GETTING OVER VIRAL MENINGITIS, AND THE RYDER CUP RUN

This time last week, I was in hospital hooked up to a drip.  A lumbar puncture had shown there were either bacteria or viruses in the membranes that line my brain and spinal canal.  I had a high fever, a massive headache, and quite a stiff neck and back.  Fortunately I received outstanding care from the team in A+E, in medical receiving, and a clear diagnosis of Enterovirus Meningitis was made.

A week on, my headache is a little more than a tickle, and I feel profoundly tired, but am getting a tonne better each day.  I’m fully back to work, and have the energy to do normal stuff with my family and kids. However I will need to get better fast to take on the Ryder Cup Run, with over a marathon a day, and a lot of golf in less than 3 weeks.

My good friend Paul Dunstan and I will team up to run from Wentworth Club, England – the home of Ryder Cup Europe – to the host venue of The 2018 Ryder Cup- Le Golf National in France while taking on various golfing challenges each day, including the British Speedgolf Open, GolfSixes, and a final round of 18 holes at Le Golf National’s famous course upon reaching their final destination.

We’ll be doing this to raise money and awareness for “Golf In Society” https://golfinsociety.com/about/ , enabling people with dementia and other medical conditions to continue to play the game, and also to promote the value of exercise in the great outdoors.  Now I’m over the worst of the meningitis, I’ll lace up the Merrell’s and get out there and train.  Hopefully I can be fit in time.

I also wanted to say thanks a tonne for the wonderful messages of love and support for Jennie, Nina, baby Fran and I while I was in hospital.  Each one is hugely appreciated.

If you are reading this, and have got a few quid you can share, to support the run, and Golf in Society, we’d be incredibly grateful, the link is below- and feel free to share the great work they are doing

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/GolfAndMentalHealth

ANDES TO AMAZON ATTEMPT GOES WRONG!

Mt Cotopaxi

What Mt Cotopaxi did not look like.

Despite giving it my all, I was a million miles from completing Andes to Amazon today. Andes to Amazon was possible, but it required everything to go right, and that is what I enjoy about the endurance challenges I have taken on – the excitement of not knowing whether you will get the job done, or whether the result is being taught a lesson.

The plan was to climb 5,987 metre Mt Cotopaxi and then run to the Amazon basin. I did neither properly. Due to restricted holidays I had not allowed any contingency days for the climb, and looking at the mountain from 3,800 metres it was clear the shift on the hill would be tricky. Dark cloud domed Mt Cotopaxi, whilst wind clouds flew past above the volcano. Given the crevasses and route finding difficulties we had hired a local guide. At 5,650 metres with zero visibility and massive winds in places he advised us that getting to the summit safely was not possible, and we turned back.

I had begun not to feel well on Cotopaxi, but thought it may be the altitude. However at 4,500 metres on the way down I started to get stomach cramps, and the urge to find some toilet roll. Running 50 km at altitude, running off into the bushes every couple of kilometres was something I was dealing with, but I just could not keep any food or fluid down and became dehydrated and had the head spins. Although the volcano and most of the very high altitude was behind me I was in no fit state to run another 100 odd kilometres.

I always learn more from when things do not go right then when they do. This is the first major challenge that has totally got the better of me, and the key lessons are:

1) Build in some weather contingency in the big hills, and if time does not permit this take on a different challenge

2) Although I was being deliberately vigilant in avoiding dodgy food, I clearly was not thorough enough

So Ecuador is an incredible country and Andes to Amazon is I think possible. Their pharmacists are very helpful as I have found out tonight. A lot of my friends have been incredibly helpful in setting the expedition up, with Donnie joining me on the mountain, and acquiring the Imodium. Arnaud Le Maire as ever does a fantastic job sorting my website, while Ross Lawrie helped sort updates where internet was non-existent. A huge thanks also to Merrell UK for proving top quality kit and for their support.

I will leave Ecuador frustrated but wiser. Although I had run days on Scotland 2 Sahara with a stomach bug, running 50km is very different to 100 miles at altitude with a stomach bug. Although I feel terrible and ill tonight, hopefully tomorrow is a new day.

Andrew

RUNNING THE ANDES TO AMAZON IN A DAY – LEAVE TODAY

The actively volcanic Cotopaxi on a rare clear day

The actively volcanic Cotopaxi on a rare clear day

So I am off to the airport, for the next major adventure. The vistas do not get more varied than this in 24 hours- the high crevasse riddled Andes, followed by extremely undulating terrain before hitting the Amazon basin. Below is the press release from Brand Nation.

