RacingThePlanet Blogs 2022

View All Posts 2022 From : Marco Grobbelaar

Marco Grobbelaar
Long March, Camp 5 – 6

19 August 2022 08:38 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

~Digging deep for much needed reserves

 

The previous camp (an old lumber jacks’ base) was really cosy and we were all pleasantly surprised by the RTP crew with some reindeer soup Wednesday night before the long march started yesterday, prepared by kind locals running the place. Really tasty!

 

I tried getting in some good sleep before the long day, but the excitement and stress and hundreds of questions running through your head about the right pace strategy and hydration plan to follow didn’t really allow for that.

 

It’s quite incredible what the human body is capable of. I started off yesterday’s long march in a lot of pain. My knees and ankles were both sore and a bit swollen and the long muscle running next to your shin (not sure what it’s called) also had some burning pain going. My strategy was to start off with a walk for an hour and then see if I can get jogging along.

 

The pain got worse and I ended up walking most of the 1st 40km that took me over 7hours which at least was beautiful through the forests, in between lakes & rivers and it included a river crossing on a small boat being pulled across with a rope (photos to follow after the race). I got some anti-inflammatory cream and pain killers at checkpoint 4 and I soon realized that whether I walk or jog, the pain isn’t going to subside, which puts you in an awkward situation to find that fine balance between running through it and suffer for a shorter period of time or walk more & suffer less but for a longer time. I chose the former.

 

I got my rhythm as soon as the pain killer meds kicked in and at checkpoint 5 just refilled water bottles and got hot water for my lunch which I had on the go and left checkpoint 5 in high 40’s ranking for the day. I ran probably 95% for the rest of the way and picked up my pace. It was good meeting other racers along the way and also to pass a number of them and I remember one milestone looking down at my watch having reached 60km in 10hours and thinking to myself only a half marathon distance to go! I felt exhausted and had to now dig deep for much needed reserves. (I think I found some Guiness energy left in my reserve beer tank to carry me further. ? )

 

I passed through the checkpoints, took another x2 pain killers at CP6 and soon only had 10km to go from the last checkpoint 7. I picked up the pace even more and averaged around 7min p/km for that last stretch and really gave it my all. I finished the 81.2km in 12h53min just before 9pm in 35th place for the day which put me in 36th place overall, which I’m happy with, despite the pain and having pushed through it. I take my hat off to my tent mates Sam, Gabrijel and Etan for pushing through their struggles and pain as well, well done guys, absolute legends! Some racers still came in until 8am this morning, that is some serious perseverance and will power.

 

Thank God today is a rest day before the last 11.9km, as the whole body is in pain. The camp we are currently at is absolutely stunning alongside the Luosu Lake, where we were treated to a steam & smoke sauna, cold swim in the lake, warm showers out of water buckets and access to our drop bag. You really appreciate these things after a hard & dirty 5 days behind you.

 

Thanks for all the wishes, support & comments. It really motivated me along the way. Last stretch, almost there!

Comments: Total (2) comments

Lionel Morse

Posted On: 20 Aug 2022 06:24 am

Hey bud! Goodness gracious (you can translate that into normal swearing, don't want to get banned for improper language)! This all sounds bloody hectic! Dude, you are an absolute legend! A beast among men! I take my hat and my shirt off to you; incredible!

Leon Knoesen

Posted On: 20 Aug 2022 05:52 am

My MAAT, moerse trots op jou om daai lang dag met al sy uitdagings te kon oorkom, legend!! Geniet die rus dag en bliksem sommer die laaste dag met n PB oor 10km, net so vinnig vinnig 😜!
Marco Grobbelaar
Stage 4 with the big day ahead only now in mind

17 August 2022 07:18 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

~ Slow & steady wins the stamina

 

I might have started a bit too optimistic this morning, having felt strong and running with a stronger mid-field crowd, it can only mean bad news if not used to it.

