The Jungle Ultra
Archi, completes another of the toughest footraces on earth
1,300 Varities of Butterflies - The Jungle Ultra Peru, June 2015
Yup, I'm focusing on the positive, there are a few other creatures to be found in the Jungle:
The Black Caiman, crocodillian bad boy cousin of the Amercian alligator, Coral Snakes, handily have the second strongest venom of any snake, shame on them first losers to the Black Mamba. Jaguar, I planned on buying a Jaguar this year not meeting one, whilst the mammal is slower than the car both are faster than me. My personal favourite the Poison Dart Frog, even the flippin frogs are out to get you! There are of course many other nasties including Tree Vipers and Tarantula, huge Tarantula.
Beyond the range of animals and insects out to eat, poison and or infect me, oh yes some pretty scary tropical diseases are part of the overall Smorgasbord, there is the small matter of a bimble, 230KM to conquer. Carrying all of the kit and food I need for 6 days in the jungle including my very own hammock, no stony desert floor this year, a definite upside.
After an incredible week in the desert, running the Marathon des Sables last year, I was supposed to be keeping it cheap and local in 2015 however friend and fellow Marathon des Sables finisher Austin 'Jungle' Jarrett somehow managed a divorce threatening Jedi mind trick causing my resolve to dissipate and before I knew it a new adventure was afoot.
Why the Jungle? Well it's not for the wildlife even 1,300 butterfly varieties is insufficient balance for the nasties:
Challenge, this race truly is one of the toughest footraces on Earth, harder than the Marathon des Sables. Exploration, few things are more iconic than the Amazon Jungle, I can't wait to immerse myself in it. Culture a big draw is the race format with competitors camping between daily stages in villages. Tranquility The last few years have been busy for me and the Stewart household, my time in the desert provided an incredible inner calm, one that carries forward to work and home and I am hopeful a week of eat, run, sleep, eat run, sleep in the Jungle will build on my desert experience and Friendship my various running endeavors have furnished me with more true friends than there is space to mention, happily life unlike blogs provides infinite space for true friends.
What can I expect? A 230KM run starting in the Cloud Forest at c11,000ft, carrying all that I need for the 6 days, I will run down from the Cloud Forest to the Amazon Jungle, where in 100% humidity I will cross 60 rivers, meet Peruvian tribes, complete stages of between 30 and 93 kilometres, enjoying virgin forests and an overnight camps nestled next to cooling rivers.
The organisers, Beyond the Ultimate, will reward us with medals, t-shirts, a celebratory drink and an after party too! The true prizes will of course be the friends made and experiences shared.