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DID YOU KNOW? Nearly 1 million Australians have Type 2 diabetes.
DID YOU KNOW? The cost to Australia of diabetes is nearly $7billion per annum.
DID YOU KNOW? Over 60% of people with Type 2 diabetes can overcome it with fitness and healthy lifestyle.

Stage 3 (Jess Baker)

Friday, November 30, 2012
Omigosh, this is truely THE most BEAUTIFUL place in the world! All the rumours, all the cliches are true. The whitest white, the bluest blue, large and unique ice formations, as we cruise alongside the Antarctica mainland. I wish that all my family and friends may save enough to see it. It moves you deep in your heart, without feeling like a cheesy soptart!! :) This morning we were greeted by a pod of 12-15 type B orcas (the kind who hunt seals). It was amazingly spectacular, calming and exciting, all at the same time. The second day the run was cancelled, I did not care, it was replaced by exploring with colonies, and colonies of (Gentoo) penguins. It was soo much fun, I have a million photos of penguins. Roger and I just lay down in the snow kind of between a penguin walkway (you are not allowed to approach them closer than 5m) and just waited for them to come to us. There was lots of excited whispering of "incoming!!", as they waddled towards us. After yesterdays run however, in addition to their cuteness, I now have utmost respect for these tough, hardy creatures. We hiked around a 3.2km loop for 8.5 hours. A lashing wind, and a big, fat low-lying cloud ensured that temperatures were well below freezing. Now having experienced just a tiny amount of this coldness I am in awe of the King (or maybe Emperor?) male penguins who just sit there for 65 days peak-winter warming their eggs. It is almost incomprehensible too, how explorers manage to survive their crazy expeditions. Wow! Wow! Wow! 

Just when we thought the day,s adventures were over, as we rode back on the small Zodiac boats to the ships, a strong Russian accent yelled out "abort operation", "abort operation"! Our "driver" quickly switched route and joined another boat in "pushing" an iceberg away from out anchored boat. Then another boat joined us. It was sooo cool and something I had not thought of before. To add to the drama, the boat with the single man just suddenly rode up the iceberg and nearly tipped over. Whoa. That was close. Falling in this icy water could more than likely induce a heart attack. 

Because of the sighting of the orcas, our run this morning was cancelled, but we are due to run for a few hours (likely a 1-2km loop!!) this afternoon. People are getting on the ice this morning, but we have to stay on the ship to do filming. A bit disappointing, but ah well, this whole opportunity would not be possible if it not for the Born to Run team. 

Tonight we camp on the ice -wahoo!! I am planning to wear ALL my clothes, AND my fun American friend has a...drumroll...a hot water bottle to lend us - wahoo yeah! :) 

Internet, understandably, is a bit intermittent here, so don;t worry if you don.,t hear from us for a while. Thank you soo much for your emails and blogs, soo awesome to read. Tehe, ladders P!! Much love, Jess X

Stage 3 Update (Matt Donovan)

Thursday, November 29, 2012
Hello again everyone from home. Thought I would start off by saying that I'm currently looking out the window of the ship and watching a pod of killer whales cruise by. Pretty cool.. I'm not going to lie. There would be about 5-6 of them and we have been following them for about 10 minutes. Like I said before.. I know it sounds a lot like a holiday!

Yesterday was stage 3 and it went according to plan. We were set ashore on a 3.2 km circut and were given 8.5 hours to cover as much distance as we could. Dad took his poles this time which helped get him up the massive hill in the middle of the track. I took it on myself to stay behind him and physically push him along so we were moving at a quicker pace. We managed to cover about 45km in the snow. I think most of the competitors would agree that moving through the snow down here is much harder than moving throuh the sand in the Sahara. Even given the heat.

