Day 6: 42.2km, “the road is long with many a winding on”
“It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop”
During the early hours of the morning a sand-storm of biblical proportions hit the bivouac and by the time we eventually got up everything was covered. This time nothing was spared, it took me ages to de-sand everything and to get Tanya and myself ready for the day. The sand got into everything including our Canon G15 camera which malfunctioned.
Normal morning activities followed and Tanya received her usual breakfast bar with the customary message that read:
Day 6 Today is our last official race day. It will be a very tough marathon stage but you are nearly there. The pain will pass but the memories of this adventure will stay imbedded within your mind for ever J I want to shout it to the world … I LOVE THIS AMAZING WOMEN AND AM SO PROUD OF HER … Love you my angel, more than you can imagine xxxxxxx
Tanya was looking much better and seemed fully hydrated. I wasn’t certain that she was totally rested, but, this was the final few hours and having seen what she is capable of during the last few days knew that she would do whatever was needed to get to the end. A marathon distance was the only thing that stood between Tanya and her medal, and I knew nothing was going to derail her. I felt a sense of satisfaction knowing how far my angel had come.
Once we were back home the official MdS video featured an interview with Tanya, and one can clearly see how bloated she had become after 2.5 litres were pumped into her less than 24-hours earlier. Click here to see the full video.
Tanya on the morning of the Marathon Stage. There were now only 42.2km’s between her and her MdS 2015 medal. Tanya was totally bloated as a result of the 2,5 litres of fluid pumped into her the day before. But with hydration comes new hope.
Source: Official 2015 Video
The normal morning routine was followed by a visit from Mohammed coming along to give Tanya her daily hug and wonderful words of encouragement. We slowly made our way to the start-line where the routine was the same and with the sound of Highway to Hell breaking the silence of the desert we were off.
As with every day, since the start of the MdS five days ago, Tanya and I shared a few words with David Harris. He remained a consistent feature with his red shorts and top and I was happy for him that he was still in the race.
The marathon stage was a mixture of salt flats, rocky areas, sand and small dunes up to CP1 at 12.5km’s where I filled our bladders while Tanya took a deserving breather in the Berber tent provided. Today was not the day to do stupid things, we had come too far and all we now needed to do is to remain constant in our resolve to move forward. We saw Sir Fiennes and Rory who were being interviewed by the media as we were leaving the check-point.
Tanya was looking strong and was able to continue drinking which was a source of great relief. Today was about moving from one CP to the next. By the time we left CP1 it was a little after 12:00pm but the terrain between CP1 and CP2 was relatively easy going, the only really difficult thing, the heat. By the time we crossed the line at CP2, we had 24.6km’s behind us and my angel was as strong as I have ever seen her. Again the routine was the same; Tanya was left to take a rest in the Berber tent while I filled our bladders. Soon Tanya and I were on our way again with CP3 beckoning us. It will be our last CP and is only 9.1km’s away. Within 2.7km’s we would enter the dunes which would last all the way up to CP3. For 6.7km’s we would have to navigate through dunes, before we entered the dunes, Thierry Benderitter was there to make sure that Tanya was still fine. We had a quick exchange and started the long track through some of the biggest dunes I have seen within the Sahara. As we reached the peak of the highest point in the dunes we could see CP3, it was close and we picked up the pace a little. I was excited and kept on telling Tanya you have this race in the bag, just keep on going.
As we excited the dunes we entered CP3 which was only 8.5km’s from the end. We had a little more than four hours left at the time and knowing that we had enough time both Tanya and I rested for about 20minutes in the Berber tent. I filled our bladders and for the last time in the race we excited a CP. The closer we got the more excited I became, and I kept on telling Tanya that she had done it. My angel, however, was much more cautious and she would continue to say, no anything can still happen. The last stretch was totally psychological, a flat endless rocky plateau which just never seemed to end. About 1.5km’s from the end Steve Diederich gave Tanya some encouraging words. I stopped to empty the sand out of my shoes, but told Tanya to continue; as I ran to catch-up to her the end became visible. There it was only about 1km away and lots of time left, I was ecstatic, Tanya had done it, she was going to hang that medal around her neck, but she would have none of it and continued to say, only once I am over the finish line.