I need to learn to tie my shoelaces

I need to learn to tie my shoelaces

The expedition can be followed on www.docandrewmurray.com, on twitter at @docandrewmurray or on my Facebook page DocAndrewMurray with live updates en route by the trust Donnie Campbell who will also do the first part of the challenge.

Brand Nation

Ultra-marathon man to run from Andes to the Amazon in a day

Ultra Runner and Merrell ambassador Dr Andrew Murray, whose previous conquests include completing a remarkable 2,559 mile run from Scotland to the Sahara Desert, a 7hr run up Mt Kilimanjaro and race wins in some of the most spectacular and hostile locations on Earth has earmarked his upcoming Andes to Amazon challenge as his hardest to date. The challenge commences on June 14, 2014.

Training in Edinburgh

Training in Edinburgh

South America is a continent of natural extremes, with the two best known natural features being the spectacular Andes mountains and the immense ecosystems of the Amazon jungle. On the day England kick off their football World Cup campaign in the heat and humidity of the amazon city of Maunas, the Scottish International distance runner will run for more than 100 miles through first sub-zero temperatures then the searing heat to reach the Amazon Basin. Murray will first climb the crevasse riddled Mt Cotopaxi (5,897metres), before running the undulating ‘Avenue of the Volcanoes’ which includes Mt Tungurahua one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, then descending onto the Pastaza river, which feeds the mighty Amazon.

Murray, 33 from Edinburgh said “the landscape and wildlife are utterly amazing. The major difficulties are having to run about 100 very hilly miles at pretty significant altitude, having just climbed a mountain higher than anything in Europe. I ran Mt Kilimanjaro last year and Cotopaxi is a little higher and is covered in snow and ice so I’d anticipate being tired even before getting off the mountain. Once off the top of the mountain it is anyone’s guess how long it will take to reach the jungle, but I would be delighted with 24 hours.

Actually as a doctor with the SportScotland Institute of Sport I’m aware that altitude, heat and humidity are usually the enemy of the long distance runner, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty sympathy for the English Football team who will be running around in the Amazon jungle on the same day. But I have been kitted out with the gear that will help minimise the effects of the heat, and it would not be a challenge unless it was harder than what I have done before.”

Dr Murray hopes to raise awareness of the benefits of exercise through this epic, saying: “As a GP I know that taking regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself. If everyone did 30 minutes of walking, or any other form of exercise a day, stats show it would increase national happiness. Even this amount of exercise increases life expectancy by 7 years. There is a great video called 23.5 hours, whilst I’m really keen to support the Fit in 14 campaign.”

ABOUT DR. ANDREW MURRAY

Merrell Pack Leader Dr Andrew Murray has completed challenges including a 2,659 mile run from John O’Groats to the Sahara, 7 ultra-marathons on the 7 continents in 7 days, and has won races at the North Pole, Antarctica, Outer Mongolia, the Sahara desert, and the jungles of Indonesia as well as racing for Scotland. He is a Sports Medicine doctor having worked with Sportscotland, the European Golf Tour, international football and rugby teams, and at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. He is an advisor for the Scottish Government Physical Activity team promoting exercise for health and championing the Merrell spirit of being active in the outdoors.

ABOUT MERRELL

Andrew will first utilize Merrell’s Allout Rush model to conquer the unstable terrain of Mt Cotopaxi. He’ll switch to the Allout Fuse once off the volcano.

Merrell was founded in 1981. The company’s philosophy is based on encouraging and equipping everyone to Get Outside to seek adventure, exhilaration and new experiences.

FIT IN 14

Get more active, www.fitin14.org/

For further information, contact Andrew Murray on 07 791 303 980, or at docandrewmurray@googlemail.com or Henry Courtier from Brandnation on 02 079 407 170 or at henry@brandnation.co.uk

A RACE WIN- COASTAL TRAIL SERIES NORTHUMBERLAND ULTRA

The decision on whether to race or not when carrying injuries is always a tough one. For me it usually comes down to factors that include

1)    Is the race somewhere beautiful. That I want to run

2)    Is the race important

3)    Am I going to make the injury worse by running and

4)    How sore will it be

Approaching the finish

Approaching the finish at Banburgh Castle

Endurance Life put on an excellent series of races, deliberately stationed in areas of natural beauty. Living in Edinburgh, I do like a good castle, and the Northumberland coastal trail has castles in spades.  I have not spent much time exploring this coast before, and on foot, during a race seemed an ideal way to do so.  The knocks I was carrying were more annoyances rather than significant injuries. I’d been elbowed in the ribs and had my foot stood on playing football in midweek (that is what I get for having a clumsy touch!).  The ribs grumbled taking a deep breath and when running quickly, whilst my foot has some interesting looking bruises.

