Friday 17th March 2023

It’s really happening! I have just hit the final button on the KLM checkout page and the flight is booked. On Friday 26th May I will be heading off to Peru. I have just 10 weeks to get my body fit enough and strong enough. I need to have made all the final decisions on sleeping bag, running pack, running shoes, food, clothes and have them all delivered, tested and packed. I need to have had all my final injections. I need to have booked all other travel plans beyond arriving in Lima. And I need to have lost 10lbs in weight.

I am finally off to Peru to run the Jungle Ultra. This is a 5-day running event in the Manu National Park of Peru. Five days to run 230km through the Amazon rainforest. Starting in the Cloud Forest at nearly 3000m above sea level to ensure that we are tested at altitude before heading down into the dense jungle where there will be ups, downs, water, mud, foliage, roads and anything else the jungle can throw at us. And of course, there will be wildlife of both the animal and plant variety to contend with. The race starts on Sunday 4th June 2023, and I will be at the start line.

Many years ago, I watched a documentary about people running in the jungle and thought they were totally mad. Years after that I started running and went from 10k races to marathons to offroad ultras. Never a fast runner, but always enthusiastic. And then I heard about the Jungle Ultra in Peru. I went to Peru a couple of times in my twenties, loved it and always wanted to go back. As a runner, the mad race in the Jungle no longer seemed so mad, in fact it seemed like a really exciting thing to do. And maybe it could be a treat to myself as a 50th birthday present. So, I read everything I could about the event and tentatively broached the subject with my then quite young children and partner. Would they be ok with me going away for a few weeks without them? Finally in June 2018 I had booked my place for June 2020 and was going to Peru to race the Jungle Ultra and nothing was going to stop me… except for a worldwide covid pandemic