As we approached, three of our tent mates, Leigh, Sean and James who had finished earlier were waiting for us. Leigh brought us a South African flag so that we could cross the line with it together. Tanya and I held hands as we crossed the finish-line. What a moment, we had made it! I wiped away some tears which were the result of the overwhelming pride and happiness I felt for my angel who had, as a novice, achieved so much. What a race, what an adventure, the stories Tanya would have to tell and the confidence this would give her, knowing that she had overcome so much just to be there, let alone finish the race.
My angel and I crossing the finish line of the 30th Marathon des Sables.
Source: Leigh Michelmore (for both the photo and flag)
Dion was there as always, ready to congratulate and assist. Soon Tanya and I were being lead, first to the WAA jacket distribution point where the kind lady from WAA took off her jacket to give to Tanya as it was the last medium available. As we made our way to the tent our fellow tent mates sprang into action and within minutes we had our post-race celebratory drinks in our hands, together with our daily ration of bivouac water. Excitement was great and Tanya proudly wore her medal around her neck. I was ecstatic and could hardly contain my excitement.
Getting through the usual evening routine seemed less pressured now that the race was officially over and at around 20:00pm we made our way to the centre of the bivouac, firstly to have a look at the preliminary video taken and edited during the event, and secondly to attend the customary post-race concert, a classical performance. Unfortunately Tanya was not feeling all that great and we made our way to our tent. Soon we were both in our sleeping bags and fast asleep.
I recall waking-up during the early hours of the morning and reached over to Tanya to make sure that she was covered. Her hand was ice-cold, colder than I have ever felt it. I got such a fright and shook her awake to make sure that she was ok. As my angel awoke, I was relieved. She asked what was wrong, and keeping my composure I said, “Nothing, it’s just very cold you must get totally into your sleeping bag”.
Day 7: 11.5km’s, some dunes for UNICEF and a long journey back to the hotel
“I've been through the desert on a horse with no name”
America: Lyrics by Dewey Bunnell
Waking up on 11th of April 2015 was an amazing feeling, the pressure was off, Tanya had her medal, she had completed the race, and the last 11.5km’s of the 30th Marathon des Sables could just be enjoyed without the pressure to make a checkpoint in-time. By now we had crossed a formidable 237.9km’s and with today’s distance we would top our MdS 2015 millage up to 249.4km’s as close as one could get to the customary 250km’s.
As with every morning before, there were the usual ablutions, blister check and treatment, food, water and for a final time our race packs would be packed. I collected our charity stage blue shirts from the centre of the bivouac and soon we were ready to go. As always, I leave the last morning with a little sadness. The desert may be a harsh environment with little life and comfort, but somehow it makes me feel alive. The challenge helps me to grow as a person, the solitude to gain perspective on everything in my life and the simplicity of survival out there to appreciate what I have in life. I count it a privilege to have the financial resources to be there, the physical and mental strength to complete the event and the health to participate. I am a truly fortunate individual. But this year was different; this event was even more special, because I had Tanya, my angel, with me. To see Tanya grow during the last six days was amazing, to see her struggle then overcome and then stand victorious was an amazing feeling for me, and I can just imagine what she must have felt at times. We held hands, had chats about so many things and for long stretches it was only us, what more could I ask for. The women I wanted to spend my life with since I was 18-years old was here by my side, having the most profound experience she could ask for and here I was experiencing it with her. So my sadness was a little different this time, it bore the knowledge that soon we would no longer be alone. We wouldn’t have these extreme experiences, but I knew we would be together to face some other challenges.
My usual morning message on Tanya’s breakfast bar read:
Day 7 Congratulations my angel you did it, now there is only a ‘short’ casual run left to do, take it slow, savour the last few hours you have left. Thank you for being here with me. Love you so much, you are amazing.
This was the one message that I was most looking forward to give to Tanya: “Congratulations my angel you did it”, this was why we came, to allow Tanya to succeed and here we were; my angel did it. This was her victory, and I was happy to have been there for the ride.
Throughout this amazing adventure wonderful people from around the world sent us e-mails via the official MdS website. I would spend time reading these messages to Tanya every evening and it was with these words of encouragement that she fell asleep. Only individuals who have done these types of races before will know how encouraging and emotional such messages can be and how much a runner out there, isolated form everything, appreciates those words of comfort. To all of you, thank you so much. The list of people who sent those words of encouragement is long and none of them strangers so your messages had true meaning for us. The kind hearted individuals who sent those words of encouragement are the follows:
Albert Martens - the Canadian who has been on me to come and run the Polar Bear Marathon in Churchill and the author of Sand in My Shoes. A fellow ultra-runner who completed the MdS in 2001 and Badwater in 2004 to name only a few, so I knew his messages had context, he had been here and suffered as much as we did.
