Entering the War Zone!

So, after months of training and mental preparation, the time to head to the desert was finally here. I jumped onto my flight at Heathrow and got ready for the long haul to South America. I had to fly to Madrid then to Santiago then onto Calama and then get land transport to a small town called San Pedro on the edge of the Atacama desert. This was the base for the race.

I met my buddy Mark Power in Santiago airport as he was flying in from NYC. The first meeting had us in stitches of laughter. As two corporate, weekend warriors, we had decided to shave our heads for the event. We were both weighing in very light at around our high school body weight and with our fresh shaven heads we looked like army recruits getting ready to go into battle!

We got off the plane in Calama ready to enter the war zone. We collected our bags and met a great guy, Tiago, who is part of the media team for the event. He’s a photographer for outside magazine and travels the world taking photos of outdoor adventure races. From Kona Ironman to the tour of Argentina and other great adventure races around the world, this guy covered the lot. He also owned a diving business in Rio where he lived.  I thought I had a good life!!  Mark, Tiago and I caught a cab to San Pedro. This was the first time we saw what we were going to run through. Rocky, mountainous, moon like landscape. Oh, and at altitude. Calama is 2500mtrs above sea level and the race start is at 3500mtrs. This was our first challenge. Acclimatisation. Loads of water and loads of food.

We arrived in San Pedro late in the afternoon and checked into our hotel. A basic, mud hut hotel that was comfortable and had a pool. It was nice to put on the budgies and get some heat after the cold London winter.

Mark and I went for a light run before heading back to the Hotel and meeting some British lads who were here for the event. Great guys with great banter. A good crew was forming for the event. We headed out for dinner to meet more people including Matt who has been here for 3 weeks. It was great to catch up and gear up for the week ahead. Matt is in great form. I think this could be his year however, there are a lot of top competitors here from around the world. A lot unknown, a lot known. It’s going to be a tough event and tough to achieve my goal but, that’s why I am here. The heat is not what I expected. It’s more mild than I expected and hoped for. It’s only about 30 – 32 deg during the day. It might change when we get out into the desert but, I was hoping for hotter. I feel it’s a competitive advantage as it makes the race that much tougher. The Sahara got up to 48deg and sorted the men from the boys! This is going to be more about running speed than desert stamina.

Off to pack our gear. Mark and I have a full afternoon of replacking food to get our pack weight down as much as possible.

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3 Responses to “Entering the War Zone!”

  1. Hey Richard that sounds great so far ;-))) Hi to buddy Mark and both have a fab start tomorrow!
    I’ll look forward to more update x

  2. Whooooohar! I am tingling all over with stoke for you guys. I have a pang of envy and even a little anxiousness as I sit here in my kitchen and ponder a 15km run. Haha…Take it too them broz. PS Blues Won and Reds won!

  3. Rich, now your head’s goin to get sunburnt!!! All the very best, we’ll be thinking of you and following the race everyday. You are an inspiration,all the hard training is done now go and enjoy the race. Sending you lots of love! The Taylortribe xxxx