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Monday, November 30, 2009


With such an intensive training schedule for the Everest Marathon and getting so sick in Nepal my motivation was sorely lacking over the last 5 months. However, although I have still been hampered by silly injuries I have been getting very restless over the last few weeks.

I have promised to restrict my mad races to one every second year & I have been tossing up what to do next. I really need something out there to get me going and was torn between the Big Five or Safaricom Marathons through game reserves in South Africa/Kenya and the Antarctica Marathon which really captured my imagination.

Unfortunately the Antarctica Marathon has been sold out for 2010, 2011 & 2012 so I will be putting a deposit down for the 2013 entry to lock it in and that means a return to Africa and I have set my heart on Kenya as I have already spent close to a year in South Africa in 1995/96.
The Safaricom Marathon was conceived in 1999 by Tusk Trust, a London-based charitable organization dedicated toward preserving wildlife in its natural habitat. The event, the only marathon run in a game park, is run on dirt roads within the 62,000 acre Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The two-looped course offers some of Kenya's most beautiful scenery with Mount Kenya lying 20 miles to the south and Samburu National Park and Mt. Lololokwe to the north.

Lewa is home to over 100 black and white rhino, herds of elephant and a vast assortment of plains game including oryx, eland, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and more. Lion, leopard and cheetah also can be seen.The course is patrolled by a spotter plane and helicopter as well as a large and experienced team of armed rangers to avoid any confrontations with the four-legged residents. There are manned aid stations every 5K and water stations every 2-1/2K. The local Masai and Samburu communities will not only run alongside visitors but will also entertain participants during race day.

The race will be in late June 2011 so any other takers out there let me know and we can work on a joint venture!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nepal 2009

Arriving in Kathmandu in the middle of the night was probably a bit of a blessing as i had no idea of what to expect fro Nepal's capital city. Even still it was a hair raising "taxi" ride to the guest house I had been recommended. The driver have absolutely no regard for the official road rules and there seems to be an unwritten code of he who beeps his horn the most and loudest has right of way and woe be tide to any pedestrians that are in the way!

The next few days were amazing. I spent most of the time with the children and staff from the orphanage and it was great to see where the money we raised went to such a great place. The children were all so happy, healthy and doing really well at there respective schools. they also all had impeccable manners and were so appreciative of any little thing that was done for them.
Just to spend time with them and see the dedication they put into their school work/home work and the way they all helped out around the place without having to be pushed to do things was great - it was a real family atmosphere on a grand scale!
Here are a couple of photos of them in there school uniforms.

They were also preparing for a concert where they were putting on a dance show in a big hall. unfortunately I was due to be trekking to the start of the marathon when the concert was on.
Apparently someone who attended the concert was involved in the media and film industry and has invited the girls to be in an upcoming movie which will be a real buzz for them!
It was also fantastic working with Indira Ranamager from PA Nepal who runs everything in Nepal on behalf of the "Orphan Help Centre". We had a great day where we went and checked out another children's home that she runs in Sankhu a small town about 30km out of Kathmandu to give children a realistic and balanced upbringing teaching them further life skills and practical skills such as tending crops, cooking etc. There is also a school on site that she has set up and allows all the local children to attend at no cost and even provides uniforms for them at no cost - it was so reassuring to meet Indira and see the genuine love for the children and passion for the cause as there are a lot of organisations over there that treat foreign aid and funding as a business with no concern for the welfare of the children at all!
It is great to work alongside other people with a total passion for the youth as they are our future and it is critical that we invest in them and help them get not justa formal education but the life skills to achieve their goals. Many children coast along in a formal educational environment but have plenty to offer outside of academia. One of my favourite quotes comes from one of NewZealands most famous "ordinary men" Sir Edmund Hillary - "People do not decide to become extrodinary. They decide to accomplish extrodinary things". My trip to Nepal has cemented one viewpoint -We need to look past the academic abilities in todays youth
and inspire them to achieve personal goals no matter how big or small. We need to give them the tools to succeed in life on a personal level and believe in themselves. Once they have that belief and skills to help them on their way many of the other successes will follow (including academic ones).
Anyway I do digress
Here are a couple of shots of the Sankhu school and children's home.

I did manage a night out in Nepal as there was a leaving party for one of the orphanage volunteers friends which i tagged along to and ended up having a few shots of the local moonshine called Roxy which is distilled from rice or maize and absolutely knocks your socks off! We ended up with some friendly locals who wanted to show us around and a really good timewhen clulminated in a dodgy casino playing Blackjack with a couple of members of the local mafia and thankfully got on with them really well - even got a phone number to call for if I ever got in trouble so they could "make the trouble go away!" After much protesting they finally let me go and I crawled out of the casino at 7:30 in the morning and went to meet my new friends and travelling companions for the Marathon. Unfortunately I think this was the night I ate something a little dodgy that would lead to the worst case of diarrhea I have ever had that would continue t haunt me for the next 16 days all the way through to the marathon and beyond - now I really do believe in karma!
The Shanker was a fairly impressive old world styled Hotel and a great setting to meet all the other crazy foreign entrants in the Tenzing Hillary Marathon.

The next couple of weeks were spent trekking from Lukla to Everest Base Camp where the Marathon started and was an amazing experience. Again just to be in a country where those with so little are all so giving and accomodating was incredible.
For a good look my photos from my trip CLICK HERE to be taken to an online photo gallery.