Ali Young – a fellow 2013 MdS finisher who knew what we were going through and who ‘instructed’ us to keep on smiling, so we had no choice but to.
Alice Hunter Morrison – aka Alice Outh There, a 2014 MdS finisher who was out there to help when we eventually got back to our hotel after the race, and with whom I had some information exchange before her 2014 run.
Andrei Engstrand Neacsu – another fellow multi-stage racer, from Sweden, who had read my blog before running his first Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon (KAEM) in 2014 and with whom Tanya and I had dinner on his way to KAEM which he successfully finished.
Arielle Pieterse and Larry Kenmuir – our beautiful daughter and the man in her life. The two kept the fort and served as our media machine, keeping everyone in the family informed and calm when things got a little tough out there. It is never easy to provide answers when the information you receive is limited, but my baby you did great and we are proud of you. Mom made me promise to never take you to run the MdS or our future grandchildren, so you can sleep easy.
Brian de Francesca – my fellow tent mate and friend who finished the 2013 MdS like a pro. A man with an amazing life story which I still hope he will publish so that future generations can be inspired.
Bronwyn Forbes – a friend of ours and a runner who has always been very interested and supportive in what we do.
Daniel Rowland – another running friend I met during the 2013 KAEM, a race which he comfortably won, setting a new course record. Daniel is a really great runner who has taken first place at the Atacama Crossing in 2012. We corresponded a number of times during the past two years, speaking about some of the more technical aspects of multi-stage racing.
Dirk Cloete and Amanda Viljoen – a fellow multi-stage runner, really a man who runs from beginning to end, and a great friend of both Tanya and I. Dirk won the KAEM in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and came 4th during the 2011 Gobi, he also won the Namibia Desert Challenge in 2012 and again in 2014. Another person who knew what the desert could throw at you and who knows how much hard work and commitment it takes to push through.
Edward Chapman – my fellow KAEM finisher who has completed more KAEM races than any other person on the planet and who knows what it takes to finish the MdS, something he had done back in in 2003.
Gerry Martin – an old family friend who showed much interest in our training and previous events and who would track us daily. He is an adventurer in his own right with a rich life full of amazing and somewhat romantic stories.
Greg Pretorius – yet another person from our running circle who completed his first KAEM in 2014. We had corresponded in his run-up the KAEM and I hope that the information I shared and guidance given made life a little easier for him. I also knew that he understood what Tanya and I were going through at the time.
Griet Pieterse – our sister-in-law, who kept a keen eye on our progress, worried a lot and had a few panic attacks during the early hours of the morning during the long-stage. We didn’t mean to let everyone worry back home, it just happened, as these things do in the desert.
Hanz Geeratz – the man from Germany who had to withdraw from the 2014 MdS because he became seriously ill during the early stage of the race. Hopefully you will get another shot at the race in the near future Hanz, and remember, as always I will be there for any questions you may have.
Heila and John Grobler – my sister and brother-in-law, who tracked us day and night and who sent regular words of encouragement and kept my mom informed of our progress and well-being. The stress we caused during the long stage must have caused a peak in chocolate sales back in Nelspruit.
Hermien Webb – our photographer friend from Addo and KAEM with the small heart and big smile. The Sahara would be the place where you could live your dream, the landscape provides so many images to capture, and at the MdS there are a thousand plus runners so an endless supply of subject matter.
Jay Close – my fellow 2013 MdS finisher and friend. How he completed the 2013 MdS I don’t know as the man had no feet left but when you are a running coach and owner of a fitness business the pressure is on. Jay would be proud of the fact that Tanya got me to grow a beard since we last ran together and I still quote something Jay posted a while back: “a man that shaves his beard for a woman deserves neither”.
Kenny Dalglish – another fellow 2013 MdS finisher who decided to take a nap about 10km’s before the end of the race. Michiel Hoefsmit and I decided that he should rather stay with us the last few kilometres as he could not be trusted on his own, and how do you get a British Soldier to follow a South African and Hollander, you give him biltong.
Leanne Forbes – a friend from Tanya’s school days who had only great things to say and provided much encouragement.
