Saturday, 12 June 2010

A blast from the past

In moving house, Nic found a bunch of magazines, which he passed on this week. AdventureZone magazine first came out in early 2001 and only lasted about two years. The mag was unrelated to the later Mazda-sponsored programme on Supersport. And, it was instrumental in shaping my varied career in media and adventure sporting disciplines.

This June/July 2001 issue carried a full page article on the inaugural Swazi Xtreme, which I wrote with Darron Raw. On the opposite page is an article by Ugene Nel on equipment basics and a comment on the Borneo Eco Challenge, which took place that year.

At this stage I'd been contributing adventure racing content to the old WorldofEndruance website. AdventureZone was my 'break' into print. I had also just made it in to OutThere Magazine before it was closed; and I'd been writing sections of articles in RIDE (AR perspective of mountain biking) to accompany Jacques Marais' articles. And, went online two months before this AZ issue - I was constantly writing content for the site. I began contributing regularly to AZ.

It was through AdventureZone's editor, Nicola Simpson, that I heard about and got involved inthe 2001 Camel White Water event on the Zambezi River - what an incredible experience! I learned so much about reading rivers and eddies and fairy gliding... Big, big, big water!

And it was also through Nicola that I found out about the Augrabies Extreme Marathon (now known as the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon - KAEM). It all started with a bivvy bag product review request; a week later I was at the starting line to run my very first seven-day, 250km, self-sufficient stage race. This was the second year of the event. I walked most of it - socialising and messing around - until the ultra stage on days 5 and 6. My feet were so sore that after covering the first 10km in something like 2hrs I decided to start running. I couldn't face taking 14hrs to do the next 70km!

I left the guys I'd been walking with - one suffering terribly from ITB inflammation - really bad) and had what turned out to be a life-changing experience. I initially walked the ups and ran the flats and downs (my standard rule, even then) but because I was feeling so good I just continued running, hitting the 10km water tables like clockwork, every 1h10. Aside from very sore feet I was on a high. Stars out, dogs barking in the distance and an open road. I overtook many people early on and then had over 50km all to myself. When I reached the camp at about 5h30 I was buzzing and could hardly sleep. I'd never run so far in one chunk and I'd loved every minute. And that was the start of my ultra running.

AdventureZone, thank you for all of this.

1 comment:

swazidarron said...

With the Swazi Xtreme hitting 10 years this year - that really is a blast from the past. We're planning to bring lots of similar reminising into the part of our final wrap-up.