Saturday, 10 October 2015
Wednesday, 20 May 2015
Some of you may have seen recent my Facebook posts and shared posts lately about finding contacts within China. This is an urgent plea - please take the time to read this and understand what it will mean if you can share or help. As I explain below, a connection with Huawei in particular is urgently needed.
Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman where even walking outside alone puts them at risk. Despite the incredible challenges, these two young women have found a way to train six days a week for the last six months to prepare.
The value of getting these two Afghan girls to the Gobi is immeasurable. Quite simply, it is an opportunity of a lifetime that has the potential to not only change their lives for the better, but also the lives of women and men around them. The race provides them with a chance to prove to themselves, their communities, their country and all of us what Afghan women are capable of, and an opportunity to defy limits that have been imposed on them by society.
They feel a responsibility to their families, to Afghan women and to their country to get to the finish line. They have trained in the face of harassment, Taliban attacks and insecurity. They are potential leaders in their community and this race would give them the opportunity to develop their confidence. Nelofar, who is 19 years old, is hoping to use this experience to start her own running club for other Afghan women in her home town. Zainab wants to keep running for the rest of her life, using it as a vehicle for peace.
Nelofar has never taken an international flight before - this is a huge step. Zainab now feels like she has hope for her future.
This race is much, much more than a race to them and to other Afghan women.
Nothing like this has ever been attempted before - it would be groundbreaking.
At present, we are calling for any connections to HUAWEI or possible mining and petroleum companies such as Metallurgical Corporation of China, Jiangxi Copper Corporation and China National Petroleum Corporation, as they have current projects invested in Afghanistan.
If you can help, please contact Samantha Fanshawe (email@example.com), leave a comment or send a message. Time is running out and I believe we can make this happen if we try hard enough!
Thursday, 7 May 2015
After covering 315km in four days and finally feeling like I was on the home straight, my attempt at the 450km ANZAC Ultra was finished. I suddenly went from bouncing along the trail to having sharp shooting pains all up my left shin, unable to bear any weight on my left leg. When I saw that the swelling and redness had spread from my lower shin up my leg and around towards the achilles, I switched off the music and turned around on the trail.
|Canberra is gorgeous!|
|Ready to start!|
450km would be the furthest I'd ever attempted. For those of you who asked why, it's because it was there. I chanced upon the race on Ultramarathonrunning.com one night, and after a few emails exchanged with RD Phil Essam, I'd signed up. I like challenges, and this one was too good to pass up. I didn't know too much about ANZAC, but I found out soon enough.
|My official cheerleaders|
|Race village - ours is the blue one on the left :)|
|No such thing as bad weather ...|
The race briefing was as expected, and lovely to see Aussie ultrarunning legend Wayne 'Blue Dog' Gregory again after far too many years! Almost everyone knew everyone else, and I may have been the only nutter outside of Australia who'd signed up, but certainly grateful for a familiar face.
|450km or bust!|
After discussion with Mile 27 coach Andy Dubois, the basic plan was to go as far as possible before collapsing from exhaustion, have a short sleep of 20-60 mins, restock, refuel, and repeat. I meant to average 15h per loop including rests and had a total target of 90 hours to complete. Nutrition was to be Tailwind throughout - it worked well for me and I had a stack of snacks in case I felt like a treat. Best laid plans and all that.
|Unmanned water point at Kambah Pool|
It's not as flat as I thought it'd be, though. In fact, it's bloody hilly for a 1000m D+ loop so far. The terrain is ok, hard-packed and not technical at all. There's a beautiful gorge (Murrumbidgee River, I think) and lots of massive kangaroos along the way. Everyone who's run past has been lovely and chatted for a bit, and I've already showed how sure-footed I am by tripping over nothing at all .. Andy Sewell runs past, amazed he's found someone clumsier than himself. ;)
|Andy running past|
|Liz, Lisa and Andy :)|
|Gorgeous afternoon by the lake ..|
|Lap 1 done!|
|Karen's crew was well stocked and mobile ;)|
Lap 2 - Monday 8pm, 75km done
It's quite different in the dark. The course markings aren't very reflective, so I'm glad we got to do the first loop in daylight. My propensity to get lost is always a worry, but at least I get to do take the scenic route! I catch up to Matt not long after, he's lost the trail and we amble ahead together. It's nice to have some company at last, more so in the dark. We catch up with Liz a little further on, and she's got enough energy to power all of us. I'm try to keep up with her powerhouse pace, whilst holding a conversation, answering her phone and generally distracting us from the fact that it's cold and wet. She's also carrying everything and the kitchen sink with her, I'm so impressed I think I have a girl crush for the first time in decades. And you should see her guns. I'm hitting the gym when I get back to HK.
|Black Mountain in the distance .. Canberra is definitely NOT flat.|
|Still not flat.|
|Autumn colours enroute|
Liz heads off with her coffee as she's got her car parked about 20km away, and she'll stop there for a sleep. Buzz arrives a few minutes later, swaps my two pairs of wet gloves for a dry set, gives me a hug and sends me on my way. Hot tea coming through!
|A much needed hot tea|
|Sunrise at last!|
|Coming into CP2 and FREEZING|
|Time for 40 winks .. I'm under there somewhere.|
|Me and Tiggs on the run|
Lap 3 - Tuesday 6pm, 150km done
It doesn't seem to take long to get to CP1 again. With the exception of a near head-on collision with a large man-sized kangaroo on the trail, it's pretty uneventful and the pain in my achilles is bearable. The rain got worse, and Buzz met me just after CP1 with a change of plans. I thought I'd try and get a quick 30mins kip and dry off before tackling section 2, but the weather had other plans. We end up sleeping fitfully in the car till daybreak - the rain was so heavy and it snowed at one point in the night .. Buzz took the executive decision to wait it out.
