172km circumnavigation

March 26, 2007

Rik Brezina completed the circumnavigation of Amakusa, Kyushu last Wednesday (the vernal equinox and a public holiday in Japan) in 23hours and 49 minutes. Completing at the third attempt the 172km circumnavigation in under a day.

read about it here

and his other attempts here.

Pretty extraordinary trip and compares well with some of the best kayakers in the world; I was just reading about Freya Hoffmeisters 14hour circumnavigation of the Isle of Man (117km).

I also know that this is not for me, this kind of body punishment. When I was teenager I did a lot of mountaineering and eventually got into challenge hikes that were open to youth groups, venture scouts and army cadets. The cadets always won in feats of extraordinary endurance (we never got how they could do it – it wasn’t just that they beat us but the distance that they won by) my team were placed third in two events, one I remember vividly up and down the mountains around the aptly named Rest and Be Thankful.

The mounatins there aren’t huge, Ben Arthur, Beinn an Lochain, Ben Ime etc but in winter they can be challenging. From memory the idea was you had 36 hours to climb (run) 10 peaks. There was a long list of safety stuff that you had to carry with you, the heaviest of which was 100m of climbing rope. So to cut down weight we didn’t bring any food or cooking equipment – just a box of 100 mars bars betwen 4 of us and some kendal mint cake (a kind of boiled sugar). We completed the course with about 2 hours to spare but I was nearly dead from exhaustion, could hardly stand and had lost lots of weight (couldn’t choke down any more mars bars). One of my team mates insisted we go for a bonus stage – an hours climb to a check point that would get us a time bonus. That was the worst moment of my life and I will always remember it.

After that event I retired from hard core pain, haven’t eaten a mars bar since, and I don’t want to go back.

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