Leon Erwee – a fellow runner who completed the 2014 KAEM after having crewed many times before. We met during my first KAEM in 2012 when Leon walked a section of the long stage with me during the night after I had my epic crush. I will always remember the support old friend.
Lucja Leonard – another KAEM and MdS finisher and great friend who supported her husband Dion Leonard and us during this year’s MdS. As Dion, Lucja is highly competitive and provided such wonderful support for us while keeping our KAEM family updated of our progress.
Mark Adams – a fellow Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon runner who completed KAEM back in 2011.
Michelle Harding – another running friend who is getting ready to run her first KAEM in five months, so some hard work between now and then.
Moerieda and Adam Mackay – running friends. Moerieda bought one of my extra WAA bags in preparation for her first multi-day event, the plan, to run the KAEM. Adam, recovering from a massive kidney operation is still hoping to convince Moerieda that he will be ok to run with her.
Nadia and Estienne Arndt – the organisers of the KAEM and previous owners of the Addo Elephant Run, and great friends of both Tanya and I. Estienne completed the 15th MdS and used it as the core concept for the KAEM.
Nadine Louw – a very supportive family member. She became very worried when her uncle and aunt took so long to finish the long-stage. It is good to see that we can still get the family to sit on the edge of their seats.
Natasha Pevey – Tanya’s sister living in the USA. She told Tanya that she was super women for just trying the MdS.
Patrick Hobbs – another one of the KAEM family that has become a regular at the event. I was fortunate to run with Patrick in 2012 and again in 2013 when he finished the KAEM.
Peter Joergensen - or as Dion prefers to call him ‘princess’, he is a fellow KAEM runner who completed the race in 2013.
Phil Waudby and Pat Andrew – our friends with whom we get to spend too little time. I met Phil in preparation for my first KAEM run in 2012. A race veteran who back in 2011 ran 1000 km’s from Johannesburg to Augrabies, took a rest day and then ran the 250km self-sufficiency KAEM. Pat is preparing for her first KAEM which will also be where the two of them will get married afterwards.
Philip Boardman – a friend and fellow KAEM and MdS runner. I met Philip when he prepared for his first KAEM and looked through his kit for the 2014 MdS when he had to get things together in a few weeks. He was fortunate enough to get a 2014 MdS slot a few weeks before the race which meant he had to rely on general fitness and his 2013 KAEM training to see him through. He had a great run out there finishing in 55 hours 12 minutes.
Polly Sinnett-Jones – the teacher from the UK who finished the 2013 KAEM and who’s students asked her to ‘please come back alive from the KAEM because they had to still pass’.
Sanet Nel – the only other South African at the 2013 MdS who became my long-stage running partner.
Stuart Rae – a fellow 2013 MdS finisher and my roommate at the hotel before and after the event. An excellent runner and the most knowledgeable wine expert I know.
Vickey and Piet Vermaak – and finally Tanya’s parents who tracked us. Her dad was convinced that Tanya would have to cut-off all he hair after the event, thankfully he was wrong, a relief for both of them.
These individuals provided much needed encouragement from a distance, with kind words, words of belief in us and words of congratulations.
On the last running day we made our way to the start-line for a final time and listened to Patrick deliver the usual morning briefing. But the last six days had taken its toll, around 100 of our fellow runners didn’t make it and for them I felt a sense of great sadness as I knew very well how much commitment and sacrifice participating in something like the MdS requires not only during the event but often years before. Among these runners there were reports of broken legs, dehydration, badly blistered feet and Farah Idris, who had to withdraw due to a raptured intestine. The MdS is a tough race that should not be underestimated. It takes small issues and turns them into disasters of epic proportion.
I was happy for Eric Doyle, a Scottish friend with a bigger voice then mine, which I knew from the 2013 MdS. He didn’t make it back in 2013 but was standing on the final start line with that coveted medal packed away securely somewhere in a now somewhat emptier race-pack. It was also great to see Sir Fiennes, who had a really difficult marathon stage, here among us with Rory Coleman still at his side. As one of my heroes, since I was in high-school, I felt his pain when Tanya and I saw him struggle at times, but his determination, character and approachability reinforced the sense of respect I have for him. It is always great to meet your hero and walk away without having been disappointed, and for me the respect I have for him has been multiplied. He is a remarkable and selfless individual whose example I hope to follow and project to those around me, a man of great courage, with determination, kindness, and openness. I remember reading about his adventures and thinking, as a 16-year old, I would love to also do that and maybe even get to meet him. And here we were, Tanya and I with our own adventure, standing with the great Sir Fiennes at the start of our last leg, life doesn’t get better than living your dreams.
