TransRockies Quest 888 (Quest #8)
5 months (May to September 2013)
9 trail running, mountain biking, road running and road biking
Over 888 race kms
I woke up on the morning of Sunday March 3rd dead
tired. I hadn't got much sleep and I had things to do before the
start of the Kilimanjaro Marathon at 6.30am. Sue and I had arrived
in Tanzania the previous week and my acclimatization was going
well. I had been out on a couple of training runs, with my friend
Lau Mafuru, on the trails and hills around Arusha. On Saturday we
had driven east about 50km to Moshi, the location of the race.
Before checking into the guest house we stopped at the race hotel
to pick up my race package. After some administrative details were
worked out about "had I paid?" we headed over to our
At 4.30am Sunday I slipped out into the open court yard and
prepared my water / CarboPro mix. Preparation is key to a
successful marathon. I knew it was going to be hot so I needed to
hydrate and cover myself in +30 SPF sun block. Millie, who worked
in the bar area, dropped by and said that I could get breakfast in
the restaurant. This was great as it was only 5.00am. Lau and I had
agreed to meet at 5.15am but I started to tuck into papaya, water
melon, avocado and bananas. This was followed by porridge and a
boiled egg. 5.30am and no Lau. I went to his suite and called his
name. He said he'd be right out. We were on our way at 5.35am and
made one stop to pick up Lau's friends Kidori and Biggie. Biggie
showed me one of the "Kilimanjaro Quest 95.2" shirts he had had
printed and it looked great.
We arrived at the stadium at 6.10am and the place was hopping.
Runners were stretching and chatting amongst themselves. Slowly the
darkness lifted and a beautiful sunrise ensued. In the distance
Mount Kilimanjaro was as clear as a bell with the glaciers
shimmering in the sun light. At 6.25am the announcer told the
runners to line up. Lau suggested I go to the front for a "media
shot". I wasn't too sure this and around me were tall Kenyan and
Tanzanian men and women. 3….2….1 bang! we were off. Elbows and
knees were flying and I was swept along in a sea of bodies. 100m
down the cinder track two runners fell and I tried to hurdle them.
I didn't make it. I went sprawling in the dirt and several runners
bashed into me as I tried to get up. Finally I was back on my feet
and my marathon had begun. Lau, Kidori and myself fell into a good
pace and the kilometres clicked by. The route is an out and back
for 20kms to the east then out and back for the remaining 22.2kms
to the west.
We started the race at 20C and it was quickly climbing. We made
the half way point in 2hrs 10mins and the temperature hit 28C. The
second half of the route took us up a steady incline for 11kms. Lau
was struggling with a knee problem. He stopped a medical aid van
and they gave him an Ibuprofen spray. Three kms later I stopped the
same van and asked if they had some sun block? Sorry, no. It was
going to be a long 15kms. I struggled from km 28 to km 31. The heat
was taking its toll and I had cup after cup of Coke at the aid
At 31km we reached the turning point. What a change. The route
was down hill and the wind was blowing into my face. I suddenly
felt strong and started to wheel it home. We had hoped to make it
in 4hrs 40mins but the heat and the route put the kibosh to that. I
figured we would be around 5hrs. Lau's feet were hurting, he wasn't
happy with his Vibrams 5 fingers shoes. Kidori looked as fresh as a
daisy. The lad is amazing.
We rolled into the stadium at just under 5hrs and the three of
us crossed the line at 5hrs 00mins 23secs. Walking out of the
finishers chute we were met by Sue and Leesha, Lau's wife. Then we
were given our medal and T shirt. Post race food was BBQ chicken
and fries, cooked on an open fire, followed by a Kilimanjaro beer,
excellent. On the way out of the stadium we meet Jill, the race
organizer. She mentioned that it was good we hadn't come in any
earlier as it was a bit of a log jam with people pushing and
shoving to get there medals.
Our merry gang walked back to the guest house under the shadow
of Kilimanjaro. Part 1 of Kilimanjaro Quest 95.2 was completed.
Lau, Kidori and I now had two day rest before we tackled part 2, an
attempt to summit the highest mountain in Africa in 24hrs.
Quote of the Day
"A ship is safe harbour, but that's not what ships are for"
Mount Kilimanjaro in the background looking down
on the start of the marathon