get through tomorrow feeling good at the end as we have the long 77km stage after that. So tonight I am going to see what I can ditch from my pack to help lighten the load. As I have gone pretty minimal already there wont be much, but every little helps.

The camp looks a bit like a war zone right now. People are hobbling much more now and there have been a fair few drop outs each day, mostly as people are missing cut off times. The stench of the clothing is pretty ripe and it is all salt stained. I am told we camp by a fresh water lake tomorrow so I hope to get the chance to clean off a bit there. A wet wipe can only clean you so much!

Thanks again for the comments and messages.

Hannah – shame that matt has the pox but as you say good that he didn’t get on the plane. Only a small bit of sunburn on the back of the legs. But v dodgy tan lines! And I am of course tsking pictures of my feet to show you all! J

Rita – I met Elliot today which was nice

Charlotte – you are obviously a walking joke book!

Maja – thanks for your message. I am doing my best to keep on running!

Poul and Kirsten - thanks for your messages! Glad to see I am getting coverage outside the UK as well.

Tony’s tutor group – even Chema struggled today. Are cracks appearing?

PC – it was cold again last night but no cuddling needed yet! Hopefully we wont need that given how bad we all smell.

Tom etc – shock horror, I am not the baldest here! Amazing I know.

Mr B – I like that – the silent legend! Although the brits are loving my results and I get various random people congratulating me which is a bit weird.

Right, my ass hurts sitting on this nasty stool and I have blisters to drain. Yum!! J

Comments: Total (10) comments

Nici Bonnell

Posted On: 09 Oct 2014 00:03 AM

Just read the breaking news for stage 4 and another great result for you!! I hope the feet are surviving and you have something left for the long haul tomorrow. Maybe eat an extra bag of that freeze dried food! I have a feeling you will maintain the pace :) I even had a great quote to inspire you but evidently it does not apply to you: "DEAD LAST is better than DID NOT FINISH, which trumps DID NOT START." Or just go for top three! We are so impressed with you! Really amazed! - Nici and Daniel

Matthew, Sona And Flora

Posted On: 08 Oct 2014 21:17 PM

Wow, we can't believe how well you are going! Keep running (and walking). Get to the end in one piece. PS Sona has changed her mind...

Tom, Louise, Daisy And Baby Ava

Posted On: 08 Oct 2014 21:57 PM

hope you have remembered to save some energy for the big one tomorrow? Are you going to sleep or push on through? If you go fast enough you might get a day off. keep pushing you are almost there. hope the feet are not too manky

Brian Reynolds

Posted On: 08 Oct 2014 22:54 PM

Mr J, you are doing an amazing job! I just hope you are taking in how brilliantly you are doing!? If it wasn't for a double Olympian you'd be fighting for No.1 spot no doubt at all! There has been some great coverage on Sleepmonsters.com too, so the adventure racing world is watching your progress and feeling proud too! (as they should!) We're organising a trip (pilgrimage really!) down south for half term and hope to pop in and see you (worship) on our travels... it'll be a small journey for us compared to your brilliant efforts in the Atacama! Keep it up matey - remember, one foot in front of the other and..... stronger, harder, faster!

Chris Garratty

Posted On: 08 Oct 2014 16:21 PM

Love that you're maintaining a competitive streak even in such extreme conditions. Sand tall, grit your teeth and dune give up!

Matt Barnes

Posted On: 08 Oct 2014 15:27 PM

Hi Jonty It's amazing what you're doing. I've been reading your blog and have seen loads of incredible photos. Well done for what you've achieved so far and good luck for the rest of the race. Matt (B)

4r Ostersen

Posted On: 08 Oct 2014 12:30 PM

Hi Jonty, Dominate the field; impose yourself. We are still literally behind you. It will get ugly, but you will remain cool and collected. 4R - Tom Lawson, Izzy Hughes, Archie White

Hervé Roche

Posted On: 08 Oct 2014 13:23 PM

Never give up ! If you need motivation, please have a think about contract you will have to deal when back in UK !

Bob Cowan

Posted On: 08 Oct 2014 09:40 AM

Clearly a difficult day but you still did brilliantly. Hope today is easier for you, just think of that nice cold freshwater lake at the end. Love Dad

Felix Allen

Posted On: 14 Oct 2014 23:18 PM

Ha ha - love how polite you are. Folks, "I was chief flag spotter" roughly translates as Felix was as blind as a bat and I had to find every flag myself to get us out of this endless burning hell hole! But it was the forging of some great unplanned running together and I believe we both finished with faster total times because of this.
Day 2 – The Slot Canyons, 44km

6th October 2014 04:59 AM[(GMT-04:00) Santiago]

That was a brutal stage today. We started running about 10km through a canyon with numerous sections through a freezing river. Not nice when it hit the crown jewels but at least the numb toes stopped the blisters hurting! We then had a long climb of about 700 metres before an amazingly fun run down a massive sand dune. The trails then flattened out as the heat notched up for Kms 20-40. I reverted to my run walk strategy which seems to work well and allows me to catch and pass people. The last 4 km was along a road and I could see the guy behind me catching up. So I set myself a slightly more run orientated schedule with more running than walking. That helped and I stayedm5 mins in front of the next guy (felix, another brit).

