Never say never

Posted on November 27, 2011


People say that the Racing the Planet series are some of the hardest events in the world … the annual roving event, in particular, designed to introduce extra challenge.  And having just completed RTP Nepal, the 2011 roving event, I can’t agree more … not however, because it was beyond my physical capability … I would under ‘normal’ circumstances have done very well but instead because I spent the entire week sick as a dog. 


What started out as a little bug in camp 1, turned into what can only be described as an epidemic. At one point, over 100 of the 220 competitors were lying low and quite a few pulled out.  The DV lasted for 24-48 hours.  I was struck, albeit in varying degrees, for the entire 7 days.

As a result, my experience was sadly tarnished. Where normally I would have been leaping out of my tent with excitement each morning, instead I lay weary and drained from my multiple trips to the toilet tent each night.  Where normally I would have been the one chatting till late at the camp fire each night, instead I sat quietly willing myself to get some calories in.  Where normally, I would be running these trails with child-like joy, I focused solely on just crossing that finish line each day.

You get the picture.

The point of this post is that it dawned on me last night, what got me through. 

I dragged myself to the awards dinner and unbeknownst to me, I had actually won the women’s 30-39 category so was awarded a plaque. Up on stage, I was handed the microphone… ‘shit’ I thought.  Totally unexpected, totally off the cuff and having been so sick, my voice has pretty much gone.

But then the words started to flow and I found myself saying that my week had been pretty horrendous and that I wouldn’t have got through it without the team and the volunteers, the supporters and the competitors.  Same goes with every race … the volunteers work tirelessly, long hours on their feet, always encouraging, always supportive yet they often get little thanks. They often don’t even get eye contact or a thank you.  Ditto with the medics.  By the very nature of their job, they never see people at their best but how often are they truly thanked for their advice and support?

Then there are your fellow competitors … the camaraderie shown in this event showed no bounds.  I lose count of the number of people who gave me a smile, encouragement and support along the way …

… kind words cost nothing but they’re worth a million dollars.

As for my sister, Alex, being a volunteer? Truly priceless.  Without her pulling me through, I’m not sure I would have stuck in there.

So … a rather long winded verse to say THANK YOU to the people who make races what they are.  It is the people who bring an event alive, the people who create the memories that last long after illness and injury have faded. Never before now has this been more apparent.

I finished my speech by saying I had unfinished business with RTP.  The thought of another event right now is not remotely appealing but perhaps when my body is better and my strength returned, I shall want to do another in the hope of a kick-ass performance.

Never say never …!

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