Smuggling Budgies over the finish line

We did it. We managed to haul our asses over the line and after a tumultuous week, we did it in style. We did it in Budgies!

The final day saw us run the short 8.2km stretch from the overnight camp back to San Pedro. The finish was set in the square of the town with music, families and fans and of course, a table filled with Pizza and soft drinks.

Budgy Brothers

Budgy Brothers with our medals. True friends for life. I didn’t believe Mark when he said he was going to sign up and join me for the race. When I realised he had paid the deposit and was in, I was super excited. To experience an adventure like this with a close friend makes the event ten times more enjoyable. The fact that we were fit enough to run it together to help support each other through the race and experience it together made it even better. I will never forget running through Slot Canyons crossing the rivers, bounding over the rocks. It has to be the biggest highlight of the race for me.

We are both onto new adventures shortly with our babies due in July – 2 weeks apart. Very excited for many more adventures together and with our families.

Budgy Brothers

The race officially over and we had finished in the respectable positions of 10th and 11th overall. 250km after we started we had huge smiles on our faces and big medals around our necks. Job done.

Now back in the UK, it’s time to collect my thoughts and remember the week that was. It was such a whirl wind and so much happened, it’s hard to remember all the highs (and the lows).

Here are a couple of images to remember everything. I’ll scatter in a few quotes that Emma wrote for me on my daily cards. They are brilliant and really helped to put my mind in the right state everyday.

 “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore is not an act but is a habit”

A picture of one of the blisters (actually a few joined together!) I won’t put a photo of the little toe as it’s even more nasty than this blister. I’m still on antibiotics for the infection. I think I have saved it from becoming a blood infection.

I’m keen to go to a beautician to get a pedicure just to see their face. I better get a discount though as I only have 7 toe nails left.


Our 5 star accommodation allowed us to wake up to this every morning.

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The Dreaded Salt Lake at the beginning of the Long March. What a way to start a 75km run – wet, salty feet. At least the photos look amazing. Power and I are about 7 / 8th in the line of competitors in the photo if you look closely.

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Elation – Extremely happy and excited, a feeling of joy and pride; optimism”

Our tent  at the finish line. Elation is only word to describe the feeling.

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The awards ceremony was a fitting way to cap off the great week. After an afternoon by the pool drinking beer and devouring proper food, all the competitors scrubbed up and hobbled into town for a full banquet meal along with copious amounts of beers and Pisco Sours. It was so nice to see everyone in a social sense. We had all gone through so much together and we had all become so close. It’s amazing how much you can learn about so many people in just one week.

The spirit awards went to Vladmi dos Santos, the blind competitor from Brazil, and his guide, Alex. These two were simply amazing. Pictured here giving the emotional victory speech, they had the whole audience in awe and inspired to do more with their lives.

I got a chance to talk to Vladmi after the awards and we chatted for about an hour. All I can say is WOW. Since losing his sight 14 yrs ago, he has struggled to get on with his life. Living in Brazil with his wife and 2 kids, Vladmi tries to provide for his family despite limited opportunities for a blind person to earn money. A 2hr 15min marathon runner, he is one of a handful of elite runners in this world (blind or not) and yet he is unknown by many.

Having been able to see for many years, the hardest thing he says is that he can no longer see his kids growing up. Using his other senses, he appreciates life in so many ways and wishes for people to only give him a chance.

I thought my week was tough. Blisters, self doubt, heat, winge winge winge. Imagine doing the whole thing and not seeing where to place your feet. Imagine the blisters if you can’t even see where to place your footing over such tough terrain. Imagine having a friend dedicate his life to helping you and making sure you enjoy the race. From guiding him all day to helping him with food, guiding him to the toilets, helping to set up his sleeping area in the tent. Vladmi can’t afford to pay for Alex either, he does it out of the goodness of his heart and as a friend. Now that is inspirational.  “Beautiful You” we called Alex (his line to a lot of the female competitors) was a man so humble he lives his life in his friends shadow.

Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice”

Brazilian Blind Competitor


The post race effect! Time to get back to the gym and put some muscle back on!

Time to lift some tin again!

Time to lift some tin again!


So, back to life, back to work, back to get ready for the arrival of babycino.

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9 Responses to “Smuggling Budgies over the finish line”

  1. Rich,

    I can’t even start to tell you how inspiring reading your blogs have been!!! Don’t get me wrong, I think you know me well enough now to know that that doesn’t mean for a second that I’m about to sign up for one of these crazy ass adventures!!! But it really does take some sort of unique individual to want to push themselves physically and mentally in this way. I have read everyone of your blogs and every day I’ve been faced with a ridiculously stressfull challenge at work I’ve thought “at least I’m not in the soaring heat with my feet rubbed raw” sorry if that seems selfish but I was taking comfort from your pain!!!! Valdmi is an inspiration in his own right, amazing!!! Babycino will be a walk in the park compared to this and as from the second Emma told me the news at the start of this year I have EVERY confidence that you both are going to be AMAZING parents!!!!! Lots and lots of love.xxxxxx have taken this quote to use with my team at work tomorrow… ”We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore is not an act but is a habit”

    Ps. The pic of your blistered foot looks like a pig!! 🙂

  2. fantastic personal achievement – pushing all the boundaries – mentally & physically…. anything is possible if you have the right mindsight…… well done fella….. great story to share with the grandchildren !!!

  3. Mate, unbelievable blog. Unbelievable effort. Inspirational! Huge congratulations!

    Your journey has been followed with great interest!
    What an inspiration!
    What stories to share with Emma & your wee one!
    I have delighted also sharing your impressive challenges and all they entailed with others!
    and can only marvel & celebrate your success!

  5. Lisa Lovell-Davis Reply March 13, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Wow Rich you are an inspiration to all. Congratulations on a phenomenal feat. I have enjoyed reading your updates everyday and it seems that your lovely Emma did a fantastic job motivating you each day.
    Lots of love and we hope we can see you both in may when we visit.

  6. Speechless.

  7. WOW brethren, that is pretty incredible.

    No one will ever be able to take this achievement, this experience, this ‘life changer’ away from you both. What a great couple of years you guys have had and we know that there is more of this where that come from cause blokes like you two don’t hang-up there shoes, they put them right back on keep on challenging themselves.

    “Don’t exist, Live”

    You are certainly meeting the expectations of my personal motto.


  8. Great ending, Rich! Inspiration all around you. Your feet are going to be a nice short-term reminder of what you’ve achieved for a few painful months!!

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