In the end I managed to finish first Brit again and so have 20 mins on Felix (2nd placed Brit). But he lost the trail today snd did 1.5km extra so tomorrow I expect him to beat me tomorrow.

Overall I managed to go one better and finished 2nd J I have moved up to 2nd overall across the 2 days. Before anyone suggest it, the leader is about 1hr 45 ahead and so there is no chance of me going one better again – he runs the whole stages whereas everyone else has to walk large sections.

Despite the rivers today my feet did well today. They were sore all day but the blisters I had are not too much worse. Right now I am sitting with my feet in a bucket of water typing this before I go and have the joy of draining them. Nice!

I am taking lots of pics but cant upload them so I will share them when I return. The official photos are being posted but I am told by Amanda that they aren’t v flattering of me…

Thanks for all the messages and comments. Sorry I cant reply to all but:

Pete – nice work on the quicker 5km. when I get back we could have a race – you would probsbly beat me given how I am likely to feel

Brian – whildt stronger, harder, faster is true, my daily strategy is ‘slow and steady wins the race’ J

Charlotte –thanks for the jokes – keep them coming

Tony’s tutor group – thanks for the message and send me more! It all helps

Nici – plastic bags – way too heavy!

Rita – thanks for the note – I will seek out Elliot!

Hannah – good gossip! J sounds like I missed an entertaining evening

And lastly apologies for the spelling – these windows tablets are nasty for typing!!

Comments: Total (9) comments

Per Christian Berg

Posted On: 07 Oct 2014 07:39 AM

Good work Jonty. Hope you a good sleep and recover well before next stage. How are the facilities, do you need to snuggle up to your competitors at night to stay warm?

4r Ostersen

Posted On: 07 Oct 2014 07:51 AM

Hi Jonty, Good effort; we loved your comments! It even went through our deep sensor spam filter. We are all behind you. Take on Chema. Cheers, 4R Ostersen Max Healey, Ella Macquisten Will McCathie

Rita Whitfield-coups

Posted On: 07 Oct 2014 09:42 AM

Hi Jonty... Many congratulations on such a great day on Monday and what an amazing result for you. Good luck with Stage 3 and many thanks for seeking Elliot out. Love the pics in the sand dunes.

Poul Ostersen

Posted On: 07 Oct 2014 09:49 AM

Hi Jonty Exiting to follow your block. Wish you good luck. Go for first place. Kirsten and Poul

Bob Cowan

Posted On: 07 Oct 2014 10:05 AM

How fantastic, well done. Look after yourself, especially those feet. Hope Stage 3 goes well for you. Love Dad and Janet.

Maja Ostersen

Posted On: 07 Oct 2014 17:35 PM

To Jonty Just keep running JUST KEEP RUNNING! Love from Maja

Brian Reynolds

Posted On: 07 Oct 2014 18:33 PM

Great man Jonty! Keep it going and putting one foot in front of the other (repeating for as long as necessary to get to the finish) is as Strong, Hard and Fast as it needs! You're doing brilliantly (as i suspected you would!) and we're super proud! I will apologise publicly to Amanda for waking her up last night to speak to her about how excellently you're doing! But i don;t agree that the photos of you aren't flattering - i think you look great! Go Go Go Mr J!

Tom Robertson

Posted On: 07 Oct 2014 20:00 PM

Great work mate - hope you're flying through stage 3 as I type! That river crossing sounds reminiscent of a certain flooded mid winter run when the Wey was up below Shalford park (although I'm pretty sure I went home to a hot bath and a Full English, not a tent!). Great work on the blog as well - can't be easy after smashing yourself up all day. Keep on truckin'!

Amanda Cowan

Posted On: 07 Oct 2014 20:36 PM

Awesome work Jonty, it makes all those mornings you were out worth it. Don't worry Brian about the late call, Noah needed company so forced the early night. It is great to see how excited everyone is for how well you are doing. Keep it up and we can't wait to get you home. XO
Stage 1 – Navigation By Rock, 35km

5th October 2014 02:29 AM[(GMT-04:00) Santiago]

Stage 1 is done. I had good day and was pleased with how I coped with the stage. We had a variety of terrain – running through gorges and canyons, across plains, over loose sand and rocks. Overall we descended from our start at 3,300 metres which I am grateful for. I coped ok with the altitude, mostly with dry, burning throat. The heat was fine first thing but at 11am it was like someone turned on a blast furnace.

