Posted by: Richard Bray | October 6, 2010

Day 4 – The Toughest Day So Far.

After a good day yesterday I was feeling strong going to bed however, I was not as mentally prepared for the day as I could have been. The so-called filler day between the long day and the second longest day – I thought it was going to be easier. I was wrong!!

I went to bed around 7pm like normal after downing my calories all afternoon. My IT band has flared up which is not a good sign. I’m trying to stretch it but it’s hard as it has taken a real pounding from the soft sand km’s. Otherwise I’m good – pretty damn smelly but hey you get that after not showering for 5 days and running marathons in the heat. That first shower is going to be heaven.

We started  today like every other day – 4:30 wake up for race prep and food. Today we had an amazing sunrise – see above. We set off again at 6:30 for a day that was rated “moderate” it was far from moderate! By 9am the sun was high in the sky and with no wind, I really  struggled with the heat. It’s the first  day I had run out of water  – boy did I struggle. My hands started to tingle and I got a little dizzy and we were only part way through section 2! The second checkpoint was a welcome relief. Right before we headed back into the dunes. The part I have come to love the most.

The dunes spread out the field and allow a little relief as almost everyone is having to walk up them so the pace is relatively the same. The flats can get very boring and the slow plodders do well. Not the most exciting part of the desert! another welcome relief at this point in the race was to see one of my tent mates Matt who was having a tough day. He has been doing amazingly well all week and today got on top of him. Good for me as I now had a running partner. It was necessary for both of us as we both were struggling to get the distance done today.We battled through the sand trying to run for 5 flags and then walk for 2 flags. We needed to keep moving to ensure we kept our position. The strategy worked – we kept pushing through the heat which was well into the 40’s and through the soft sand which tires your legs like you wouldn’t believe. Sneakily the organisers had hidden the campsite over a dune and around a mountain so when it looked like there was nothing in sight we turned the corner and gladly rolled into camp.

Another top 20 finish – how will I stack up tomorrow. The true test. Will the IT band hold out? Will my blistered toes win and push me down the leaderboard? There is talk of a staggered start which means the top 20 will go off later than the rest. I hope we do get staggered. Nothing like picking people off to boost your motivation for the day.

So everyone must be wondering what’s it like to run this distance in this heat. Let me try to describe it for you as best as possible. Put a sand box in a sauna and do laps for 6 hours non stop. When you are done – lie down and try to get some sleep then get up in the morning and do it again. Seriously – the heat is off  the charts. Dangerously off the charts… things can turn bad very quickly. A lot of people have dropped out already. Some experienced ultra runners too.

All for now… thanks again to everyone for your warm messages. It means a lot at a tough time like this.



  1. Hi Babe,
    I have been sending you emails over the last couple of days and from your email today i’m not sure if you are receiving them, so just by chance if you read this i have received all your emails. I am so bloody proud of you and you are a complete inspiration not only to our friends but also to me. You achieve excellence in everything you do. I love you so much and i am missing you like mad. I think you deserve to be waited on hand a foot! Good luck for the big day tomorrow darling. Keep strong, i know today was tough for you but just think this is really your last day. Go for it babe and enjoy. Sending my angels to look after you. I love you more than anything. See you at the finish line Mr Bray xxx

  2. Looks like you are going like amazing. You are a nutter! Keep it up pal. Think of all those chompers you can work after the race. I look forward to some tri work with you. You will be in a different league after knocking this off. Keep at it.

    • Thanks mate. Appreciate the message and support. It was one epic race. Def keen for some tri action. Plenty of great races out there.

  3. Hey mate,
    Not just your family are proud of you, Words cannot describe how proud we are you as a New Zealander and as a person. I have told Guys at work about your Hell test. They cannot also beleive what you are doing and keep asking me how you are getting on. I hope you get this befor the big Day. Mate you are an inspiration to us lasy barstards back home. All I ask you do do is listern to your body. We are so proud of what you have done so far.
    Hey when things get hard out there, just keep thinking of Emma, Alisha and Leo. They will help you through. I know when things get a little hard for me, I think of the kids and the spirts lift. We are thinking of you.
    Good luck. I know you don’t need it, but have it anyway.
    Go Kiwi!

    • Hey Paul. Thanks for the message mate. Really appreciate it. Hell test is one way of putting it. 48 degrees on the hottest day… I doubt hell gets much hotter than that. It’s amazing what the body can do when you push it. I think I’ll give it a break now it’s all over and have a few beers. It’s been 3 months since I did that! Looking forward to catching up with you Steph and the kids when we come back next year.

  4. Hi Rich,
    You are doing really well, top 20 again and against the odds! We can only imagine how hard this is.
    We know you will get through tomorrow and then it’s all downhill?
    Best wishes
    R & B

  5. Mate, you should be so proud of your efforts. I am very envious of what you are doing and cant wait to catch up to hear the war stories. Keep strong mr Bray, keep it real and you will blast through the final stages. All the best buddy, FTT.

    • Frankie boy. Thanks for the message. Really appreciate it. You were missed. This challenge dates back to the Frank and Rick training days which I miss. Get back on the treadmill mate… I hear there are some great races over in Hong Kong. Really keen to catch up with you very soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: