Eight hours prior we had finished the Falklands marathon, with 6 hours of flying, immigration, no sleep and legs that were beginning to moan and groan big style.
Marathon number two began and although we knew this one would be hard, from the offset I was looking forward to the finish, this run would be conquered on mental ability, 27 degrees C, 90% humidity and it was raining, not ideal conditions! We ran down the Copacabana promenade, through Ipanema and onto Lake Lagoa. After three laps of Lake Lagoa, with skaters and cyclists cutting in front of us, we began the reverse journey and the finish.
Reaching Ipanema turning left along coast meant the finish, sadly we had to turn right, and away from our finish line to enable us to put enough miles on to complete 26.2 miles, what this did to body and mind at this point was unbelievable. The body seemed to drain of all strength; this was where the mind and the belief in yourself took over. Looking back now the calves, thighs, ankles, and feet were all feeling the pressure, they were screaming for the finish and relief, but the end was a long way away.
Our jet, a Lear 55, landed in Santos Demonte, Brazil at 8.45am local time.
From the airport we sped to the start of the second marathon. The start line was outside the world famous Copacabana Palace Hotel and our deadline was to start was 9.30, because after this marathon we had to rely on scheduled airlines and time was now very important. It was touch and go but we made it by the skin of our teeth. Rio was the loneliest place on this earth at that precise moment. Circumstances and Argentinean politics had forced us to move the second marathon from Chile to Brazil at the very last minute and so all that was there to support was our small team, the TV crew, 26.2 miles of running and Mother Nature!
I dug deep within myself and ground every step out. I was totally focused, simply willing myself on, bringing everything from my armory to help. Around my neck was a photo of my family and I feel no shame or embarrassment in saying I touched this photo and drew strength from it, telling myself they would want Dad to do this. Whether it helped or not, I believe it got me through! It was around this point, Mac told me afterwards, that he seriously thought for a second of throwing the towel in, but took one look at the determination on my face, seeing I was feeling the same and the thought left him as quickly as it had come! The Copacabana promenade, that world famous, glamorous coastal strip in Rio, was now a hurting ground, even when Phil read our poem the finish line couldn’t come quick enough, but it did come, in 4 hours and 45 minutes and 26.2 grueling miles! Believe me it hurt, every part of me new pain, totally exhausted, crying with relief, which the world saw on camera, but number two had now been completed.
Things moved so quickly now, that dreaded ice bath was in fact a comfort, the yelps but the relief to the legs, hot shower, food and drink, and rushed to the airport and the Lear 55, which was taking us to San Paulo and the scheduled flights. The rain was coming down in torrents, the co pilot told us we had one shot at landing. If we didn’t make it the first time they were shutting the runway as it was far too dangerous. At this point being blind was a blessing! All I heard was a lot of low rumbling, moaning and I’m sure I heard someone praying, I was told afterwards it was a very close call, wings, water and a very big hill in front! I did notice the sigh of relief when the wheels hit the floor.
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