The worst part was between checkpoints 2 and 3 which involved a never ending slog up a canyon. It was a slight uphill but enough to make it tough running, and with no wind coming through the canyon the heat was relentless. So I ended up running 100 steps and then walking 100 steps, which got me through. Needless to say most people spent much of the day walking. Only couple of small blisters on the toes which I have treated and will tape for tomorrow.

The pack felt good all day. I am v pleased to have taken the effort to make my pack as light as possible (approx. 8.2 kg). Some guys have 13 kg packs which I can’t quite comprehend carrying. Needless to say they are currently ditching everything they can to make them lighter! I just love the fact that once I have eaten my food for the day and used supplies like tape and liquids, gels etc, my pack gets approx. 650g lighter each day. So by the final stage I expect to carry approx. 3.5kg which will be a dream in comparison!

I came over the finishing line in just over 4 hours, which I am very pleased with as I feel that I ran at a good pace well within myself. I was shocked to finish the stage as first Brit and third overall. I don’t expect to maintain that but it is nice to have done well on at least one day!

Tomorrow is meant to be a harder stage and we start with a river crossing pretty early which concerns me for my feet. But I will just see what happens and take each section as it comes.

So now I just have to have some food, tape my feet and get to bed before it gets cold – it got stupidly cold last night which made for a poor night’s sleep. Hopefully now we have dropped some altitude it will be warmer tonight…

I can’t see any messages or e-mails as they haven’t downloaded them yet so will look tomorrow.

Comments: Total (14) comments

Brian Reynolds

Posted On: 06 Oct 2014 21:55 PM

Mr J, yet again you are the silent Legend! Keep it going my friend! I was so excited i phoned Amanda to chat about your amazing performance, but forgot to check the time before i phone, so i think i woke her up - oops! She's doing grand and the kids are good too, so keep the focus on that stronger, harder, faster and you'll do everyone on the UK proud!

Nicola Bonnell

Posted On: 06 Oct 2014 13:18 PM

Way to go!! Day one or not that is something to be proud of! Your feet are probably wet by now - I'm thinking water shoes or even plastic bags - they don't weigh much? ;) And a towel to dry off on the other side is that too much to ask? Maybe so. Good luck today! Nici

Tom, Louise, Daisy And Baby Ava

Posted On: 06 Oct 2014 23:26 PM

Does having no hair make it easier to cope with the heat? I imagine it must do. Seems to be working. Keep going.

Jacqui Cahill

Posted On: 06 Oct 2014 14:00 PM

Wow, well done … that is amazing! Hope Stage 2 is going well.

Per Christian Berg

Posted On: 06 Oct 2014 17:13 PM

Well done on stage one Jonty. I'm very impressed.

Liesl Dommisse

Posted On: 06 Oct 2014 20:57 PM

Well Done Jonty! Sounds like you off to a fantastic start. Nice to see the pack getting smaller and smaller everyday. Keep flying the flag for the Brits, but mainly just look after yourself.x

Rita Whitfield-coups

Posted On: 06 Oct 2014 12:44 PM

Hi Jonty... We don't know each other but I just saw your result from Stsge 1 and wanted to say very well done for such a great result yesterday. My son, Elliot Coups, is also taking part (Bib 31). He's from the UK but lives in NYC. Hope today goes well for you and that your shoes try out soon! If you see Elliot any time, please say hi from all his friends and family. Wishing you lots of luck over the next stages. Rita

Peter Parmenter

Posted On: 06 Oct 2014 12:42 PM

Keep pushing mate! By the way I took 20 seconds off my 5k time in Bushy Park this weekend so I think its me who should have the blog! I also suggest you put some rocks in the bac-packs of the two guys in front. Amazing work - keep it up! Pete

Hervé Roche

Posted On: 06 Oct 2014 07:32 AM

GO GO GO Jonty ! All the French team is behind you !

4r Ostersen

Posted On: 06 Oct 2014 07:47 AM

Hi Jonty, Me and my tutor group 4R thinks you are a lad. We are all behind you (literally; like all the others). Cheers, 4R and Mr O. (Ted Yeates, Oscar McCall, Seb Kay, Molly Pettis)

Matthew, Sona And Flora

Posted On: 06 Oct 2014 08:12 AM

Congratulations! When you get back Sona would like you to tell her how to enter next year.

