Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Pain of Plain by Brendan Sainsbury

Rating ****

This article describes a man who wanted a challenge one step above what he was used to but got something he had never imagined. Not only was it a life changing expirence but also a lesson on how to survive on your own in the wilderness.

Brendan Sainsbury, a 43 year old man living in White Rock B.C. runs whenever he gets the chance, whether it's to the supermarket or to work, even if it's 2 in the morning after a late night at the club! He had completed marathons which he placeed fairly high in but that wasn't enough for him, so he looked up a variety of options until he came across "Plain 100", a trek of 105 miles on rough mountain trails ,mostly up hill, one rest stop, no aid stations, no drop bag zones, no outside help, and no support team. On top of all that there is the paranoia of bears and animals when you are all by yourself in the forest during the day and night... and did I mention that you had to finish all this in under 36 hours?

He started this challenge on a dark but warm morning going against some very muscular competitors who had placed first in previous marathons . When they were told to go they all jogged together until they got o a point where everyone went their separate ways. Brendan was own his own at this point, but he kept going for a couple hours when he came to a stream and decided to fill up his water bottle. As he was doing so, one of the competitors came limping from behind him with a knee injury and since there were no aid stations he had to limp 7 miles to the nearest search and rescue. The day went by fast and night time came, that's when the paranoia set in and every noise he heard was terrifying and coming across a skunk on the trail didn't help. Brendan ran into another competitor named Joe who told him they were going in the wrong direction, when really they weren't, he was delusional. He needed a boost so he looked at the stars and realized how much he appreciated everything. He finally came to the finish line and ended up in fifth, but all he cared about was that he actually finished.

I think what Brendan did was really brave and I would have a hard time doing what he did. Not only did he need the physical ability but also the mental ability, and that's pretty impressive! Also I probably wouldn't think of doing something at the next level above what I find hard at a normal level. I think I would find running a normal marathon a huge challenge but to run 105 km seems impossible!

Sainsbury, Brendan. "The Pain of Plain" Explore. July/August 2010. Issue 164. Print

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