Khardung Camp and La Ultra Race

We arrived at the camp 2 nights before the start of the run and it was just amazing, Rajat had done it again, The tents were up and we just had to drop our bags in and it was tea time. The boys had it all going on and we just got to relax and look at the views. We were about 9kms from the start which was just down the valley a bit more. Thats my tent the only blue one.

  

  

  

As the sun went down the views just got better and better, It was all but a full moon and it lit up the sky and mountains amazingly.

  

Chilling at camp was one of the best days I had, There was a trip to do if you wanted but I and a few others just wanted to relax and we just talked shit all day.

  

  

The food at camp was great, The boys in the kitchen had it looking great and it tasted great too. Thanks so much .

We also had to get the van ready with all our food and clothes , We would be living out of it for 60 hrs and with 5 of us we took some time to sort it, I also wanted to get the Sponsors stickers up as without them I wouldn’t have been here as easy. They have been with me right back from my NZ run and I just love having their support.

  

Kier and Lyn made up my barbie sign and got me a Barbie umbrella which you will see later. Not sure why I got her but she helped us make it so I didnt mind.

   

My AWESOME CREW,   Stanzin, Mike , Michele and our driver D. Not sure what his real name was and Stanzin couldnt help me either,

We were ready to take on this run and I only had one plan HAVE FUN somehow, Not knowing if I could even make this distance I had to not think about that bit and just enjoy it, I m getting good at breaking huge things down and just making it to the end and nothing was going to change here.

  

We lined up at 5.55am on August 2nd ,All 11 of us.  Not a big field but 4 more than last year. From all over the world we came with our crews and if the race was to be any thing like the last week it was going to be a great 3 days.

GO!!!!!!!!  we were off, Some ran away and others walked but it just didnt matter as we had 222kms to go and 60 hrs to do it in.

  

I want to take a mo to introduce my newest crazy friends who have a huge heart , crazy power , and one goal of making it somehow and to have the most fun possible.

Lyn Hewwit from Australia , Super nurse who has been and seen alot of action in her work, super tough always smiling lady. Pushed all sorts of boundrys in this race but smashed it . I meet Lyn on the way up Warila and she was crying and saying “I’m out” and she looked broken in a million bits to keep going with her shoes cut open ,bloody near frost bite on her toes and in some world I hope I never go to only to come good in a manner of speaking and finish so strongly in 8th place.Love ya work Lyn.

Mark Hinges, My bud who I finished with. Mark and his crew had left us in their smoke and dust at the start line but over the first 130kms we pasted each other at different times. To then meet up and well run/walk the next 90kms together. Super fun team and I cant say thanks enough for helping me out. Congrats to you mark , hope I didnt slow you down to much.

  

Kim and Michael from Denmark, The boys were great, Quite yet funny as hell, Super experienced yet super cruisey. They set out together and were going so nicely, Michael not to good at attitude so Kim left him to only be hit by a motorbike in town, Took him out in the dark. Not at all stopping him he then only able to walk kept going and finished in 4th place. amazing power.

Michael after struggling at height then once on low ground found some power and took off, He flew passed everyone and won the race in a amazing 36 hrs. truely amazing to see him coming down only 15kms from the end , he still made time to give us a hug and we wished him well. Awesome Effort bro!!!!!!

John Sharp from Texas, Super funny guy , like me not the normal looking runner. Big guns and well in his words” not a runner, dont really like it” kinda guy. So fun and always a funny story to tell who ever was near by.  Shame but John didnt have the best day and had to retire about 80kms in. Im sure he will be back and do it again. Awesome to meet you bro and will be over to see you soon.

    

Seow Kong Ng in the green below, super fun guy who I was right behind at the top of the first hill and then all of a sudden bloody 10kms behind, So fast and run most of the run in 5 finger shoes, Basically barefoot. Congrats on your 2nd bro.

Mark Woolley ( in Black Jacket) from England but lives in Spain. Mark has done some amazing runs and was a super nice guy, Lots of stories and some amazing adventures behind him. He ran a great race and saw some crazy shit ( in his head) at the top of the second mountain, funny listening to him tell us the stories. Congrats to Mark on 3rd.

Bill Andrews In white tee. 60 yrs old but man oh man you wouldnt know it. Bill had been one of 3 people to come and try this run before anyone else, Bill and his now wife Molly both come to help make Rajats dream come true, Bill didn’t finish the first year from Stomach problems but only to come back this year and smash it, not without a few problems this time too , even almost pulling out when I saw him at 133km mark. he then got up and powered up the second mountain though the snow and hail storm to finish in 5th place, Awesome to watch your trip Bill, Huge respect.