Bob And Janet Cowan

Posted On: 06 Oct 2014 09:55 AM

Amazing! Well done. Hope stage 2 goes well today. It's cool, wet and windy here so enjoy the heat! Love Dad and Janet

Janet Cowan

Posted On: 06 Oct 2014 10:00 AM

Hi Jonty. Well done - great achievement for day 1. Keep strong and positive and look after those feet! Love Janet x

Tom, Louise, Daisy And Baby Ava

Posted On: 06 Oct 2014 12:03 PM

Well done on stage 1. Keep pushing and remember to pace yourself! Hope the heat is not too bad and the feet hold up to all that abuse
Ready And Waiting....

4th October 2014 04:11 AM[(GMT-04:00) Santiago]

I arrived after a long day of traveling. Santiago airport was an experience - nearly missed my connecting flight due to the long queues everywhere but after a sprint to the gate I made it, and thankfully so did my bag. Chilean customs were interested in the food in my bag but thankfully let me through with no issue. I worried that they were going to take it all leaving me having to panic shop in Calama. The scenery from Calama airport to San Pedro de Atacama was amazing and makes me excited to see what is in store. We have had competitor check in, kit and food has been signed off and so we now get given lunch then get into busses for the 1.5hr journey to camp 1. Stage 1 will then start at 8am tomorrow. I am certainly pleased to have got here and sorted the admin. Now it is lots of sitting around waiting for the start. I am of course nervous about what is coming, but am actually quite relaxed about the whole thing. I have done everything I can to prepare for this and so it is now just a case of starting and see what happens. Thanks to everyone that has donated - I am touched by the generosity and it will be a source of encouragement to me. Laters...

Comments: Total (7) comments

Bob Cowan

Posted On: 05 Oct 2014 22:01 PM

Congratulations on completing stage 1. Hope you are enjoying it. Look after yourself and drink lots of water. Love Dad

Tony Ostersen

Posted On: 05 Oct 2014 08:23 AM

Hi Jonty, Look out for snakes, scorpions and fata morgana visons. Cheers, Tony O.

Tony Ostersen

Posted On: 05 Oct 2014 13:21 PM

Hi Jonty, Two things missing: A picture of you for your profile picture. We suggest a sweaty one. And your chosen charity does not feature under the official race directory. We hope you had a good race today. Reuben, Anna, Esme, Maja, Vicki and Tony

Katarina Zajacova

Posted On: 05 Oct 2014 14:48 PM

Hope today goes/have gone well as your first race day!? Yes please post some photos. X

Nici Bonnell

Posted On: 05 Oct 2014 15:41 PM

Wow - what a great feeling for you to have finally made it to this day and soon through this day! By now you will have reached your first check point and hopefully gotten rid of any start up jitters. Myself, Daniel and the boys are thinking of you!

Brian Reynolds

Posted On: 05 Oct 2014 19:59 PM

Hi Mr J! Well done - really glad about the food at customs, that's a weight off your mind for sure! Run well and strong, we've been thinking about you all day here in Chesterfield and hope to wake up to a great result from your first day of fabulous adventure! Stronger, Harder, Faster!

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The Final Countdown

28th September 2014 11:39 AM[(GMT-04:00) Santiago]

Having spent the last 6 months preparing for this race there is now just one week to go. This time next week I will have completed the first day. But right now, the bag is packed (which was entertaining trying to get everything in!) and tomorrow I take my first of many flights (I travel to Chile via the US for a work off site).

Many people have asked me how I feel about it. I have many feeling. I am nervous, scared and excited all at the same time about venturing into the unkown and what is in store for me. I am looking forward to the adventure, and feel I have prepared as well as I could have done for everything this race will throw at me (altitiude, heat, distance, being self sufficient etc etc), which should hopefully mean that the nerves wont be too bad for this one. I am most concerned about my feet as the chances of getting blisters are high, which will inevitably make the event harder to complete.

No doubt the next two weeks will be a rollercoaster for me, and tomorrow I step on board...

Comments: Total (6) comments

Matthew Cowan

Posted On: 01 Oct 2014 07:35 AM

How exciting! Hope you have got your trainers this time...

Peter Parmenter

Posted On: 01 Oct 2014 09:14 AM

Go for it mate! I was proud to do my first 5k race last week so now feel like a complete fool!

Katarina Zajacova

Posted On: 01 Oct 2014 10:10 AM

Jonty, so so excited and bit jealous. It will be stunning there and you will be great. Will keep checking your progress.

Brian Reynolds

Posted On: 01 Oct 2014 14:49 PM

One simple message for you Mr J: Stronger, Harder, Faster! You know it well, it was your message to me 8 years ago and it got me round the world!

Maja, Esme', A And R Ostersen

Posted On: 04 Oct 2014 10:44 AM

Hi Jonty, We hope you win the race.

Dad Cowan

Posted On: 04 Oct 2014 13:46 PM

Enjoy your challenge. We will be following your progress.