These annoyances were blown out of the water by the prospect of a decent outing on a baby blue weather day. The van was fully frosted over, and the stars out by the time I got to sleep. Having come directly from working at the Edinburgh vs Ospreys rugby game I wasn’t sure I’d packed a pair of trainers- leaving office shoes or rugby boots as alternatives. I’d ran a few hills before in a pair of office shoes and did not fancy a repeat.

Fortunately when I woke out the Merrell’s were there, and I jumped on the bus to the start line. The route itself was a linear and varied one. The birds sang and my mood splendid at the start. After only a couple miles my race was nearly over. Having already been outwitted by one gate, I tried to jump one, and succeeded only in giving myself a fence in the baby making department.

With one thing and another- running quickly was catching my ribs a bit I ran a pretty conservative race. The course was a superb mixture of coastal trail, sandy beach, dunes, along with some mud (where would we be without mud in March) and road.  It was great to see great fields for not only the ultra, but also for the marathon, half marathon and 10km- many people I spoke to said it was their first.  I was a little caught up in the scenery, getting a little lost a couple times although this was entirely my own fault- the routes were well marked.  I ran steadily, taking a gel every 30 minutes, and aiming for make sure I finished in 4 hrs 40 minutes as my good friends Mike and Jess McKenzie were getting married nearby- this would give me the time to scrub up.

Banburgh Castle imposes itself for many miles. Spectators can see the finishers approaching many miles off, and the encouragement was welcome. I finished in 4 hours 32 minutes, finishing first in the Ultra and well in time for the wedding.

Sun and a medal- I'm happy

Sun and a medal- I’m happy

Endurance Life put on a fantastic series of events, I can recommend trying one of them for yourself.  I used Merrell’s new kit for the season, the All Out Rush trainer (review can be found on runblogger) and Science in Sport nutrition.

Good luck to everyone running races soon- next one for me is the Glasgow to Edinburgh double marathon at the start of April.

Andrew

 

ATTRACTING SPONSORS

Some of the most common questions I’m asked are about sponsorship, namely:

  • Any tips for raising money for charity ?
  • How to get sponsors to help you with kit and costs ?

Below is my personal opinion, based on what I’ve learned from people a lot more successful than me !

Doc Andrew Murray, S2S challenge

Doc Andrew Murray, S2S challenge

Tips for raising money for charity

  1.  Involve people, get them excited about your project !
  2. Update friends and family regularly – how is training going ? What’s going well, what are you going through ?
  3. Use Facebook, twitter, and a blog/website to share your story.
  4. JustGiving, or other similar sites make it easy to donate, and people can Gift Aid donations.
  5. Thank people for their generosity wherever possible.
  6. Consider a raffle/auction, or another event – find some great prizes and you are away.
  7. Make sure you get plenty photos of the event itself, and share them.
  8. Speak to your chosen charity – what are their top tips for fundraisers ? Can they offer you any advice ?

How to get sponsors to help you with kit and costs ?

  1. Rather than asking directly for kit, or money, ask companies or friends if they know anyone that could help. People are usually proud of their contacts.
  2. Think what you can offer the company. It’s got to be for mutual benefit, otherwise expect a “No thanks”. Be specific about what you can offer them.
  3. Let people know what you’ve done previously, and what companies have got out of it in the past.
  4. Be realistic – ask for something you need, and that the company could give you.
  5. It sounds obvious but if sending request by letter or email, put the important bit at the front, and make it as short as possible. 250 words max.
  6. Get a website, and give your sponsors a plug on this, or via social media (ie: a Facebook page), and keep them updated.
  7. Work out which companies have sponsored similar ventures before, and try them!
  8. Pick your event wisely – the more profile the event has, the more chance of success.

Thank you for visiting my sponsors page.