First Day of School

Blog for day 1: 

Everyone has turned up excited with their new backpack and their food supplies. There are the cool kids with all the gear, the loud mouths, the quiet ones and the ones who have come to work hard. With so many people with so many varied backgrounds, the camp fire chat on the first night was brilliant. I’m in a tent with 4 Aussies, an Englishman, a Welshman and myself! We have great banter although the sleep is not great. It’s cold. Very cold. 0 degrees over night! Luckily it warms up fast and gets very warm out in the open spaces.

There are some amazing athletes here from all over the globe. The top seeds are from Romania, France, Ireland, America and Australia. I knew before starting the stage it was going to be a tough day. 41km with 1200mtrs elevation gain. All with a 8kg backpack and then water on top of 1.2kg.

We kicked off at 8am with many jitters and lots of anxiety of what was to come. I was feeling good but I knew with a very competitive field, it was going to be hard to place well. The gun went and we were off. Into Stage 1 at pace. Well, the top guys took off. The Irishman, two Frenchmen, the Romanian and American took off fast. It’s a long week ahead so I settled into a nice pace with a great young Aussie, Blake. We found a rhythm and slotted ourselves nicely in the top 10. We maintained an even flow without burning too much gas.

Slowly but surely, we climbed through the ranks and found ourselves syncing really well. We hit tough patches with some long hot spells over tough scree but we kept our nerve and kept our pace steady. One of the Frenchmen started to struggle and fell back. We picked him up just before the second aid station.

We pushed through the heat of the day and climbed through some amazing mountain passes looking for the finish line. We rounded a corner and there it was, the campsite. Blake and I put the little hammer down and picked the pace up as we rolled into camp in 5th and 6th place equal. A good first day with no issues other than sore traps from the heavy backpack.

Shortly after coming in, Power stormed through the finish line. A very strong performance given his back issues. I think he will only get stronger from here.

The campsite is set in a beautiful plain next to a glacier river. Diving into the 2deg water was bliss but a shock to the system. Being able to wash off in the river is a real treat.

Time to refuel with pork scratching, parmesan cheese and freeze dried food. Then keep warm and get the legs ready for day 2. The fast, shorter day.

Much love to everyone. Especially my beautiful little family at home supporting me. Special thanks to Jacqui for flying all the way from the UK to spend the time with the girls whilst I’m away. The girls will be so happy to have you there.



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7 Responses to “First Day of School”

  1. Well done mate. Sounds like an amazing course and an amazing experience. Keep the head on mate and you’ll smash this. Only 210kms to go ;o)

  2. 5th is awesome Richard… well done , now rest up and recharge.


  3. What a beast! Good luck for day 2 ace

  4. Looking good Richard! The Thursday night running crew are following your progress with interest. Race well and smart!

  5. Fantastic first days write-up. The Westo’s are cheering you and Power from here. shithot results.

    Come on team Power Rich.

    On another note I am drinking a nice cup of coco.

  6. Richy and Power……great first day lads!!

  7. AWESOME NEWS!!!! you guys are so inspirational and your kids will be so proud of you in years to come!!! Dig deep and go hard!! Lots of love The Foo’s xxx

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