In about 10 mins we will have a briefing for todays plan. Weather is overcast but no wind so it looks like we will be going ashore again to get it done. Today we are doing 2 stages... one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Obviously both will be a little shorter than what we have done so far but still may get in 5 - 6 hours total. After running two separate stages today we are meant to be sleeping off the ship on the ice on the mainland. We have had it pretty easy so far compared to the other deserts so im kinda looking forward to roughing it a little and sleeping under the stars.

I will post another blog soon. Keep sending your messages and maybe a little news from home :)

Rest and Sightseeing (Greg Donovan)

Thursday, November 29, 2012
Day 2 saw no running due to high winds. We moved location but by the time we got to the new location , it was late in the day, and the only place possible to run was overrun with Penguins.

They took us to shore and we got to hang out with hundreds of penguins for a couple of hours or so, and it was great to have the time to just be around them and watch their antics (but not so much to smell them).

James did some interview filming and photography, and we got a shot of our team "running" with penguins in the background which was good. When we left the island the zodiac took us on a bit of a tour around the bay, which was great to see some of the amazing scenery up close.

Its now the morning of day 3, and we think we may have around a 10 hour run in front of us if the sunny weather holds and the course is OK when it is set out. Its possible we might be doing 2km loops, so we could be getting a bit dizzy after 10 hours!

We will need to try and keep up a good pace to at least hold our placing in the field that we established on day 1.
All the team doing well, so we should have an OK day.

Will blog again after the days run.

Bye for now.

DAY 1 PT 2 and DAY 2 (Ron Schwebel)

Thursday, November 29, 2012
Day 1, the long day, was really long. Up early, we were transported ashore on Zodiacs. A quick briefing and we are off at 8:15am.
The task was to complete as many 7k half laps, in opposite directions, as we could before cut off time of 8:15 pm.

The first few laps were not too hard. Firm snow, with a few sneaky hills thrown in. The hills seemed to grow larger and steeper during the day. There was also a section if maybe 1km of a narrow channel. Vary soft parts and some wet areas.

After about 3 hours, the sun was giving a little heat out, enough to soften the crust on the snow. This and the passage of 50 runners over and over caused the course to chop up badly. Some sections were very soft, occasionally we sank to knee depth.

Our lap times blew out from under 1 hour to 90+ mins near the end.

The weather did not change a lot, between -2 and +2 I guess. But a small change in wind is significant. The slightest wind meant an extra layer might be needed. Then in a sheltered section I would be quite warm. This meant the gortex on and off many times in the day. Same with the Beanie and gloves. We had a lunch break, 15 mins or so. The lack of activity meant a few more layers were needed until running warmed us up again.

Eventually we finished our penultimate lap about 8pm. We were given the option of another lap (it's now getting very cold) or going back to the warm, cozy ship for a hot shower and meal. Many runners went for the latter, but Team Born to Run did not hesitate to unanimously vote for continuing. That gave us an extra 7km, which will be more than handy in the final total. We finished in 13th position. 5 1/2 laps = 77km.

We were strong all day. Fatigue and soft footing did slow us down, but we did not take it easy at any stage.
We have all pulled up well the next day, so our pacing was good.

Day 2. No Running
We anchored in Deception Bay in the early hours, but by 8am the wind had picked up to 45 knots, so we could not go ashore.
Then it was off to Trinity Island, about 5 hours/100km South.
On shore, were many penguin colonies, but not much running space, so the afternoon was spent sightseeing and taking photos.
The scenery was amazing, Penguins, snow formations, penguins, icebergs and more penguins.

Tomorrow, we hope to run, but will probably be "punished" for having today off.

Round and Round We Go (Greg Donovan)

Thursday, November 29, 2012
This mornings cruise to our new destination was amazing as we motored through a chanel for a few hours, that had hundreds of icebergs of all shapes and sizes floating around.

When we got to our final destination, it was 360deg stunning. Pictures, words, videos or otherwise cant depict it, just standing there taking in the most spectacular view you can imagine in alll directions. Heaps of penguins too. Quite amazing!