 

Flying through the 1st checkpoint of 11.8km in just over 1h20min I wanted to get the day behind me, as the majority of today’s road was pretty basic (dust road through mixed vegetation for 28.5km before turning up the Akaskero Fell to Peurakaltio) and they forecasted rain for 2pm which I wanted to avoid by arriving before that. The effect of this however was not so good, as I soon felt fatigued & dehydrated. From checkpoint 1 – 2 I ran out of water about 2km before CP2, the sun was up high, I was sweating a lot and now only walking in the dust of those a started alongside with, taking off in front of me.

 

Adjusted my pace after that and focused on the basics again: Nutrition & hydration and maintaining my own pace with a lower heart rate. Regained my energy, but my right knee started seizing up about 22km into the day (perhaps not enough joint lubrication Q20 and TLC before starting ? ) and my left achilles felt like someone was holding a blowtorch to it from about 30km into the day. I pushed through the pain with some David Goggins quotes in mind and arrived at camp at 2:10pm, 6h10min for the 40.2km and 434m elevation gain which I was very happy with. Threw my bag down and went straight to the medical tent, they advised me that it’s quite normal, due to the mileage from the past 4 days and to take some pain pills, put a cream on it and go on. Haha! I guess they see a lot worse cases than mine.

 

151.7km behind us, 98.3km to go! Tomorrow is the long march of 81.2km with 885m elevation. Going to be epic with a lot of mental and physical challenges. I could do with a cold 2M and BRAAI right now!

 

Thanks again for everyone’s support, kind wishes and for keeping me motivated.

Comments: Total (6) comments

Brendan van Zyl

Posted On: 19 Aug 2022 06:25 am

Amazing MarKo... What a champion, and in the words of David... You must callus your mind! I know that feeling of a knee seize all too well so well done for persevering and pushing through. Remember, without correct pacing, there will be no racing. Take it easy, one step at a time, it is your race and your journey. Next time you are at the medics, remember to ask them for a spoon of cement, eat that and toughen up because tomorrow is the big one then you are on the home stretch. I know you can do it, so go out there and show them what you are made of. Love you long time LEGEND!

Louis Grobbelaar

Posted On: 19 Aug 2022 05:27 am

Hey Boeta!!! Dankie vir jou mooi boodskap en wow wat n great achievement met daai lang stage. lekker rus vandag en more die laaste paar km.... What a comeback na alles wat die jaar gebeur het! Ek is so trots op jou. Baie liefde!

Leon Knoesen

Posted On: 18 Aug 2022 05:04 pm

MARCO, jou BEAUTY!!! Serious mental fortitude, to accomplish what you have thus far. Considering your injury, the little amount of training and zero elevation we have here in Beira. Making us proud, YSTER! Tomorrow is the big one, but remember slow and steady… with a lot of HYDRATION and CHOW donder!! Good luck and can’t wait to crack a cold one around the braai when you get back!

James Trollip

Posted On: 18 Aug 2022 07:09 am

Lekker MarLo! By the looks of it, you're doing much better in Lapland than on the Beira golf course... Well done, Yster! "Keep pushing on, things are gonna get better It won't take long, keep on moving to the top Keep on move it, move it Gotta keep on move it to the top Keep on pushing, pushing..." Ek sien uit daarna om weer 'n 2M saam met jou te drink!

Louis Grobbelaar

Posted On: 18 Aug 2022 06:38 am

Ah my liewe boeta! You are doing so well! Big one today. We cant weet to welcome you in Luxembourg Champ.

Rize-Mari van Zyl

Posted On: 17 Aug 2022 06:36 pm

Sounds like CHAMPION stuff Marco!! Hang tight & keep David Goggins' quotes close tomorrow too!! You've got this... I've said this before - your mental strength is admirable! You are an inspiration to us all! Lots of love and hugs..
Marco Grobbelaar
My biggest supporter and partner, thank you Jinny!