    

Jazmine Pierce from USA, Jaz had had some flu and fever in the week before the race but was smiling at the start line to only then have her feet get more blisters on them than you would want in a year but only to power on and go though I don’t know how much pain to make the finish. Amazing to watch her race and see her make it.

My Mate Tim Garrett from Australia, you helped me so much in so many ways and introduced me to more adventures. A smile on always  and then I saw him pull up beside me in a car I was shocked. The doc’s thought he was down and out with something to only be fine but it was to late and he had to stop, I know you will be back to do this one again bro, Ill help if I can. Great to see you later the next day helping Lyn and supporting me when I went by. Thankyou so much

    

Me Jup brown, well wasn’t sure how I would go, never thinking I couldn’t but not if I could either I got lots of confidence from others and with a smile and a great fun crew we made it in 6th.

The Doctor’s and Rajat. Big thanks to you both for being there and checking us out . Glad I didn’t make any work for you. Hope you enjoyed it like we all did.

Rajat I love a dreamer and you made this one come true, AWESOME work bro.   You helped me and waited for me to sort my shit out without any pressure, I will never forget being with you and your team of amazing staff. I really enjoyed everything about India and your adventure. Thanks for your advice about sleeping and well you  just showed that anyone can do it in helping me do it. Looking forward to seeing you again soon. Thankyou

    

Back to the run now, Well from the start we headed out and it was 10kms up the Khardung village which was on the way to the top of Khardung peak 42kms from the start. It was a quite climb which was run able and we pasted some amazing views as the sun come up.

  

I had to do a couple of spins for good luck and I think it worked.  John here working hard to get the body up and moving.

  

The crew had a hard job, While yes you think only sitting in the van and waiting but it is so much more, just try and sit in a car for 60hrs, Not for me.  The boys were there for me the whole time, when ever and before I needed something they were there. I was happy to see afterwards that they had also had some fun along the way. Meeting the locals and hanging out. Thankyou so much .

 

Then from Khardung village we started to climb and with I don’t know how many zigzags we just kept going up. slowly but surely.

  

  

One of my most favourite photos, This just shows you everything about Ultra running and people. When you have something like this 222km run you first CRAZY, you meet the people A LITTLE CRAZY, their smiles, their power  and most of all their support for everyone else in the race. My great new friend Kier here giving a high five to Bill and we are only at Kilometer 10. Everyone was here together and we all wanted to see each other at the start and at the finish. Thankyou Kier for this photo. Love ya girl.

A few shots of the boys powering up the mountain.

  

A view of our camp across the valley and the valley it self. Amazing.

  

The first time I got to catch up with Mark Hinges. he left me in the dust at the start but I clawed him back or he had a big rest. hehe

  

Mark’s crew of Matt, Ellie and Katy were truely super, so so high and happy and cheering the whole way. Looking forward to seeing you guys and working with your new adventure “Summit Fever Photography”. I know you guys will do some amazing things. Your photos are AWESOME!!

My crew just chilling waiting on my fat butt to arrive.

  

  

As I got the top of Khardung La the snow was there, sun out and man was I happy to get here and feel great. It had been 42kms up from the start and my Psy trance tunes were on and pumping out some great music. I was literally dancing as I came over the top.

  

The view from the top of what we just come up.

  

The top with the team and well now maybe I could do some more running on the way down.

  

But first my lunch of Maggie noodles which will never taste as good as here.

  

Doc’s doing some check ups for oxygen levels at the top as running and attitude together is one fast way to knock you over and man it dont take long. good one minute and then down the next.

Down we went to the first check point of South Pullu which had a cut off point of 13hrs. I managed a fast time for me of 9 hrs which was way ahead of what I thought I would be  so happy as.

  

No straight lines/roads here , the zigzags as huge and it does take a long time to really get anywhere but I think if it wasn’t like this you would be stuff alot faster.

  

we went down for another 40kms into Leh where we had been staying all last week and we hit there around 7pm to have some pizza that the boys had ordered for us back up the hill. From there we headed for the first camp where you could stay to rest. I got there at the same time as Bill and I stayed there for 4 hrs and slept 3. I was ahead of my time and lots of time on the clock so went for a good sleep approach. I was up and on the road again at 1.30am to a full moon and no cars on the road. I only heard later but Kim had been hit just at the front gate to the camp by a motorbike but was still boxing on .

I soon found Lyn and Jaz on the road and they were in pain, Blisters has set in early and the girls were fighting it and powering on. I slipped past them and running well into the morning sun. As the sun rose the heat went way up, No trees for cover and a warm wind this was our next test.

  

I had boxed on and felt great and after a quick chat with Rajat to find out the course had been changed as the river had come up on the original course and flooded the road. We were now go from Karu to Upshi and then back to Karu then up some new mountain that no one knew anything about called Warila.  As I made Upshi which is at 132kms I was hungry and a little puffed you could say so decided to have a break. Mike got his needles out and went to work to help me recover, ” needles in and I almost fainted. The blood rush to my legs and while feeling great was just to much and I was lying on the ground in a second.