Anyway we couldn't look at it for too long as we had serious running business to attend to. The weather was sunny and a couple of degrees plus at the start. The course was a 3.2km loop, climbing about 100m altitude up quite a steep incline to a ridge, running a gentle downhill down the ridge and dropping down off the ridge and about 800m back to the start. The views from all parts of the course were great.

We started at 11.30 am, and run through to 8pm. We ran pretty well all day with no breaks or rest, and although we planned to try and cover 15 or 16 loops, we only managed 14. This was a pretty good result though as the course became difficult in some places, and it seemed the big hill got a bit steeper every lap. It got a lot colder and I also got a bit of fatigue as the day went on. Luckily I had my hired help (Matt) to give me a push up the big hill in the later stages of the race. I owe him a few beers, once we are allowed to have one (not until the event is over... not much fun watching all of the other non running passengers having a beer, while we stick to water and coke!)

Not sure how our overall results are going, we may have dropped a place or two, but still going pretty well.
Tommorow we are running in 2 locations for about 3 hours each apparantly, which should be challenging (what's not challenging about running down here!)

Anyway its 10.30 pm and I am Wallaby Ted .... As in Roo Ted) , and about to hit the sack. The team is all going really well, no problems, other than Ron has a cold, but of course nothing seems to stop him. Matt is keeping a close eye on me which is good.

2 more days running to go. I know its not over till the fat lady sings, but I think she is out the back puttting on her makeup.
Cant wait to get this thing done.

By the way we are now so far south, that its not getting dark at the moment. The darkest point is around midnight, and then by around 3am it is pretty much full daylight.

Thanks for all your blog comments, they really help us. Will blog again hopefully after tomorrows runs.

Love to all.

Stage 2 was a little easier! (Matt Donovan)

Thursday, November 29, 2012
Hey everyone from home. Yesterday we rocked up to Deception Island where the weather was pissed off. Deception Island is an active volcano with an old whaling station on the shore. The island itself had a huge inlet and was kinda shaped like a dounut with a bite taken out of it, so we could cruise right inside to the middle of the island (google it if that didnt make sense). The wind was pushing about 50 knots/80km per hour so it was a little too dangerous to be out there for too long. Instead we were taken to another location about 7 hours away where there was a chance we could get in a few hours running before the sun went down.

When we eventually got to this place the sun was out and absolutly no wind. You could just about tolerate it with shorts and a t-shirt. It just showed how variable the weather is down here. The island itself was real small, about as big as 6-8 football fields which would make for a very small circuit. The other thing was that there were about a billion penguins and the biologist onboard forbid us from running and disturbing them. Instead we took the zodiacs to the island and hung out with the wildlife for a couple of hours. A little more enjoyable then running around in circles all afternoon.

Right now we are about an hour from our new destination and it looks very likey we will be doing another long day of about 8 - 10 hours to make up for the missed stage.

I'll try and describe what im looking at right now. We are cruising through a tight channel with a mountain range on either side, covered in ice and massive iceburges the whole way through. The sun is intense and the colour of the water and iceburges are a bright blue colour. The white of the ice is so bright is almost hurts the eyes.

I know it sounds a little like a holiday at the moment but im hopeing we can do another 50 - 60 km today.

Anyways, thats all from me right now. Stay tuned for our second bout of running!

Long Day Stage 1 (Matt Donovan)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Hello everyone at home. For me it is the morning after the long day. To give you the brief yesterday we had near perfect weather and were able to get in a full day of running. We had 12 hours to cover as much ground as we could over a 14 km loop. At the end of the day the Team had covered about 70km. The morning started really good and we were about to move along at a steady pace. As the day heated up and the snow/ice became a little soft and things started to slow down a bit. There were parts of the coarse where the soft surface meant that every step you took there was a 50/50 chance of sinking to half way down your leg. Obviously the heavier runners had more problems than the lighter ones!

