Atacama Crossing Blogs 2023

Robert Nicholson



Atacama Crossing (2023) blog posts from Robert Nicholson

26 September 2023 08:58 pm (GMT-04:00) Santiago

What an absolutely horrid day that was…
Finished 29th 
7:20:00 - around here..
Aerobic was 5
Anaerobic 2.4 (it was a total punish)
Cals 3300 
My watch battery has died so sadly last stat update
We started off on flat road for a good 6km maybe I got into a grove and was feeling good. Then we hit the dried mud which was just horrendous.. tripping everywhere, your feet sink without notice. Looked like no one was having a good time… apart from the leaders. Those guys are next level no idea how they do it. A lot of respect. 
So a lot of harsh terrain meant around 18km I listened to my legs which had been punished from the mud and just walked for basically all the rest of the day (most people did to be fair it wasn’t pleasant)
We finished we 4km of sand dunes which were a total punish
I have rolled my ankle which isn’t ideal but its ok to walk so lets see how we go. Maybe a walking day tomorrow. The sun is so insanely punishing I am going to wear long clothes tomorrow my arms and legs have taking a beating and yes mum I did apply lotion multiple times…
Burke I had you in my head from about 18km onwards and just focusing on the next checkpoint. Got it done but oh my.
I gave it my all today, I am happy with that. There is still half the race to go to so much more to come. Salt flats tomorrow… 
You can probably tell by my words I am pretty shattered so that’s all for today team. Loving the updates. 
Love to all. 

Comments: Total (5) comments

Greg Miller

Posted On: 27 Sep 2023 01:26 am

Hang in there brother. On step, one day at a time lad. X x (Imagine how bad I’d burn doing what you’re doing man!!? It’s really not for me is it…)

Matt Four

Posted On: 27 Sep 2023 01:24 am

Maaaate, all worth it for these amazing pics tho. You in action wading across water (phwoar!), the close up with your trademark look of confusion (working out weighted averages?). If nothing else they prove that you are actually there and doing it, so proud of you! Take care of that ankle xxx

Kar Seng Yee

Posted On: 27 Sep 2023 01:10 am

Sounds rough... but keep going! We are all giving you moral support (from very far away)

Andrew Corner

Posted On: 27 Sep 2023 12:53 am

sounds a tough day brother, keep strong all rooting for you!

Vatche Mundigian

Posted On: 27 Sep 2023 12:36 am

Come on Rob!!!! dig deep mate, fight the CAN do it! When it comes to my experience of ultra marathons salt flats are my fave, go and smash it(slowly and steadily). Good luck pal, are halfway now, its all downhill from now.

25 September 2023 07:38 pm (GMT-04:00) Santiago

Thank you for all of the love guys, it really does make all of this more rewarding reading the amount of support coming through. This is the toughest experience of my life but oh my its amazing.. Stephen.. too much.

Keep the support coming!! 
Finished 13th 
Distance 38.1 (I think)
Time: 5:54:22
Calls 3103
Temp 40+
Average HR 156 (not sure how reliable my HR is on my watch but I am going with how I feel and I felt good)
Aerobic 5.0
Anaerobic 1.0
Ascent 465m
Descent 707m
So after yesterday I totally changed my attack. I fully loaded on food post yesterdays race and ensured I was taking my tailwind and gels as I was going (I wasn’t making the same mistake as stage 1)
Stapes i had you in my head today and I did as we discussed, played my own game, kept the HR low and just take the wins. Today, it worked. I also had the soundtrack to mona in my head… so, take from that what you will.
I felt good the whole day which was a relief vs stage 1! Last 5km is so punishing in the heat, stage 3, 4 are longer so lets just take them as they come and the long march is going to be horrendous but we’ll deal with that Thursday.
Ok so Stage 2 was incredible, a 6km downhill to start the day is always welcome into beautiful slot canyons, we went back and forth through the stream following it all the way down. Some crossings we were waist deep in the water. This went on for 6km and it was very technical. I took advantage of this and was fast. 
This rolled into a tough climb which my legs felt strong on then we glided down sand dunes which were ALOT of fun. 
Eventually we hit the final 12km of rocks and open desert which is truly punishing, alone in my thoughts with the heat = alot of self encouragement!! But we got it done and super happy with the day. 
Lets see how I feel tomorrow…
Lets do this!

