If you’d asked me 6 months ago whether I would be keen to face a life changing experience, that would push me both physically and mentally beyond anything that I had done before, I probably would’ve shrugged and declined. No thanks. Most people would have, right? I’m fortunate enough to have had a choice but I, arguably stupidly, chose to take on this special race: the Jungle Ultra marathon.
When I begin the challenge at the end of May, starting at over 10,000ft above sea level in the Peruvian Andes, I may have different feelings about my compliance to take on this ultra marathon. And probably even more so after the total 230km distance I’ll be running, hiking, and stumbling over, in the 5 stage, 6 day race.
But at this moment in time I couldn’t be more excited about the Cloud Forest and waking up on the first morning, in my hammock, above the clouds. Then descending 9000ft, racing through virgin forests, encountering the diverse wildlife, nervously waving at the indigenous tribes and reaching the Amazon Jungle – all in the first day. By the second night we’ll be pitching camp deep in the humid tropical forests, ready for the next 5 days of near marathon distance running to follow.
Throughout the race I’ll be self-sufficient; carrying my own hammock, sleeping bag, food, and supplies for the entire race! Staying hungry will not be an issue. And with that in mind you’ve got to ask yourself the question … why? Why put yourself through this? What’s the point? The good news is while I’m there I’ll have plenty of time to think about this question. But even so, I know why I’m doing this – there’s a few practical, personal and stupid reasons why.
My first reason was, why not take up a chance of a lifetime? To stay foolish. Importantly, the race director, Wes Crutcher, offered me a place in the race, so refusal was not an option. Also VIVOBAREFOOT (who I work for) are involved in the event and are sponsoring the race and they were willing to support me, so saying yes was the only pertinent decision for me to make. Then, as I was discussing and considering the idea with my girlfriend Sarah, she hinted to the fact that she was interested too – to join me and be part of the support crew. I’m definitely going now!
My final reason, is for Sarah’s dad, Bill. He’s such an important man in Sarah’s and so many others’ lives – I wanted to do something to show my support. After being diagnosed with lymphoma in early 2012 choosing Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research was the easiest decision I’ve had to make. Fighting the disease is not even comparable to the jaunt I’m embarking on – and I had a choice. So as I’m scampering through the jungle, along with a couple dozen other athletes, ticking off the miles and flicking off the mosquitos, I’ll be running for Bill and people like him, who aren’t given the choice.
Thank you to everyone who has donated so far, and thank you to everyone who is going to. Thank you to Beyond the Ultimate for letting me race and come along for the ride. Thank you to Sarah for being my support crew! Thanks to VIVOBAREFOOT for letting me take on this challenge and supplying me with the best shoes in the world. Thank you to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research for there tireless work and for being unstoppable in the fight against blood cancers.
Thanks for reading and thanks for supporting,