The cut off time for last nights stage was 8:30pm. On your last loop we came into the checkpoint at 8:00pm and decided to push on and clock up another 7 km taking our total to ~ 70 km. A lot of people were very suprised by this because there was only a little bit of time to go. The last 7 km were very slow and the temperature dropped very fast as the sun fell bellow the horizon. Just to give you an idea, our cameraman stuck with us the whole way just to shoot some whalebones that were outside one of the scientific bases. 7km march for a 15 second shoot... thats efficient! By the time we arrived back at the checkpoint all runners had been taken back to the ship and we were the last to be recovered.

Right now I am sitting in a briefing and am a little unsure if we will be let out today seeing as its super windy outside (50 nots). Deception island (where we were set to land today) is locked in by ice an unaccessable by zodiac. I will update later as to were we will go next. Anyways i'll end it there. I'm kinda happy today is a writeoff because it looks pretty gnarley outside. I wish I could upload a couple of pictures of some of the red roar faces that were hammered by sun. Irish expedition leader describes his own face "akin to a smacked backside".

Hope all is well at home. Keep sending the comments as I look forward to reading about things for home :)

Long Long Day (Greg Donovan)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Our first day at Antarctica we were greeted with favourable weather. Temps around -1 and mild breeze, with occaisional sunshine. Our first day was at King George Island which has several international stations there, including China and Russia. The course was 14km, with a central check point in the middle, so always somewhere to check in in the middle of each lap.

There was a real buzz as the small field gathered at the start, and before we knew it we were off and running at around 8.15 am.
The course was quite undulating with some decent hills to climb and descend, and we decided not to chase a lot of the front running bunnies, confident that our constant steady pace would eventually haul many of them in over 12 hours. As the day wore on and sun came out, the running course started to get slushy, a bit like mashed potato, and running became harder. There were some horror sections where you didnt know if your foot would sink up to your knee with every step. Being the heaviest in the team, this seemed to happen to me more than the others.
We had a welcome stop for lunch after 2 and half laps, where we spent 17 miuntes having some hot food, drinking and recovering.

We did some calculations, and figured out we would aim for 5 and half laps for the day, but we would need to push hard to do this. (we thought maybe 6 laps would be possible at the start of the day, but as the day went on, the course deteriortated and fatigue set in we downgraded our target to 5.5).

We finished our 5th full lap at 8pm, after 11.45 out there, and asked/begged to be allowed to go out for another half lap. We were the last to be let through. Half way through the final half lap I was wondering whey we did this, as the temp plummeted, and I was staggering along wobbling from side to side like a drunk. We were the last on the course when we finished at 9.40pm, and the cold was intense(the finish line was already packed up and the Zodiacs were ready and waiting to get us back to the boat) We were however rewarded by getting our KM up to 77 for the day, and are now placed 12th which is a great result to start our week down here. I reckon covering 77km across a difficult course was a great achievement for the team. Everyone is doing well, and Ron keeping stats as usual. A little bit of a push along from behind by Matt helped me up a couple of the final hills. The next place behind us is now 7km in arrears and has lots of work to do to catch us.

My lips not doing too well, forgot the lip screen yesterday, bad mistake. Wont be doing that again. Our faces looked frightful when we finished, Matt got photos on his I phone.
James covered probably 20km to do his filming, and there will be great footage there.

Looks like day 2 might be cancelled, as the winds are now gusting to 50 knots (over 85kmh), the shore at deception island has ice sheet surrounding, and not accesibale by Zodiac.
The captain briefed us and said they would now look at alternative venues to get to later thismorning. Someone in the crowd piped up and suggested "Hawaii!" which casued great laughter (and general agreement).

Thats it for now. I will blog again after our next run, whenever that might be.

Cheers

Stage 1 (Jess Baker)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Well, where to start? Awesome day. Just after I finished writing last time, we went up on deck and saw spout holes – from a distance, but still soo cool. Just listened to a talk about whaling, and hard to imagine, that 60 years ago this ocean was alive with spout holes. By 1931 humans had massacres 175, 000 whales, and 46,000 between the years of 1937-8. One theory for the rare sightings of blue whales is that they have a very good memory, and are still scared of boats. Humpbacks however, have a shorter lifespan and are on to the next generation. Anyhoo, enough of whales- the run!!

