Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Marathon , the Mountain and the End

After coming under increasing Add Imagepressure to complete my blog and my web updates I have decided that today I'll do just this the last two heard from me I was 5 km outside of Moshi waiting patiently for Friday the 25th of February so that I could run into town and register for the marathon.

At 11:30 in the morning amidst much excitement a camera crew arrived at the guest house where I was staying and we set off on a 5 km sprint from atop the heel down to the Keys Hotel close quite extraordinary experience really emotional time. Anyway I got there and was met by the rapturous applause of a group of American tourists as well as a couple of South Africans and people from the hotel. I was escorted to the 42 km Kilimanjaro marathon registration table we under the gearing lights of the camera as well as a few local journalists I signed in for the marathon .

For the next few days I was treated like a bit of a celebrity by hotel staff guests and crew from the Kilimanjaro marathon. The morning of Sunday the 27th we headed down to the stadium lined up for the marathon and settle for 42 km run around town of Moshi. It was an awesome marathon course was fairly easy up and down in the beginning and end 10 km up the hill and 10 km back down again I enjoyed all the way. For the first six and 7 km of the race I ran together with a group of five or six South Africans from all different regions of South Africa are after that , a chap from Durban ,Matthew Fitsimmons ,and I went ahead as we shared a common pace and seemed to find each other's company fairly comfortable, and we stuck together until about the 26 km mark at which point I decided to go ahead as a was feeling pretty good. It was easy going , a great run and we had little runners from the villages in jeans and slops managing to keep pace with us for extended periods of time . After four hours and 7 min later I crossed the finish , this was an exceptionally thrilling moment for me as I was now officially finished all running duties of my Cape Agulhas to Kilimanjaro solo run.

The celebrations at the Keys hotel with John and the guys from wild frontiers went on for most of the afternoon until people started falling into the swimming pool not of the own accord more because of the Kilimanjaro lager that had been consumed. On Monday I headed back to Arusha ,with John and Debbie from wild frontiers, to attend a cocktail party which was to be hosted by the Minister of tourism from Tanzania. Everyone was wearing three-piece suits but not us we had our jeans T-shirts and sandals . We were all given Massai blankets which now meant that my collection of Massai blankets had grown to 4.

The following day I headed out to the tanzanite one mine where I was in a spend the next three nights and rest up before Steve arrived and we could climb the mountain together. The stay at the mine was a fascinating experience. Doug and Anton organised the trip down the shaft for me to about 400 m below ground level which was the first time I've ever been down a mine in my life the heat and humidity was something I had not anticipated and it was very exciting guys who work there everyday have to be admired. Tanzanite is extremely labour-intensive to my a each and every crystal has to be dug out and carried to the surface by hand. I cause a bit of consternation underground when I was shown three pieces of Tanzanite ,that were being carefully guarded by the two Nepalese security guards , well I dropped them but the Nepalese security men was as quick as a hawk and managed to find all three pieces amongst the dirt on the floor within a few seconds.

Eventually Friday arrived and I headed back to the keys hotel to await the arrival of Steve. He eventually arrived at seven o'clock evening and we spent most of the evening having a couple of beers and preparing I equipment for the climate would start the next day it was awesome to see him.

Early the next morning were introduced to Arnold and Dennis who were to be our guides for the climb up Kilimanjaro. He Machame route was our route of choice. Fortunately my lack of equipment was not a problem because Steffanuti Stocks had purchased me a really warm jacket as well as a pair of mountain boots.

The actual climb was not really a climate or more of a tek up the mountain, and the main concern of the guide was that we do not go to quickly as this would result in altitude sickness. Needless to say at the end of day one I was instructed by our guide alarm should now stay behind him at all times as he felt that our pace to the first nights camp had been a little bit quick.

Neither Steve or myself seem to suffer from any effects of altitude gain besides a minor headache which Steve got on at the third day . On the day before we were to summit we came across a group of Americans and this proved to be rather amusing meeting we introduced ourselves as coming from Capetown and Johannesburg in South Africa and two of them introduced themselves as coming from California and San Diego. On hearing that we were from South Africa one of the Americans commented "you guys heard their is some crazy South African on the mountain who ran all the way here from South Africa". Both Stephen I had a good laugh and I owned up to being the crazy South African .

That night we woke at mid night got into our warmest clothes and headed for the summit. We expected the trek to take about six or seven hours. It was bitterly cold and the wind made it even colder but after shold to do so we eventually gained the summit the sun was not fully up to everything was quite dark and it was absolutely freezing we managed to get a good picture of Steve and of the guide and the signboard and I think of everything else that was photographed double but nothing of myself. The pictures that were supposed to been taken of me by the guide turned out just to be the letters O S and U from a banner we were holding because he had managed to find the zoom button instead of the take picture button.

The last hundred and 50 m to the top seem to have put Stephen a bit of pressure so when we arrived back at base camp we decided to have a rest for an hour or so before starting our descent. The plan was to descend for about 3 1/2 hours set up camp spend the night and then complete the descent the following morning. Well that ever happened. Once we start once we started our descent we realised that the opportunity of spending a night in a good bed with a warm shower was within our grasp so we told our guide that we would no longer be using the file nights camping facilities because we were intending to go all the way down in one shot. Arnold , who was fairly used our quirkiness by now agreed that this would be a good idea and that we could probably be of the mountain by 3:30 in the afternoon.

On arrival back the keys hotel we decided to celebrate and Cecilia had numerous beers and I made my acquaintance with Jack Daniels again. We shared my stories with other people who had finished the climb . It was an absolutely wonderful experience to have been to the summit of the highest freestanding mountain in the world and the highest peak in Africa with my brother.

And that brings to an end my solo adventure across the southern part of effort from Cape Agulhas to Kilimanjaro . Now it was time to get back to South Africa to see my family .

On arrival back in Capetown I was met at the airport by Richard James and Samantha as well as a large group of friends and co-workers it was magnificent to finally be home .

uffling on for six hours without stopping as it was too c

I would like to thank everybody who supported and followed me on this journey as well as all of those who pledged and donated to the charity's. thank you