Eric Doyle, the last photo I took of him during the 2013 MdS, it was great to stand with him on the final day of the 2015 MdS.
Source: Genis Pieterse
It felt great to know that everyone in our tent had made it, throughout all of the difficulties, toughness of the terrain, unpleasant night times when the wind brought some severe sand storms through the bivouac and numerous other obstacles, there was no drama, no fighting, no arguments and no general unpleasantness. It is a testament to the calibre of great individuals Tanya and I had the privilege of sharing a tent with.
For a last time, we were off to the sound of ACDC’s Highway to Hell. I could see that everyone else, accept the top runners, had the same idea. Take it easy, enjoy the last few hours out here and savour the moment. We made our way across a stony plateau which, by the looks of things, was causing many blistered feet great discomfort. At 7km’s we entered the last set of huge dunes, something that would last for four and a half kilometres. Along the way we passed a group of off-road bikers from Spain who had decided to look at this tired, and possibly, mad group hobbling past them through the dunes. Soon, however, the end was in sight and then the 2015 MdS was over, Tanya and I crossed the line together, handed in our tracking device as well as our Spot messenger, and then it was off to the busses for our long journey back to Ouarzazate.
The bus journey was as tedious this time as when we came, with three toilet stops and a lunch stop along the way. The packed lunch provided by the organizers was a welcome change from the typical race food most have had to live on over the past few days. After hours on the bus and driving through numerous little villages we arrived in Ouarzazate where all the busses dropped runners off at a central point. Luggage was collected and again we all got onto another set of busses who would take us to our hotel.
A very tired Tanya arrived at the Berbere Palace and I could see that my angel needed the bath and pampering I had been promising her. Unfortunately our luggage was neither at the first collection point nor at the hotel. I got us booked in and took Tanya to the room, while she ran a bath; I collected some fresh fruit for us and asked Steve Diederich to please assist. Within 30-minutes Steve had located our luggage and I could get some much needed clean clothes and toiletries from our bags.
I helped Tanya wash and condition her hair and used the hairdryer to dry it while I combed out all the knots. Too much relief for both of us, the knots were brushed out and my angel’s fear of having to cut-off all her hair was soon forgotten. We had our dinner in the room and for the first time since the 3rd of April 2015 laid down on a real bed.
The next day, Sunday the 12th of April 2015, we got up, had breakfast at a table among many other very clean, and now somewhat rested runners before setting off to hotel Cos, where we collected our finisher T-Shirts. Back at the Berber Palace, Tanya and I took a mid-day rest, as she was not feeling that well. On the way to dinner some photos of all the movie memorabilia that grace the walls and hallways of the hotel were taken. After dinner, the customary auction was held and some money was raised for a charitable cause. Sir Fiennes was gracious enough to sign our South African flag which now has the signatures of the members of tent 172 and that of the legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, imbedded on it.
Our tent mates, without Theresa Bidwell whom we had not seen since leaving the bivouac the day before, came together to spend the last hour or so in each other’s company. We had something to drink, exchange contact information, shared some of our highlights, and said our good buys. A great group of individuals, whom I really hope, Tanya and I will get the opportunity to see again.
The next morning we were up early, packed our last few things, had breakfast and boarded the bus to the airport where charter flight MON9075, departing 09.05am flew us to our next adventure, our first visit to Paris.
From top left to bottom right: Wonderful times, traveling through the desert holding Tanya’s hand. The amazing Mohammed Belemlih who always had such encouraging words for Tanya and I. Sir Fiennes and I speaking about his days in South Africa and Tanya with Patrick Bauer whom Tanya called the devil. Source: Various
When we eventually returned to South Africa a week later the number of congratulatory messages that went out to Tanya was overwhelming. Among the Facebook messages that I thought were classic, the following:
Tanya’s mom, Vicky Vermaak said “Incredible my darling daughter BUT PLEASE NOT! AGAIN”, and Fiona Openshaw wrote “Oh my word. There are no words to describe how proud we all are reading your achievements. I myself cannot explain. I can't believe what you have achieved. Faith /love/achievements / determineanation (sic) and while following your journey every photo you were smiling. You one hell of of lady. Well done you give me the determination to do anything”.
