Race Report - Jungle Marathon
Day 4 – Marathon Day – 42k Only 3 checkpoints.
Run time – 10 hours
I now had 4 blisters but drained and taped them and with a little Panadol I could get my shoes on this morning. Resting was good but sleeping would have been better. However, I wasn’t feeling too bad. We were expecting a 3k run to the stream which ended up being more like 5k. Our camp being quite high meant the run to the stream was more or less downhill. I started mid field and had a great run but every hill now was becoming an issue.
Day 5 – 108ks – 10 check points - cut off CP5 was 3.30pm
I woke from a light sleep in a panic that I had slept in and everyone had gone without me. With blisters taped once again I painfully squeezed into my shoes. The race started with an open road of about 3k and then we hit the beach- My favourite – not. As the sun rose, the day became hot and we made it via a river crossing and wasp sting, to CP1. I was not looking good, heart was racing, everything hurt, didn’t like my food so I forced a new nuts down and water. I tried to pee again but only managed a dribble and that wasn’t looking good either – it was the colour of Guinness this time. That got me worried. I left under a cloud of worry about what was happening to my body and my kidneys so I continued to drink as much as I could.
Now, I don’t know what happened along that road but I felt revived and danced my way into CP2 to the surprise of the medics. Running out of CP2 we had only just over 9 ks to CP3 and after 1k of beach we headed back into the jungle – at least we were under shade but that came with a price – lack of oxygen and very stuffy. At this point it suddenly just turned to custard for me. I just hit this wall. I had an emergency toilet stop, I was seeing black spots, my blood pressure had dropped, I couldn’t focus and was down to walking about 4ks per hour. We found a Brazilian competitor just walking around lost, so he stayed with us for a while before heading off ahead. We got lost a few times but quickly retraced our steps and found the right markings. In doing so we came across a French competitor so he stayed with us. To stay cool I would take water out of my bladder and spit it over me but I was running short of water. I needed it to drink not waste on trying to keep cool. I knew something wasn’t right. I was going through the dark patches you read about. In a fog not talking. The trail wasn’t well marked and we took a number of wrong turns but finally came out onto the road and into CP3. Unfortunately 2 of the others who had gone ahead had not arrived and with no water, they were in danger. So a couple of young Brazilians who helped man the check points went back to find them.
At CP3, I wasn’t looking good, the colour of putty, grey and very much sucked dry. My eyes were pin pricks, I vomited up all the water I was given, my heat was racing, my blisters were giving me grief. I sat down and started crying – I don’t mind admitting that. I had gone past the point of caring. I was hyperventilating at the thought of what lay ahead. The medics said the temperature had reached 45C. I had to wait, calm down and try and keep water down. I was too dizzy to stand up so lay down. The next check point was 19ks away and then another 9.4 to reach CP 5 all on open road in full heat of the day. I knew deep down it wasn’t a happening thing but I didn’t want to accept failure. The medics recommended I stop so after an hour of thinking about it I conceded. I wasn’t feeling any better I just wanted to sleep. So endith my run. The adventure continued but that is for another day.
Things I learned along the way:
Learn to sleep in anything besides your comfy bed – my biggest down fall.
Take lots of variety of electrolytes – I hated them by day 3
Take a variety of food – as much as you can carry.
Take some treats
Keep your pack weight as low as you can
Smile and be happy
Don’t complain about stuff – this is the jungle
Listen to your body
Slowing down wont kill you
Don’t be macho about anything – It’s not a good look
Doing your best is not failure