Jungle Ultra – Here we come
With less than a week to go before I get on the plane to South America, I thought I’d give you a quick rundown on what my next adventure looks like and how you can follow me and the Running for Rangers team.
I spent the weekend getting the final items needed for the race and doing a run with all my gear. Including water, my pack is sitting at about ten kilogrammes, which I’m pretty happy with. I need to add a bit more food, but aside from that, I should have everything I need to survive six days deep in the Amazon Jungle. Hopefully!
The Jungle Ultra is an extreme ultra-distance footrace set in the Jungles of Peru. The 230km race distance is split into five stages, with a maximum number of six days to complete the race (I will definitely be taking advantage of this extra day!). Just like the Marathon des Sables there are checkpoints along the way with water located at each one. The terrain includes long river swims, zip lining over rivers, swamp crossings, hills and beaches, with temperatures ranging from 10 – 35°C with a humidity level of almost 100%. I have never experienced anything like this before, so I’m just going to take it as it comes, and hope someone is standing close by to remove any unwanted creatures!
This is how the race is going to unfold –
4th June – We leave Cusco and head for Base Camp, which is located in the Cloud Forest, where we sleep in tents already set up for us. We are fully self-sufficient from this day on!
5th June Stage 1: Cloud 9, 38km – We descend from 9,000ft through the Cloud Forest to approximately 3,500ft and checkpoint 1. We then climb 1,000ft to reach the mountain road where we will descend all the way down into the Amazon basin with waterfalls and tunnels and beautiful vistas, reaching camp for the night overlooking the Amazon. (wow)
6th June Stage 2: Amazonia, 34km – Leaving camp we experience our first taste of the Amazon Rainforest, using little known or used trails to climb and descend our way through the thick vegetation. This forest is home to Jaguars (omg), monkeys, tapirs, parrots, macaws and peccary to name a few of the species we may encounter along the way.
7th June Stage 3: Logging, 30km – Leaving camp we run along a creek for around four kilometres, before crossing a river and running along tough logging roads, which this stage has been named after. We will then enter primary Amazon Rainforest along undulating trails until we reach camp for the night.
8th June Stage 4: The Lull, 36km – Leaving camp and the rainforest, we cross rivers and creeks and tough terrain with extreme inclines and declines. Apparently this will be our toughest day so far.
9th June Stage 5: The Long One, 92km – This stage can be done in one or two days, depending if we make the cut-off point in time (I’m thinking maybe not). This is due to competitor safety while running in the dark, where there are possibilities of us encountering hunting tribes, Jaguar and Black Caiman and who knows what else that could be lurking in the shadows. For those who make it through on time, the finish line awaits in the town of Pilcopata, and for those who don’t, another night in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest.
10th June Stage 5 continued – The day starts at 5am, with this day being the very last stage left to get to the finish (and hopefully a beer!).
11th June – We head back to Cuzco and a comfy bed. I’m sure there will be a small celebration and one or two Peruvian Pisco Sours. And if the MdS last year is anything to go by, the international competitors will be given first-hand instructions on how to shear a sheep! (Just keeping the Kiwi jokes alive).
I plan on taking a camera and hope I can capture the adventure along the way. Jacqs and I have decided to run together again, well she has decided to run with me! I know I will slow her down (are tow ropes allowed?!) but we have decided we are here for an epic adventure, fun, laughter and being able to share this together will make it so much more enjoyable. But most likely we will just freak each other out with imaginary sights and sounds! And from previous experiences I know I can out-sprint Jacq over the first 50 metres too… (or the length of a bridge!)
I just can’t wait. Get me on that plane. One year of planning and now less than one week to go. We have three days in Santiago followed by a week in Cusco before the race starts, then after the race, we have three epic weeks touring around the rest of Peru, Bolivia and across the Atacama Desert before finishing in Santiago again. OFF. THE. CHARTS.
I’ll be on social media up until the race, and the Beyond the Ultimate race organisers have very kindly offered to update the Running for Rangers Facebook page, so make sure you are following that if you want to stay in the loop, as well as their own page. My main forms of social media will be Snapchat – holliedwood, Instagram – @holliewoodhouse and Facebook – The Adventurous Kiwi.
If you’ve got a spare 50 minutes or so (in the car maybe?), then take a listen to this podcast where the amazing Bevan James Eyles interviews me. Excuse the loud laugh (or just laugh along) and the part where I forget the quote (idiot!), I meant to say this, “Sometimes when we feel we are making the least amount of progress, we are actually making the most.” Thanks Bevan, and if you haven’t come across his podcast called Fitness Behaviour before, make sure you subscribe on iTunes, they are so great and inspiring!
Say Yes to Adventure Volume Five is whizzing its way through the printing press as we speak, due on sale on May 30. Is it possible to love a magazine? Because that’s exactly how I feel about this next volume; the cover, the stories, the images. It’s amazing. Thank you to everyone who contributes and to those who purchase it. Pre-order yours now to receive it before everyone else does! http://www.sytamagazine.com
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent van Gogh