Jacqui Redinger had this to say “Shit! You made me cry!! I am so very proud of you I just cannot put it into words. So very, very well done Tanya. What an awesome lifetime achievement”. But she wasn’t the only one to cry, Janet Steers added “Oh wow you made me cry. What you have achieved proves to one and all that if you put your mind to it anything is possible and you are living proof that the devil doesn't always win”.
It became clear that what Tanya had achieved served not only as a victory for her, but as inspiration for others.
Madèl Meyer said “Such inspiration! Thank you for sharing your journey with us! We are so proud of you, to know you and appreciative of our comforts which you gave up to endure this adventure. Life will be so much sweeter for you now than we can only begin to imagine”.
But the biggest outpouring of messages followed when Tanya posted a photo of her feet on Facebook. With most of her toenails coming off on her right foot the full brunt of the Sahara became known. Again, the messages that stood out are listed here:
Tanya's right foot a few days after the MdS, eventually every toe nail would came off.
Source: Genis Pieterse
Sharon van Deventer had this to say “Sitting here before seeing those appalling pics of your toes and thinking to myself .... Geez I really gotta get new slops cos they hurting my one toe ..... And then your pics and this incredible account of what you achieved - it's amazing and you're amazing ... I couldn't begin to think how much that must've taken out of you .... A true inspiration and FYI .... U'd kick superwomans ass!!! Xx S”, but Sharon wasn’t finished, “Sharon van Deventer U have gotta be frikken kidding that is the worst case of 'omg I think I lost a toenail!' I have ever seen .... It's gonna take FOREVER to heal ..... Good Lord Tanya u are bloody superwoman .... We not worthy!!!”
However, there were the more serious messages, those messages which I think captures the essence of the character of my angel and her amazing achievement in both entering and completing the MdS. Among the many the following two said it all:
Louise de Mezieres-Nosworthy’s message “What an awesome, amazing, strong, courageous and determined woman you are”, and Anthea Olmesdahl wrote “Wow Tanya, I to am totally speechless and in total awe of what you have just completed . you are one strong, determined woman. I have total admiration for you. Xxxxx”.
These last two messages summarises how I see Tanya, an amazing, strong, courageous, and determined women for whom I have absolute admiration.
Tanya and I eagerly viewed the official MdS 2015 video a few days ago. The race video made it onto the Internet and we couldn’t wait to watch what we have achieved, but this time from the comfort of our soft and comfortable king-size bed (which is a little smaller than the tent we shared with five other people out there, and substantially softer than the ground, even with a blow-up mattress). In the wonderful production the difficulty, hardship, pain and discomfort we had to endure is not captured, nor is the experience, the excitement, the victory. As I have stated earlier, those things can’t be captured and viewed, but only experienced. So for us the experience lives in our hearts and minds to be relived in thought and memory. It was somewhat funny for us to hear that the temperature was around the 40 degree Celsius mark when we have a photo measuring the heat at about 58 degree Celsius.
At present, a month after the race, Tanya’s toes are healing nicely, I still don’t have any feeling in my left toe, although I am either getting used to it or it is gradually getting better and we have slowly started to settle back into normal life. We are getting back into training for our next adventure but the winter is upon us here in South Africa and I wonder how we will cope with having to run in 15 to 24 degree Celsius temperatures J.
But let me return, for a moment, to our time out in the desert; there in the ‘heat’ of the moment, Tanya made me promise that I won’t let her do a self-sufficiency multi-stage race again. We agreed to do two and three day trail races which only required day packs. But memory is a funny thing; it remembers the pain and the hardship as an event, but not its intensity, the result, now a month later my angel keeps on sending me information of races, many of those self-sufficiency multi-stage events, with the following message: “what do you think about this, do you think we can do this one”. I keep on reminding Tanya of what she said and of what she made me promise, but to no avail; the suggestions just keep on coming. Among these the Jungle Run, and for that suggestion I leave my angel with the following quote:
“The desert was bad, but nothing could compare with the horrors of a tropical rain forest”
Tahir Shah, In Search of King Solomon's Mines
And for the rest of you who would read this, I will let you know shortly what Tanya will ‘make me do’ next, on all accounts it seems like I will have to return to do some more research, this time for cold-weather, as Tanya has the 6633 Arctic Ultra in her sights. Fortunately I won’t be breaking any promises with the 6633 as it is after all ‘only’ a 563km single stage event.