16 August 2022 10:13 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

~ If you stop, you stagnate!

 

This goes out to my gorgeous angel wife, Jinny. My rock solid support, believer in everything I do, the most consistent, humble, warm-hearted and modest person I know, whom I learn from every day and thankful for our journey together. Blessed beyond measure.

 

Just FYI, my wife Jinny doesn’t like to closely follow these events or other adventures I might take on, mostly because of worry and stress, but she is still my biggest support and motivator. The pure natural beauty of the course we did today, especially CP 1 – 2, made me miss her, think of her and it gave me strength to finish! (Louis, asb. deel dit met haar op boodskap?)

 

Day 3: Started and ended strong, feet and back taped up fresh, clean shirt, pants & socks, knees and feet quite sore, but was ready to take on anything. The weather changed to an almost opposite, it was hot as hell. I probably drank 3.5L of liquids today and stayed thirsty no matter how much I drank. Also didn’t need to go to the loo yet, so my body simply absorbed everything and sweated everything out. This made the day a bit tricky and strategic and I think counted in my favour being used to the Mozambique hot temperature and humidity.

 

The road through the forest, with balancing planks “obstacle course” to stay dry, the single- & double track roads in the woods between the lakes was truly breathtaking. I felt strong most of the day and tried to keep my mind on only reaching the next checkpoint until I could hear the drum roll at camp. I noticed the importance of never stopping. If you stop, you stagnate, and that allows your mind to justify stopping more regularly for a quick rest when it isn’t actually needed. One foot in front of the other, jog when you can or when you feel strong and walk when you can’t or when you need to recover. Don’t spend too much time refilling at checkpoints and just keep moving forward. “Fuel the machine” and “lubricate the joints” regularly. ?

 

Top 35 for today if not mistaken, took around 6h30min for +/- 39km, so hopefully finding my rhythm now.

Thank you for everyone’s emails, blog comments, love & support. You all keep me moving forward.

 

Lots of love and regards

Comments: Total (7) comments

Brendan van Zyl

Posted On: 18 Aug 2022 09:50 am

Well done Marko!!!! And a bigger well done to Jinny for sticking it out with you. You two are meant to be and compliment each other in every way. Just keep on keeping on. Almost there!

simone kiesch

Posted On: 17 Aug 2022 03:58 pm

Wishing you strong powerful legs for the long march!!!!! and a lot of fun.... tell Sam and Gabi pls. that I wish them a great time tomorrow. See you at the finish line ( pics :-))) )

Danette De Villiers

Posted On: 17 Aug 2022 10:59 am

Jy doen fantasties Marcos....VASBYT....jy is soos Troostenberg se vlakhase - aanhou en uithou.! Lief jou en ons hardloop elke tree saam net jou.

Danette De Villiers

Posted On: 17 Aug 2022 10:59 am

Jy doen fantasties Marcos....VASBYT....jy is soos Troostenberg se vlakhase - aanhou en uithou.! Lief jou en ons hardloop elke tree saam net jou.

Graeme Watson

Posted On: 17 Aug 2022 09:43 am

Keep it up, champ!

Rize-Mari van Zyl

Posted On: 17 Aug 2022 07:23 am

Fantasties, Marco!! Keep the mind strong, you are doing GREAT! Spring bietjie voor 'n kamara in :)

Ben Strooh

Posted On: 17 Aug 2022 05:34 am

Well done. Keep moving you beast.
Marco Grobbelaar
Magnet Feet & Happy 40th Birthday Louis

15 August 2022 04:23 am (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

~ Pick up your feet, son! Magnet feet.

 

Today’s effort I dedicate and nominate to celebrate my brother’s 40th birthday. He was meant to run this with me and unfortunately couldn’t make it. Geluk met jou Verjaarsdag Boet! Gedink aan jou vandag en ek mis jou hierso!