  

But Mike just laughed and said “your’ll be right bro” and kept going. I was too, More noodles and needles and I was up and off. feeling like a new boy again . Just about 5 kms up the road we meet up with Mark Hinges and the team again and decided to walk together as it was just to damn hot.

  

  

Like true summer loving people or a couple of gay boys we got the umbrellas out which saved us from the sun. We walked up the road  heading to the hills.

  

Just up the road from Karu we had a medical check up to see how the body’s were holding up, both sweet and feeling strong we took off again.  Nice sign this one, how did they know I was coming.

  

Now I told you the boys were working hard and having fun , well I get the message that they will be back soon and Mark’s team would watch me for a bit which was fine , to then find out the cheeky buggers had gone for a beer. Awesome Aye. To then catch up with Mark’s team and sit down and enjoy them. Just great to see and hear this. I would have done the same.

  

We would now be climbing for the next 45kms I think it was to Warila. But there was a camp 20kms from the top. As the sun was still powering down on us and lots of time on the clock we decided to wait for a hour or so til it went down so had a sleep. I was so happy to make this camp. On the way up just before the camp we meet Michael coming back down and only 15kms to the finish. He was super tired but so strong.Even stopped for a hug and to wish us luck. Another great thing about Ultra’s, there is always time to say hi to others.

  

Ellie and Katy getting more great shots. Check out Summit Fever Photography on Facebook and online  HERE

We started to climb again at 7pm and the sun going down and no clouds, With 60kms to go and 24 hrs we were in a good spot to finish well. As we went up the clouds come in a bit but I didn’t think much of it until 5kms from the top and snow starting to fall, then the sideways hail/rain with the wind I said to mark that “we should go down and wait it out”. I was more worried about instant rivers that might appear and the road getting shitty. Our vans weren’t 4wd so we had time. No need to panic, we could get some sleep and cruise home tomorrow. He agreed when the clouds below us had lighting in them. always a good sign to go down when in the mountains especially at 5000m.

The next morning after 5 hrs sleep , sun not yet but clearing nicely we drove back up to the point we stopped at last night and started again. We made the top of Warila to a little snow fall but as you can see smiles everywhere. We had all but broken this run. It was all down hill now and man I tell you a awesome feeling to be knocking on the door of 200kms and feeling great.

  

A few shots with the team and sponsors.

  

Down we went , now we were at 5000m remember so no we weren’t running. It is crazy hard to at that height.

  

Everyone happy and in need of a walk or run the crews were out too.Mike leading us . we also meet Tim who was out helping Lyn box on.

  

Kier and Tim with Craig and Lyn. Craig did a amazing job for the whole race with Lyn. Tim and Kier out of their own race but coming out to help. great to see. John Also was out helping Lyn and Jazmine so great.

Yep that smile says it all, we were running bro. yes down but running and running well.

  

Looking back up the hill as we headed for the finish.

This is Michael when he came in to win La Ultra for 2012 in a amazing time of 36hrs.  6 hours ahead of second. Yahoo!!!!  His team who worked hard to keep him going. Congratulations to you all.

  

Jazmine boxing on and also Lyn and her crew too. Those girls showed more than determination and power to finish this race.

  

OH YEAH BABY me and Mark ( gay I know) holding hands as we crossed the line in 6th equal place. I was more than happy to have finished and to do it smiling and dancing the whole way even more happy.

  

Rajat right there to greet us and give us our trophies  and medals. Our awesome crews had done it and gotten us there. Thankyou so so much to both crews.

  

I had asked Rajat for donuts along the run but he surpised me with them at the finish. So good!!!!!

I got the thumbs up from Mike who had worked magic on me and alot of the other runners over the 10 days we had been getting ready. Thanks bro. Big thanks to Michele for running and walking with me for so much of the run. Stanzin for being there every minute. he is a amazing guy who worked so hard for my every need .

  

Here is Bill who actually came in before us in 5th with his crew. What a moment that must have been for him. Congrats.

Then Jaz coming in in 9th and so strong all the way to the end. AWESOME. I are still looking for other photos of Lyn and the guys finishing. Sorry

  

A race that no one will forget, A dream of one bro, 3 years and it is getting bigger and bigger and more fun I think every year. HUGE congrats to Rajat and his team , you are doing something very special here keep going.

I finished in 56hrs 9 minutes in 6th Equal and want to send out a huge thankyou to all my sponsors and everyone who helped . yes of course there is more to come and our advenutres have only just begun. Arigatou!!!!

LA ULTRA the high is awesome!!!!!!!!!

  

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