If you haven't read any of my previous blogs about the 10 summits challenge welcome to the story.
For those of you that have read previous updates thanks for taking a look at this one. Kilimanjaro was the objective for the weekend and it certainly didn't disappoint.
Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world: 5,895 metres above sea level and about 4,900 metres above its plateau base.
The plan was pretty simple really, wake up early, get out quickly and run for 14 hours until I reach the summit of Kilimanjaro.
Well, when I say the summit I mean the height of Kili above sea level in terms of positive elevation gain. This meant I'd be running around 77Km and 51 hill repeats of Torre de'l Aguilo near La Vila Joiosa on the Costa Blanca.
This challenge was a little different to the other 6 that I've done; this time I'd be running with the guys from the Ultra Running Family and the guys from Ultra Race Romania who were undertaking the same challenge over two days on the URR tracks in there own back yard.
A massive thank you goes out to Beatrice, Andrei and Daniel for being a part of this challenge and to all the members of the Ultra Running Family for their messages of support
Please check them out below
So in terms how the day went i have absolutely no complaints. I woke up around 4pm, I had some breakfast and coffee and headed off to Torre de'l Aguilo without any dramas. I started running at 06.20 and quickly began clocking up the distance and more importantly the elevation gain.
We changed the start position for this run back to the original place which meant each hill repeat was giving me 115m of elevation and 1.3km in terms of distance; the target for the day was to run all 51 hill repeats by 8pm
The first 2000m which I ran in 4hours 42 mins felt incredibly easy; the weather was cool and I was moving really, really well. At this point I thought getting it done in 14 hours was a certainty!
I set off on the next phase with a spring in my step joined by a few friends Sergio and Kiko. For the next few hours things went well, I was taking in nutrition and feeling relatively good. As I hit the 9 hour mark I began to feel a bit rubbish and by the time I reached 50Km and 4000m I was feeling pretty beaten up.
After 11 hours of running up and down the same hill I was beginning to question my sanity; bearing in mind that I'd run up the same hill over 170 times in the last 5 months. I sat down with a cup of tea for around 20 minutes, gathered my thoughts and read some messages from the guys in Romania. This gave me an incredible lift and the energy that I needed to get going again.
Unfortunately that burst of energy didn't last too long and within 45 minutes I began slowing down and the steep technical sections were becoming more and more challenging. I kept looking at my watch and thinking that I wasn't moving quickly enough to get the 5900m done by curfew at 10 o'clock.
7pm came and went and I still had around 1300m to go, I was suffering with cramps in my calf and my paced had slowed to a crawl, especially on the uphill.
I reached the 63km and 5000m just before 8pm and it was time to be honest with myself and accept that I was not going to do the full 5900m in one day. I certainly didn't want to get fined for breaking curfew and I didn't want make my calf any worse. We called it a day at 5000m and planned to return the next day to get the remaining 900m ticked off
I woke up relatively early on Sunday morning, had some breakfast, spoke to the guys in Romania who were out completing their route and I headed back out to Torre de'l Aguilo where I met up with Riera one of the guys from a local running club.
My plan was to take it easy and get the 8 remaining hill repeats done slowly but to be honest I felt really great so we decided to push it as much as we could. we kept a strong pace and managed to complete the final 900m needed to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro in 1 hour 50 mins.
Although this was without question the most difficult of the runs it was also the most rewarding. Knowing that there's people out there running with me in support of Centro Doble Amor is just amazing and In some ways it restores my faith in the world. The messages of support received during and after the day from the Ultra Running Family were truly amazing!!
So what's next?
Next up is Denali which will be on May the 2nd and potentially the 3rd. The curfew in Spain will still be in place and being realistic I don't think I'll do the 6200m in 16 hours
Finally I'd like to thank the guys from Regidoria d'Esports La Vila Joiosa, La_vilasalut, The Trail Events Company, Ultra Running Family, Ultra Race Romania, Cosmopolitan Spa & Fitness Club Alicante
I'd also like to thank Eva who has put in hours of work behind the scenes organising fundraising, nutrition, aid stations and for keeping me focused when perhaps I haven't been.
I couldn't do these things without you Eva so thank you from the bottom of my heart!