 

It went better than expected. Stage 2 – Checkpoint 1 gravel road surrounded by forests and lakes. Beautiful scenery and some time for a “recovery jog” to get the juices flowing again following the hectic 1st stage elevation. Checkpoint 1 - 2 my feet started feeling a bit heavy, almost like a magnet drawn to the ground with a few small rolling hills. I pushed to keep my nutrition up and to stay hydrated this time.

Checkpoint 2 – 3 got some energy again and felt good through the forest. Then, surprises as always, checkpoint 3 – camp: Described in the booklet as “Quiet downhill road through Mustavaara to Jeris Lake past the 200-300 year old fishing huts”, but what they didn’t mention was the 3km vertical climb before the quiet downhill starts. Photos yet to follow to understand what is meant by vertical climb, but I was basically looking for a rope to hold onto to pull myself up. Haha!

 

Jokes aside, finished strong in almost the exact same time as yesterday, but for 38.3km. Blisters hot spots starting on both feet and lower back & shoulder need some strapping from

 

The biggest surprise was this

 

Comments: Total (7) comments

Brendan van Zyl

Posted On: 18 Aug 2022 09:23 am

Super well done MarKo. Take it one day at a time, one step at a time. We are all behind you and truly believe you can do it. You can do it all night long!

Kevin Hutton

Posted On: 16 Aug 2022 07:24 am

Keep it going young man, the team here in Beira are supporting you and we all know that you can finish strong.

Louis Grobbelaar

Posted On: 16 Aug 2022 06:06 am

Dankie vir die mooi boodskap my liewe boeta! Baie trots op jou en vasby. YOU CAN DO IT!!

Lionel Morse

Posted On: 16 Aug 2022 05:01 am

Yes yster, looks like you're rocking it. Very impressive what you're doing!

Leon Knoesen

Posted On: 15 Aug 2022 04:41 pm

Well done masjien!! Can’t wait to see the pics and hear the stories when you get back!! Keep it up and know we supporting you from over here!

Rize-Mari van Zyl

Posted On: 15 Aug 2022 03:09 pm

Nice Marco! You've got this! Strap it up, rest the feet, have some good food and hydrate! The vertical climb...they didn't tell you, because who does not like surprises ;) haha! But you made it! Even thought you are 1.7km short for Louis 40th!!!! Happy Birthday Louis! Strongs for tomorrow, Marco!

Jeanne C

Posted On: 15 Aug 2022 02:06 pm

Well done on day 2! Sounds like you found your feet and rhythm. Thanks for the email! You, Sam and Gabrijel are legends. Keep it up! You guys got this!
Marco Grobbelaar
Camp 1 Arrival & Skipping Leg Day

14 August 2022 04:33 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

~Weight does matter…, and not skipping leg day!

 

Day 0, Camp 1: Arrived at base camp yesterday afternoon, had the drum roll and applause for all competitors upon arrival which was awesome as always! We were assigned to tent no. 1 (tent name “PORO”), so the racing gear check-in went quick as we went 1st. I weighed my bag in at 9.7kg, which was a 4kg improvement from the Georgia race last year, so happy days especially considering I brought some extra non-compulsory items this time. The rest of the evening (or day, as it never got dark) was great, sitting by camp fires, making new friends and laughing at some gear check-in stories.

 

Day 1: The race started at 8am LT. Carlos (the Spanish gentleman who marks the course layout and chooses the obstacles) wasn’t joking yesterday at pre-briefing when he enlightened us about a little surprise at stage 1, kilometer 1! A river crossing, with a very narrow, slippery balancing walking plank about 30cm underwater, cost many falling in either up to their waist or even shoulders with full kit on! I almost took a tumble, but luckily had my trekking poles to get a grip.

 

The race further was a difficult one for me, between km-7 to km-20, it was a steep elevation of about 600m in the mountains and I hit a solid brick “runners wall” at km-15. Out of breath and zero energy, I had to stop for a min to rehydrate, eat some snacks and gain my strength again. FYI when your feet is wet and it’s cold outside, it’s difficult to stay hydrated and control your calorie intake, because you never feel thirsty or hungry. Lesson learnt, mental note taken! Beira back home is also not an easy city to train at altitude for, so my legs felt it.

