Wow what an incredible week one that was filled with many highs and lows but an amazing epic and extremely unique journey all of its own…..Sri Lanka a hidden gem of jungles, untouched beaches, wild life roaming in their natural habitat, tea plantations in amongst tiny villages and smiling faces of the local communities always willing to help.
I felt privileged that I was able to share running through this beautiful place with a group of like minded people that really all had the same goal to complete 250km of some of the most remote, jungle parts of the land and cross the finish line to be rewarded with a medal around your neck…arhhhh but there is so much more….all those demons in your head that told you to stop, tried to convince you this was not possible and to carry on your back in a pack all you needed to converse wild harsh countryside for 6 days…250km….and then this overwhelming feeling YOU did it.
I was extremely lucky to share my journey with my wonderful friend Linda
we were there for each other, we shared moments of “how did we get through that day” but elated at the fact we had….we laughed,
shared our experience from day to day of both the toughness of the course, to the breath taking scenery, the competitors who had been with us and helped us through the day, we talked about missing our husbands and we sat in the tent quietly saying nothing at all just feeling the emotions that surrounded our own head space.
The ritual was the same each morning get up, go over and get some hot water for breakfast to hydrate food, get into your running clothes. ..yes the same set for the whole 6 days….. the only way to cut the weight down in the pack….get excited at a fresh pair of socks every second or even third day, then attend to the feet and body tapping. You get burning rub marks from the pack and those nasty blisters, black toe nails and hot spots.. tapping anything that could potentially be your nightmare of pain for the days running.
After that every item is squashed into your backpack then bottles get filled with water and you pick your pack up with always the same words…”that feels so heavy”.
There we would gather each day for 6 days at the start line carrying all our supplies ready to start all over again not really knowing what to expect of the day other than just wanting to start, pushing ourselves enough but always concerned to preserve to fight another day tomorrow. It is sad each day to find out a competitor has dropped out and cannot continue and you live each day through everyone’s emotions.
The draw card in all this is the beautiful people, culture and amazing scenery. The race started in the Mountains passing small villages and children that would run alongside us and high five us along the way.
We crossed over rivers on log made bridges, went through rivers with water coming up over my waist or if you were like me fell in tripping on large boulders under the water,
we ran beside and along train tracks and when a train came along the locals would hang out the windows and cheer us on and at one point we ran across a train station platform with all the locals clapping and cheering…oh dear we must have been such a sight something I know they have never seen before.
Finally as we wind down out of the Mountains the tropical heat and heavy downpours saw us trying to dry out our gear each night until a storm during the night had us watching water flowing into the tent under our bedding and through all our gear…. By then all I could do was laugh…this was some journey.
We were very fortunate to be granted the opportunity to go on foot through Yale national Park which had never been allowed before but we had to go in groups of around 10 competitors over this 10km stretch and have a military staffed jeep with us at all times. The worry was of the wildlife as this is a safari national park in particular the elephants and sloth bears were a great risk to our safety. As we crossed through the national Park the body may have been aching and in pain both from muscle soreness and blistered feet but this unique experience I could only think was one that us very lucky competitors would share together the chance we took in signing up and trying to completed this journey ..I felt so privileged … they are the lifetime memories of such events like this.
We slept the last night down by the beach with a storm raging in the back ground but knowing that we only had tomorrows run along the beach to complete a few kms to victory.
All I can remember was I wanted to savour on the moment
and with the Aussie flag in hand waving in the back ground I crossed the finish line tingling all over the pain had gone it was time to celebrate.
The journey made even more special with sharing it with Linda
there were some tough days out there but as we both looked at our medals we knew we had dreamed big and there we were smiles could not be whipped of our faces. Wonderful friend may we continue to dream big and yes have many more adventures together.
To a fabulous tent full of laughter, pain and a few sad times thank you.
To everyone thanks for sharing so many magical moments together
Most importantly to my wonderful husband this trophy is for you for all your support for me to even make it to the start line of these events.. xx