Welcome back from the Amazon Rainforest:
“My favourite part of the Amazon was running through the Amazonian communities and meeting the people; they were very friendly and supportive.”
Celestial Green Ventures | It has been 24 days since you returned from Brazil – how are you feeling?
Brian Lynch | I’m feeling grand! My feet aren’t sore anymore but I still have another 3-4 weeks for them to heal properly. Due to the condition of my feet I can’t run or play football, so my body is dying to break out and start again but I must rein it in for the time being. I’m spending this time planning another run around the world!
CGV | What were your impressions of the Amazon Rainforest and the Amazonian people?
Brian | The Amazon Rainforest is a truly spectacular place with beautiful white sandy beaches, dense forest and steep hills. During the race, you get to see these sights up close and personal. The terrain for the marathon was brutal but sometimes I’d stop to sit on a log (getting attacked by ants) and just marvel at its beauty: from the plants and trees to the sounds of the animals (speeding up when you hear a jaguar or wild pigs nearby) and the beauty of the butterflies. They were unbelievable.
My favourite part of the Amazon was running through the Amazonian communities and meeting the people; they were very friendly and supportive. At some basecamps, the local family would cook meals for the runners. These meals were extremely tasty to begin with but when you’re living on dried foods and energy bars, you felt like you were eating at a Michelin Star restaurant. They may not have much but they’re quite content, and really are the salt of the earth.
Challenges faced in the jungle:
“My mind raced with the worry that I was letting so many people down and had come such a long way to end up dropping out.”
CGV | Do you think that your training for the Jungle Marathon was adequate for the challenges you ultimately faced during the race?
Brian | I was in the best physical shape of my life for the Jungle Marathon and I think it was my physical condition and mental fortitude that got me across the finish line. But considering the state that my feet got into, I should have paid more attention to foot care. When training, I ran with wet feet and socks whilst carrying my backpack but maybe I should have spent more hours doing this. I’d never had blisters before so it’s possible that I took for granted that the jungle would be kind to my feet – but boy, was I wrong.
There were so many hills in the Jungle Marathon that were extremely tough and dangerous but I grew to love them. Probably due to the fact that my body enjoyed them; I do a lot of Pilates, which works on your core, so this got me through the hills!
CGV | What was the biggest challenge you faced in the jungle? Were you scared at any point?
Brian | The most daunting challenge for me was crossing the rivers as I’m not a very competent swimmer; each day it was what I dreaded most. The worst river crossing was the final day as it was a 200 m, deep water crossing.
CGV | Did you ever consider giving up during the race?
Brian | Did I ever think of giving up? The answer to this is most certainly a no but if you were to ask did I think I was going to finish? Now that’s a different kettle of fish.
By the end of day 2, my feet started to become macerated and I got very bad blisters. I was struggling to walk because of the pain. My mind raced with the worry that I was letting so many people down and had come such a long way to end up dropping out. I did this run to raise money for Laura Hickey and Laura was the number one reason why I continued. What I was going through was minute in comparison to what Laura has to deal with. She has been battling her illness on and off now for four years yet, although I’ve never met her personally, all I ever hear is positive stories about what she does while dealing with her illness.
CGV | The Jungle Marathon has been described as the “world’s toughest endurance race”, what were the main differences between this race and other races you have run in the past?
Brian | I’ve never done any other extreme race so I can’t really compare it to anything. But I’ve done marathons and it makes marathons seem like a fun run!
“I feel like something has awoken in me that is pushing me to begin something new.”
CGV | Now that you’re home, do you think that your jungle experience has changed your life in some way?
Brian | One reason I chose to do this run was my passing interest in the environment and, by doing the race and learning more about the work Celestial Green Ventures does, my interest has enhanced greatly and I think that can only be a good thing!
Coming from the jungle, I feel like something has awoken in me that is pushing me to begin something new. I have bundles of energy that I’d like to channel into something; it could be charitable work at home or abroad, or even something entirely different.
CGV | Would you do it again?
Brian | I would certainly do a Jungle Race again because it’s an unbelievably amazing experience. I wouldn’t do it in the next year or two though because I’ve caught the extreme running bug, which makes me want to experience different races around the world. I may be back, so watch this space…
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