 

Unfortunately I cannot share photos from the Cyber Tent blogging and I cannot describe how beautiful the scenery was! I finished my 33.8km in just under 6 hours. Happy to be at Camp 2! Thank you for everyone’s support, love and comments!

Comments: Total (5) comments

Brendan van Zyl

Posted On: 18 Aug 2022 09:20 am

Well done on making it through though MG. Never skip leg day, and tell those hills, jou se ma se front squat!

Jeanne C

Posted On: 15 Aug 2022 07:11 am

Nice on Marco! Good to see Carlos is still keeping things interesting! Well done on slimming down the pack! Good luck on day 2!

simone kiesch

Posted On: 14 Aug 2022 05:23 pm

great job Marco!!!! I see Carlo went again for some river crossing !!!! Hope your feet are still fine!!!!

simone kiesch

Posted On: 14 Aug 2022 05:23 pm

great job Marco!!!! I see Carlo went again for some river crossing !!!! Hope your feet are still fine!!!!

Waldo De Bruin

Posted On: 14 Aug 2022 02:08 pm

You are a massive inspiration Marco. Know you will do great in the race. GO BIG and know that we support you every step of the way.
Marco Grobbelaar
Helsinki - Rovaniemi: Going Up The Country

13 August 2022 07:53 am (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

~Guiness carbo loading before a race is important!

For yesterday's train trip, the following song came to mind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQMA_noRYQ , but I also introduced my fellow tent & travel mates to some South African rap music, Jack Parow.

It was quite a stressful morning to start off with, as I couldn't get an Uber or alternative taxi that early in the morning (for some reason the Finnish seem to be late risers in the summer in Helsinki) to get me to the train station, so I had to run with my luggage and made it it there with about 15min to spare. Gabrijel even offered over a phone call to run back and help me carry my bags or to stall the train driver, legendary!

The 8 hour train ride was very scenic and comfortable, not like anything I've seen in Africa. I was super impressed, especially with the restaurant right below us, fully stocked with anything you can possibly need (...). Arrived in Rovaniemi around 16:50h, a little bit colder I must admit, dropped off our bags and headed straight for a proper carbo loading session. In Mozambique we have this saying "Arriverings Aggressie" (arrival aggression) when you tend to go slightly overboard from excitement. Besides, who can say no for a full cream Guiness on tap, pint or two? Nothing beats that!

Also met Michael Murphy, the videographer, in the lobby on our way in. Pleasant guy full of interesting adventure stories. I'm sure he's going to have a few more to add after this week.

Check-out time now and almost heading to Camp 1 which is about 3.5 hours drive away. Wish us luck, you'll be hearing from us in the coming days. PS, thanks for all the love and support!

Comments: Total (1) comments

Brendan van Zyl

Posted On: 18 Aug 2022 09:19 am

In the words of Jack, Jy dink jy's cooler ikki, maar hosh tokolosh jy moet eers dans dans dans terwyl jy wag tussen stasies. With all that is going on leading up, know that us sitting on this side of the fence truly MISS YOU and know you can do it!
Marco Grobbelaar
TETRIS - Everything Has To Fit!

11 August 2022 04:12 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

~Fond childhood memories!

Packing for such a race can be stressful, but it's very much like the TV game "Tetris" we used to play as kids. Somehow you always manage to fit everything in and make space for "just one more item" (similar to an African taxi, always have space for one more passenger/goat/chicken). If only these Tetris puzzle blocks were as light as plastic instead of concrete building bricks, it would feel better.