Comments: Total (29) comments

Margot Carpenter

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 11:12 pm

Woke up this morning and thought, fk I need to check on how Uncle Robsie is doing…obviously killing it! I told the kids you were running a big race and to send you a message - this what they both said. Lulu -“ you can do it, you can do it, run fast uncle rob” Otto -“go,go,go, uncle Rob” Cheering you on buddy 👊🏻

Sandra Miller

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 05:51 pm

Ah go Rob go. My motto is it’s always nice to let others win 😂 if it means so much to them. Very impressed at your bravery. (Now the mam bit). Take care son. 🍀

Millia N

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 03:06 pm

Go Rob, go Rob, go Robbb!!! You got this and we’re all there in spirit ❤️

Pally Pal Pal

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 02:48 pm

I'd say I can't believe you're actually doing this, but I can totally believe you're doing it, and totally believe you're smashing it pal (you absolute nut job!) I don't want to read anything more about you 'needing to carb load' - you've been carb loading for the last 15 years - you're quite literally built for this mate. Smash it brother. We're all with ya! x x

Jules Fyfe

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 02:06 pm

Sounds very tough, but your smashing it! Great blogs

Phil Longuet-Higgins

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 08:37 am

Incredible effort. I'll see you at the finish line, I'll be your butler any day.

Rob Kelly

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 08:15 am

Unbelievable tekkers Robsie! Push push

Hurty Arms

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 08:14 am

I am a distant memory for you now. Keep going, you complete me.

Paul White (Porky)

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 08:11 am

I hear you are doing well. I am proud of you

Lord Bolton

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 08:03 am

Keep it going Reeker, great effort..

Ming Wo

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 07:56 am

Have you got a minute for a call?

Clair Strike

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 07:06 am

Baby Brother/ Smelly Boy, You absolutely stink. Your beard will be as long as Forrest Gump’s by tomorrow and your feet look like hobbits. So proud of how well you’re doing. This is incredible. Be proud of what you’re achieving. Big love from me

Jordan Betts

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 06:13 am

BOSH!! 13TH. very niiiiiice. keep up the solid work mate. keep the updates coming.

Hugh McCormick-Houston

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 06:10 am

Hey Rob, Fantastic Effort mate. Everyone on the desk keeping up and very impressed. Some great photos already, I see a new IG post in the wind! Keep going mate!!! Hugh x

Scott Halyday

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 03:30 am

Huge stuff mate! Reading this while eating McDonald’s at the airport. You’ve motivated me to put down my 2nd quarter pounder and focus on the reserve cheeseburger only. Baby steps, but you’re inspiring me to be better. Give ‘em hell out there.

Chris Chapman

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 02:55 am

Huge stuff mate! Sounds epic, exhausting and exhilarating all in one. Hope you’re getting moments to soak it all in! Keep going mate!

Hubi Martin

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 02:35 am

Man, you're smashing this. We are having a great time following your progression. And these sceneries look incredible. Just keep going, one day at a time. You've got this!

Andy Chen

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 01:19 am

fantanstic Rob~ Rob is always the best !!! Keep it up and believe u can deliver better performace going forward

Matt Burke

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 01:04 am

Yes mate! Having a great time it seems (within context!) and well done for battling through day 2. Always the hardest to get up and go again after day 1 so now it should be a breeze! Keep up the positive vibes and you will be eating away those kms in no time. Now crack on! How are the feet holding up??

Tara Aboud

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 12:43 am

Well done Rob! I am feeling very lazy right now as I eat my fine print avo toast and sip on a coffee. Sounds like you’ve found your rhythm, keep it up! Look forward to hearing all about it!

Ben Nicholson

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 12:36 am

Amazing mate - you are flying. You’ve done the hard yards, so you’ve earned this. Inspiring. Great to see you are enjoying it!

Ash Sewell

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 12:23 am

Wow Rob this is insane! Seriously impressive. Keep going, you’ve got this. Your mate will be cheering you on up there I’m sure !! Ash, Jack and the fam

Chris Seaman

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 12:20 am

Awesome effort mate! Keep attacking. I’m sure you’ve had some great convos with the little guy in your head. You’re killing it! Loving the updates. Godspeed xox

Chris Jordan

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 12:12 am

Boom! Epic work mate… can’t believe you are actually doing this. But this is phenomenal. Keep going… Ice cold beers waiting for you back in Singapore.

david Alrich

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 11:47 pm

Go team Rob! Amazing effort in a stunning part of the world. Loving the updates - we are with you every step!


Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 11:41 pm

Well done Robsy!!! You are doing incredibly well mate, you have inspired me to go on the cross trainer at lunchtime for 20 mins. Keep going and keep that heart rate low, dont worry about positioning and get over that finish line. Well done and loving these updates. Good luck.

Oly and ara Your daughters

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 11:21 pm

Two comments from your children when I told them how well daddy did today: Oly: so he’s still running? With the chilli’s and it’s hot? (Good from her) Ara: daddy running to my house and be all sweaty? (Well… she’s not wrong, maybe add the extra 25000 km at the end home if you feel up to it.)

Andrew Corner

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 11:16 pm

cracking day mate well done! love following this from the comfort of an air conditioned room! excellent result and glad you are feeling strong. keep it up!

Rosemary Nicholson

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 08:53 pm

Wow. You’ve been outstanding. It sounds as if you’ve had an incredible day. You have brought the day to life with your words. Amazing that you’re up with the leaders. Enjoy stage 3. Looking forward to reading how it’s been for you. Go Robert Nicholson!

24 September 2023 07:31 pm (GMT-04:00) Santiago

To all my fans (Sister, wife, Matt and Ben) thanks for the messages you just made me smile on what was the hardest run of my life. Oh my. 
Let me give you the stats daily then give you the excuse’s:
Camp Rio Grade Start
Middle of the f**King desert (sorry mum)
Finished 37th (108 competitors)
Aerobic 4.2
Anaerobic 0.4 (i am very happy with this, i know you are Adam)
Average Heart Rate 150 (which is perfect)
Ascent 422m
Descent 974m
Distance 37.4km 
Time 6:14:36
Right how was the race… honestly, insanely hard?! The terrain was incredibly diverse, rocks, sand, mud which isn’t the same as our Singapore Canal runs, Matt / Ben / Amit… but simply incredible scenery and i got on with it. I was feeling good to say to was high 30s early 40s but at 29km i hit a wall, a wall I have never hit before, i am blaming jet lag, no sleep in the tent last night, the altitude and my god the heat. The last 7km was a hill and i am in a deep dark hole of pain. Many tried to help me but i told them to go on, luckily my tent mate caught up who was feeling similar so stayed with me, we stopped under a rock for 10 mins then took on the last 2km.. as soon as we got to camp and relaxed i feel great again. So I spoke to the Dr and i was well hydrated so we have decided it was the sun and i need to carb load more during the race. Let’s see how we go. 
37th, look i am happy but i know i have more in me. So i am excited to see how i go tomorrow. It was miserable watching multiple racers pace me on that last 7km…miserable! 
OK That’s it for now. 
Love to all.

Comments: Total (25) comments

Carol Henderson (Miller)

Posted On: 26 Sep 2023 05:09 pm

Rob what an incredible thing to be part of!! Will be cheering you on from sunny Sevenoaks! Lots of love, Greg’s sister Carol xxxx

Rosemary Nicholson

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 05:28 pm

Well it looks you’ve smashed it today. So unbelievably proud. I don’t know how you do it. Everyone is willing you on in their messages so you should sail through. Hopefully you’ll sleep well tonight. Love Mum xxxx

Stephen Sutorius

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 01:53 pm

Weapon mate, 37th is no short ask! Day 1 down. I’m getting a colonoscopy and gastropathy tomorrow. (Part of the 40 yo heath check). Remember when you are feeling it tomorrow , I will be getting from both ends so you will be in a much better position than me. So push on through x

Mai Y

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 12:05 pm

GO SEBBY, I mean, Go Pea! Sending you love and strength! I hope there aren’t any hungry animals out there, they would totally go for Sebby first ;) cheering you on P!


Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 09:17 am

Bob we are so proud of u!!! be safe and bring us some story when u back.

Gary Fok

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 09:11 am

Rob keep going, you can do it!!!! we are so proud of you! <3

Andrew Corner

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 09:08 am

so proud of you mate!! all rooting for you!

Sally Skeggs

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 09:03 am

Keep it up you amazing human! We are tracking you in Portugal, much love!

