For Rangers Ultra – Day 3 (see day 2 blog)
We rise before dawn and head for breakfast. We’re expecting the bus to pick us up at 7.45. It’s now 6.45 so there’s plenty of time. When I get to the canteen word starts to spread that the bus drivers have changed the plan and they are here already. Check out isn’t open yet: about 30 people need to settle their bill and that may take a while.
Once everything is worked out we’re 30 minutes behind time and need to head for another hotel to pick up the rest of the team. We have the notorious Nairobi traffic to contend with. Eventually we get to the Weston hotel to pick up the rest of the runners and staff and for the first time, the whole squad is together, almost. We still need to meet Bryan along the route to collect the costume.
We get to the pickup point for Bryan and the runners get to see the rhino costume, many for the first time, they are amazed that the group will carry an extra load through already tough terrain. Curiosity rises and we keep an eye out for runners who may want to take the costume for a leg. We get a lovely surprise when we see a rhino in the foyer with our logo on.
I have the pleasure of sharing my area of the bus with Carsten Dane – known as the running viking, Nick Scot from Edinburgh, Rohan Kiwi now based in London and Bryan who we’ve just picked up. Bryan grew up here in Kenya and he knows the area well. As as we drive for Nanyuki, Bryan acts as tour guide. We start to learn A LOT about this fantastic country.
When we get into Nanyuki we stop for last minute supplies and at the last opportunity we pull into a shopping mall with a KFC – about 30 of the runners make a dash to get their final fuel top-up. We’ve come halfway around the world and they get something they can eat at home. I and some others head for the supermarket to look for some local produce. I decide to go for a juicy fresh mango – two actually one for now and one for during the race – it’s my luxury item.
We arrive at the gates of Lewa and the bus falls silent with anticipation. Through the gate, we spot buffalo, impala and zebra. 10 minutes of bumpy track later and we roll into base camp. It’s a beautiful square fence lined paddock with three large tents for all the runners, five smaller ones for staff and medics – all donated by the British army. Our flags are fluttering in the wind and we have zebra and impala on the edge of camp.
As we’re delayed and have only a few hours til dark we get straight into the briefing and kit checks.
When all the admin is done the runners get some freeze-dried food into them and wonder to the edge of camp to see what Lewa has to offer.
We didn’t get as much time in camp to enjoy ourselves but we have five more days to make up for it. Based on today’s events, it will be great.