How a Camping-Hating, City-Slicker Mum Survived an Ultra Endurance Race through the Amazon Jungle
The Jungle Marathon is arguably the world’s toughest endurance race. The 254km multi-stage, unsupported ultra-endurance race through the heart of the Amazon Jungle has unique challenges that no other race can provide, and testimonials from athletes who have completed it leave no doubt that the unforgiving and hostile environment of the Amazon Jungle is the ultimate endurance athletes challenge.
The route consists of river and swamp crossings in primary jungle, very steep climbs and descents, tracks through deep jungle areas where jaguars roam freely, and beautiful fluvial beaches that separate the Amazonian waters from the dense jungle canopy. The terrain is both stunningly beautiful and soul-destroying in its extremeness.
The extreme heat and humidity can have devastating effects on unacclimatized athletes and many fall victim to this every year. It’s impossible to tell who may be affected but the sure thing is that every year someone will be affected!
Amanda Barlow describes the agony and the ecstasy of her experience, as she becomes the first Australian female to have competed in the Jungle Marathon. Along with 76 competitors, from 22 different countries around the world, she leaves the comforts of home behind to spend a week racing through the deep Amazon Jungle with just a hammock and a backpack. Every day provides new challenges, unpredictable obstacles and formidable weather that will test her physical and mental resolve to their limits.
The ninth running of the Jungle Marathon would prove to be a race like no other, with a controversial finish to Stage 4 igniting a cascading sequence of events that no-one saw coming. The race director faces some tough decisions that would see her and her team working tirelessly through the night to re-route Stage 5 in an effort to protect the competitors from unpredictable dangers that were never meant to be a part of this race. The future of the Jungle Marathon hinges on the outcome of the final stages of the race and the revelations of what has transpired behind the scenes stuns the physically drained competitors, and in the next 24 hours will divide the loyalties of competitors and organisers alike. One thing is for sure – the runners who still remain in the race and cross the finish line of the 6th and final stage, will surely deserve their medal!
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