The RTP checklist helps, but somehow it always feels that you are still forgetting something, even after repacking numerous times. As true as hell, Mr. 99 here as per usual, after further investigation pending 2 x safety pins; 2 x pair of warm socks for the drop bag and finally some Expedition Foods + salt tabs (which Riitta and Zeana - bless their soul and patience, accepted to receive on my behalf in Finland with my online order).

My rookie bag at Georgia last year weighed-in at >12kg before adding water, which I promised myself will never happen again, as my toothpick legs almost didn't make it up the hills on Day 1. Fool me once, so let's see what I weigh-in at this time 'round.

Other than that, myself, Sam, Gabrijel and Etan are catching the train tomorrow at 08:24am from Helsinki - Rovaniemi. Now it's oficially a party, all systems go!

Comments: Total (3) comments

Brendan van Zyl

Posted On: 18 Aug 2022 09:14 am

Well done on making it to the starting line and getting it all in. You made a great transition from Wednesday legs to Thursday legs. While running you wonder Wednesday gonna break, only to find out Thursday bend, then they break. Good thing you are unbreakable and am going kill this challenge. Just keep calm, and simply carry on.

Rize-Mari Van Zyl

Posted On: 12 Aug 2022 04:09 pm

Living is like playing tetris... When you fit in, you dissappear. 😜. Go and make your mark!!!

Louis Grobbelaar

Posted On: 11 Aug 2022 01:51 pm

Awesome Marco!!! Make us proud!! you can do it.
Marco Grobbelaar
Forever Optimistic - Slow Start

09 August 2022 01:35 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

Your circumstances shouldn't define you.

So, this year for me started on an emotional and physically challenging roller coaster ride. I had a freak accident in mid-January on the golf course of all places, in Beira Mozambique where I live (yeah, who knew golf could be an extreme high-risk sport, right!?), whereby I fractured my ankle.

This brought my training from a "being very productive and active" to a "complete halt". With Racing The Planet - Lapland on the cards, it also brougt some uncertainty to whether I'll recover in time to get enough training in to still participate. Then as if that wasn't enough, to top it off almost a month later I developed a pulmonary embolism on my lungs which most probably in my opinion was caused from the fracture with poor & limited medical treatment which I had access to in Beira. The pain when inhaling was so unbearable, even after a Morphine shot & blood-thinning meds, that I had to be medevaced midnight hours from Beira and taken to a proper hospital in Johannesburg, where I spent almost a week to recover & get back on my crutches.

Nonetheless, 6 months down the line - after more hurdles to even get my Schengen visa from where I live, slowly working my way back to normal, I'm in Finland and counting down the days to start the race. Things could have been better for me in 2022, but hey, things could have been a lot worse also! Let's going forward only focus on the positives:

I am truly blessed, beyond measure, to be able to participate in such an amazing race, more than a race, to reunite with fellow racers from last year and meet new ones. It's going to be absolutely epic!

Comments: Total (5) comments

Brendan van Zyl

Posted On: 18 Aug 2022 09:10 am

MarKo jou YSTER. You are such an amazing person and inspiration to those around you. Even though there were some challenges and PPP moments, I know you are going to nail racing the planet this year. All the best and remember when times get tough, gryp hom om die nek, gee hom een met die kop en se GOED EN JY!!

Le Roux ( Njaf) Arnold

Posted On: 18 Aug 2022 06:19 am

Well done Marcolini, making us proud! Keep going 💪

Willie Prinsloo

Posted On: 11 Aug 2022 08:21 pm

Marco is a madman but an yster. He cant even play a round of golf but watch him finish this race in style .. Go big YSTER

Rize-Mari Van Zyl

Posted On: 10 Aug 2022 08:13 pm

Marco, an absolute legend! 2022 started a bit bumpy, but your memtal strength and strong-willed nature is admirable. You are an inspiration! Go out there and embrace every step nature has to offer! We are all cheering for you...

TY Koh

Posted On: 10 Aug 2022 09:03 am

Wow. you are amazing! Looking forward to getting to know you on the race course!