|Ready to rock after a night in the car|
|Not so easy to get through these gates after 225km!|
This was my favourite lap so far, everything felt great, mainly because the sun was out, and I was (relatively) flying. Had some company on the boring flat lake loop with superfast Liz, her friend and their dog (sorry, names all forgotten!). Looking forward to dry clothes and hot food waiting at Stromlo, I was having a great time. I think really need to stick to the warm, dry races. I was still on Tailwind and random snacks, looking forward to pot noodles or rice and salmon at the end of each loop. The last 4 km back into Stromlo didn't quite go as planned, with achilles hurting again and this time my lower left shin feeling pretty wrecked as well.
|Kangaroo spotting again|
|Blue Dog motoring on banana power|
|Feet up and sunset!|
Lap 4 - Thursday 6.30am, 225km done
Amazing what some sleep can do ... I'm ready for Lap 4! I start with Lisa (Harvey-Smith), but she's not having a great time with it and I soon lose her. I asked Buzz to help find me some gaiters and poles, and bless him, he did! I had Sally's awesome pink gaiters and he'd promised me a set of poles by the time I was done with CP1. What a star. I'm back on track, everything hurts and it's 2km down the road before I ring Buzz, asking him to meet me enroute with a pair of scissors. We chop off the back of my Hokas, and it's a world of relief. My sore Achilles hopefully won't take too long to ease off now. I'm limping along quite happily till I get to the end of Kambah Pool Road. My endorphins seem to hit a black hole, fatigue crashes in and I'm falling into despair. I want to talk to someone but don't know what to say. I deliberate for ages, still moving forward from force of habit (always useful), and then dial Andy's (my coach) number. There's no reply. I try again and then give up, hoping that he might call back. I've forgotten he's at Buffalo Stampede.
|Hacked off Hokas|
|Happy on the start of Lap 4 ...|
|... and then much less happy.|
Then I remember the emergency ipod. Together with a hand delivery of Gurney Goo (indispensible anti-chafe solution!), John Ellis lent me his ipod with a 'Jeri The ANZAC' playlist. I've never run with music, in training or in races, but I'd been carrying it in my pack since Monday. Nothing for it. I plug in the earphones and realise I don't even know how to turn this on .. duh. Tech dinosaur gets the hang of it after a while and I'm good to go.
|Cow photobomb .. I think Matty started this :)|
|Sun's out, yay!|
|Pink and purple!|
|Recharged, refuelled and my shin is looking a bit worse for wear.|
Lap 5 - Friday 4.30am, 300km done
|Canberra cloud formations are beautiful!|
|Gav, Brick and Jeff|
|No more running|
|Amazing ladies and 450km finishers!|
|With Andy, Danny and Liz|
The hardy souls I met at the ANZAC Ultra certainly embodied these qualities, runner, crew and volunteers alike. Despite the challenges from the weather, cold, a lack of resources or unexpected obstacles, everyone did their best. That's all that mattered.
This was the only edition to be held so there isn't a chance to do this again, but there's more challenges round every corner so I'll just sort out my shin and get back on the trail. My race report was very much a personal account, but with these events, it's all about pushing your own limits. I don't think it's ever really a race against anyone but yourself unless you're at the very pointy end of the field. It was quite a lonely journey for the most part .. I had sections with great company, but mostly very long periods by myself.
Danny the medic was an absolute trooper, going well beyond the call of duty. I don't think he ever slept and he must have boosted the local pharmacy sale a hundredfold with the amount of magic pills he dispensed. But you shouldn't go round telling ladies they have cellulite! (For the record, he said cellulitis, which is completely different.)
Sam Weir's race report here:
Pics of the event here: (I don't seem to be in any of them!) https://www.facebook.com/AnzacUltra/photos_stream
And for those who asked, my equipment list is here: (I did wear everything at the same time when it was cold, plus a few borrowed layers from Buzz and Pinghan!)
Cap - Raidlight
or Visor (daytime only) - Salomon
Buff (for warmth, wiping off Tailwind messes, and emergency boob tube services)
Sunglasses - Oakley zero
Base 1 - Arcteryx Phase SL crew
Base 2 - North Face FlashDry long sleeved base layer
Base 3 - Long sleeve ski thermal top
Armsleeves - Compressport
Mid-base - Marmot ThermalClime Pro 1/2 zip Long sleeve
Waterproof jacket - Marmot Nano and Marmot PreCip
Skirt - Salomon Anna Frost Special Edition
Tights - North Face FlashDry
Rainpants - Patagonia H2No Rain pants
Pack - Salomon S-Lab 5litre
Socks - Drymax crew or Under Armour
Shoes - Hoka Huaka
Headlamp - Black Diamond Storm
Nutrition: Tailwind as main base, supplemented with snacks and a hot meal after each lap. I find on the longer events, I use treats as an incentive. They aren't necessary but I like them so I reduce the amount of Tailwind to compensate.
Tailwind - (approx 1 scoop and hour with 250-500ml water)
Snacks: usually a nibble of something every couple of hours, I didn't always carry everything, but restocked with what I felt like at each lap.
Clif Kids Organic Zfruit ropes
Salted/honey roasted nuts (macadamia, cashew, almond)
Gluten-free shortbread cookies
Plain salted crisps
Dried fruit - mango and peach