Andy Chen

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 08:35 am

keep it Rob~ it just the beginning, stay safe and enjoy the journey

Alex Hodgkinson

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 07:52 am

Incredible Rob! Already an absolute hero to your family, wife and two little girls, you have achieved so much today. We are in awe. Finding strength from those on the same path will carry you the next step. Take very good care on the next leg. Love Alex

Rosemary Nicholson

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 07:12 am

I've sent quite a few emails through the link over the past three days so hopefully you will get chance to read them. But in case you don't just know that we are tracking you and willing you on - I'd love to say that "we wish we were there", but I can honestly say that I am just exhausted following the route. So punishing, but I am guessing so rewarding after you finished the first stage. Absolutely brilliant - I can see that some people didn't finish and I not surprised. For you to be struggling with the heat it must have been bad. I hope Day 2 is kinder. We'll be spending the evening tracking you. Love Mum xxxxxxxx

Katrina Hodgkinson

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 06:14 am

OMG Rob - you are a LEGEND! That is an incredible story, you should be so proud, we are all very proud of you back here in our arm chairs! Good luck tomorrow!! Xx

Kar Seng Yee

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 06:13 am

How in the world did you hit a wall and still place well into the top half?? Good job and keep going!

Greg Cam

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 05:26 am

Solid! To Infinity and Beyond

Lauren Homer

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 02:41 am

Go you good thing! Day one done! We’re all behind you Rob.

Yusef Ansari

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 01:59 am

*wall again

Yusef Ansari

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 01:39 am

Awesome start Robsie, very proud of you! Keep it up and I look forward to the next blog. Remember, if you hit a walk again, you just need to summon your inner Kenneth…that is what he’s there for! Much love, amigo.

Matt Four

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 01:36 am

So you're saying you still beat 71 other people after hitting a wall and cuddling your tent mate under a rock for 10 mins? SMASHED IT BRUVA! Now... can you stop crying so I can take the piss out of you please? 😂

Rob Kelly

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 01:13 am

Amazing work Robsie! Very impressive stuff mate. Keep strong and GO GET IT!!

Jordan Betts

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 01:03 am

Awesome work mate, cracking start! one foot in front of the other. YOU CAN DO IT!!!!

Amit Shah

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 12:42 am

Solid start Stratham! All those 3km Runs with me paying out now ;) Keep strong and smash it up Forrest!

Char Nicholson

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 12:37 am

First day was always going to be the hardest. Nothing prepares you for that. Keep soaking up the energy from the people running with you and remember- ITS JUST A RACE. (I know this will make you run harder, because for you it’s not!) Hope you sleep tonight. Didn’t you request a solo cabin…. ;) We are all behind you kicking that butt up the sand dunes

Matt Burke

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 12:31 am

Yes ROBSIE!! The first day is the hardest, now you know what to expect and what it takes to get through it. Onwards and upwards from here my friend! Just break it down, 10kms at a time. Doing great, keep it up and don't worry about where you finish, the long March will take care of all that for you!! :)

Adam Govan

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 12:11 am

You are a machine pal! Doesn’t matter where you place its the fact you are doing it mate. Keep on going brother!


Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 11:45 pm

Yes Robsy!!!! well done mate, a very encouraging start. First victory to you in this war with the desert. How are you dealing with the chaffing and lack of ensuite bathrooms so far?

23 September 2023 08:10 pm (GMT-04:00) Santiago

We have arrived in the desert!!! I have set up my bed for the night and met a lot of the racers, everyone is lovely and all seem in good spirits. 
Excited to get going tomorrow, I am hearing a mix of how people are going to attack the race… my plan is a Zone 2 pace keep it steady but constant and ensure I am well hydrated. I want to save my ‘juice’ for the long march day 5… lets see. 
I am interested to see how competitive my strategy is but I am sticking to it regardless on who passes me tomorrow.. well.. I will try to. I may get a little excited.. 
My pack is 11kg without water… a bit heavier than I want but Burke convinced me to add more food so hear I am. With water I assume around 13kg. Let’s see How I am feeling post stage 1 tomorrow.
Jet lag I am hoping doesn’t get me last night was fine so lets pray I am lucky there 
We are at 3300m above sea level the altitude seems to be ok for me so far. So again lets hope. 
Toilets at camp are festival style. So I have eyed up some good looking bushes for later. 
Oh…good news is there is a heat wave in the Atacama which will be great when running at midday tomorrow.
But for now thats me team, wish me luck, lets see how we go. 
Love to all.

Comments: Total (13) comments

Roch Winton and Anavai

Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 05:22 pm

Yessssss DJ repeat! We are cheering for you from the Cook Islands. And yes. You definitely need more snacks. Always! Love you x P.s it took me 3 times to get the sliding puzzle authenticate thing....that's how exciting I am for you haha

Oli M

Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 11:30 am

Yes mate good luck ! Can wait to follow 🤙

Ray Wepener

Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 11:15 am

Good luck…! Will be following you. Enjoy a week of Expedition Foods. Make sure you get up before dawn to avoid those portaloos…

Tom Morriosn

Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 10:40 am

Go get it Robsie. Best of luck mate

Matt Burke

Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 06:40 am

Yes Robsie!! The adventure begins, such a great experience! Looking forward to hearing how it all goes and we will all be cheering you on. Look after those feet and carb load like crazy…Go you good thing x

Margot Carpenter

Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 03:42 am

Go Robsie 👊🏻 Carpos are all cheering you on x

Stephen Sutorius

Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 03:40 am

Get ‘‘em rob , bloody lucky with the heatwave, you will be used to the heat and it will wipe out your completion.

Andrew Carpenter

Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 02:46 am

Good work Roberto - get walking!

Adam Govan

Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 02:41 am

You’ve got this mate! Good luck on day 1

Ali Thurecht

Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 02:38 am

Get ‘em Bobby 💪🏽

Charlotte Nicholson

Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 02:27 am

Woohooooo! Girls say go daddy go

Danny Burke

Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 01:23 am

Best of luck out there in the heat Bobby! You've got this, don't push too hard, get used to that heat and altitude. The Yorkshire grit well get you through it. And try not think about a strawberry cheesecake haagen dazs mid afternoon 😋

Alex Hodgkinson

Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 12:49 am

We’re cheering for you Rob!

22 September 2023 02:56 pm (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London

Hey team,

So I just wanted to say I am dedicating this race to my good friend Dan, who sadly took his own life last week. I love and miss you brother. I will spend a lot of this time remembering you and smiling at the fond times we had together… although... I am still trying to forget that Macau pool party you dragged me to…


I can only hope you are resting in peace my man.

This is for you x

Comments: Total (3) comments

Chris Chapman

Posted On: 24 Sep 2023 07:19 am

Go well out there legend! Will be following this closely! Soak it up!

Ali Baxter

Posted On: 23 Sep 2023 01:49 pm

Sending you all our love Rob 💪🏽

Joe Mauko

Posted On: 23 Sep 2023 12:20 am

You got this! God bless you and your friend best wishes

09 August 2023 11:45 am (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London

Why am I here AGAIN.. the freezer door opens with ease, I lean inside knowing what I want, knowing exactly where it is. I grab it, its cold as ice, my mouth starts to melt, pupils dilate with excitement. I move back to the lounge room. Succession is on the TV, my wine glass is full, I flip open the lid.. peel back the protective cover and I am ready ‘Ben and Jerrys chunky monkey’ is staring at me. My spoon already being daggered towards to tub but then I look down and see Sebby, the nickname Mai had given to my ever a’round’ belly. I start to panic, I know where my mind is going. I aggressively drive my spoon into the tub devouring as much of the chunky delight my mouth will hold. I am having one of my moments. Its all over. I can feel a shift, I cant eat anymore. I finish off my wine, I realise its time. Sebby has been part of my life for too long. Its time for change. Its time to get running.

Comments: Total (10) comments

Terry Nicholson

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 05:19 pm

Well done son, been watching your progress through the day. I will line up a couple of tubs of ice cream when we see next week and maybe a beer !! Have a good run tomorrow. Love Dad

Mai Y

Posted On: 25 Sep 2023 12:02 pm

Hold on SEBBY

Adam Govan

Posted On: 23 Sep 2023 03:13 am

Go Roberto!

Rich Gower

Posted On: 22 Sep 2023 05:28 am

Go on boi! Singapore’s answer to Mo Farah. Very dashing picture x

Danny Burke

Posted On: 20 Sep 2023 12:07 pm

Why don't you send him a rickshaw Burkey 2? Help a pal out eh...

Charlotte Rose Nicholson

Posted On: 19 Sep 2023 11:35 pm

Well someone had to leave the ice cream for me

Matt Burke

Posted On: 13 Sep 2023 03:55 am

You are about to embark on a truly epic and life changing adventure my friend. Enjoy every minute, especially the low and painful parts (of which there will be many). They make the finish and elation at the end all the more enjoyable. Look forward to reading all your posts - Fair well and good luck!

Charlie Toller

Posted On: 12 Sep 2023 09:57 am

Go Robzy!

Katie Steyn

Posted On: 12 Sep 2023 09:35 am

Yeeeahhh Robsie!! Spoon down, knees up 💪🏻💪🏻

Tanja Volm

Posted On: 20 Aug 2023 10:46 am

Dear Robert, so funny. I am an ice cream addict as well and as soon as we are back in St. Pedro we will have a very big one! See you xxx