Apparently King George;s island is one of the less attractive Antarctic islands, but I tell you I was impressed! The circuit was like a figure of 8,which we ran 5.5 times. The sunlight ensured that it never got boring though, casting a new scene on the beautiful white landscape as it moved.and the blue ocean contrasted beautifully with the pearly white. At one turnaround point there was a whale carcass – so fascinating. One of the vertebrae was as large as my diaphragm, the jawbone about 1.5 times my height. The other turnaround point involved going through what I would describe as a ceiling-less corridor. I would say snow running is a lot harder than sand running, mainly because of it’s unpredictability, every third, fourth, seventh, fifth step you would take a big drop up to your knee – making us look like drunkards stumbling across the ice. For the most part is was just entertaining, and Roger and I took a couple of stacks mucking around on the hills.

We met some Uruguarian researchers, and it was fascinating chatting with them. They said that we were AMAZINGLY lucky with the weather, over the past 8 months, they had only had four days like our “mild” sunny day we had. Sorry P, no temperatures to report, but I tell you the wind makes a massive difference, and I am very grateful for my windproof gear. The researchers have internet, phone, but effectively live on tinned food, no fresh fruit and veg for one year – could you imagine?

The most exciting part of the day was at the end. Let’s hope I can explain it. Basically cut-off was 8.30pm, but if you get back before 8.15pm you have the option to go and do another loop. We got back at 8pm. People were retiring then, but we requested to go on for one more…it was great to see the look of disbelief on everyone’s faces as they agreed. We were the last people back finishing at 9.40pm. That last hour was such an adventure. I am sooo so pleased we made the decision to go on. The sun dropped, and the true nature of Antarctica was revealed. The temperature dropped, and it felt like we were in survival mode. The fingers went numb almost immediately, and it was like catch 22, to be able to fumble around to put more clothes on. It was really quite scary, and I did for an instance turn into girly mode, as I run up to Roger, asking him to “help me”! The team got on sooo well today, I am/was really happy, but I tell you, it took all we could to hang back with Greg, I just wanted to run and run to warm-up and get to my dropbag with another 3 layers of clothing waiting for me. I cannot imagine what frostbite must feel like. I bet any “local” would be guffawing at us, saying that it was “freezing”, but anyway it was just such an awesome experience, just to see just how scary and dangerous a climate it is, and how the unprepared would be shown no mercy.

We got back to ship about 10pm, and bless the staff has a hot buffet waiting for us; so kind.

Up early this morning, to see the views as we sailed into Deception island. Sooo beautiful, and pretty cool going through a thin layer of ice. Apparently in winter, Antarctica stretches for 5kms more in ice. Woo. Winds were 50 knots, so all activities are off. We are off to another destination now, maybe to run this afternoon, but I doubt it. Mixed reactions; some disappointed (me), some very relieved I think!

We saw penguins yesterday. They are so incredibly cute…and inquisitive, waddling up to us to have a look! There will be a talk soon learning all about them – I can’t wait! Their white bellies look almost pearl-like in the sunlight.

Oh, one another thing that surprised me (sorry, no time to structure this), was just how bright it was. If you did try to take your sunglasses off, it was properly blinding – wow! I lathered and lathered sunblock on my face, and have still come out with some colour, though relative to the bright pink or red faces wandering around the ship, I have come off very lightly!

Right, best go. Willam, thanks for your message – get saving/fundraising, you would love it!

Getting on particularly well with an animated, enthusiastic American chick, unrelated to the race, and two lovely Australian/English couples. Roger was talking to the organizer today, and she mentioned, that if roger and I can get through just one of these deserts together, let alone 4, we are destine for each other….awww!

DAY 1 LONG STAGE PART 1 (Ron Schwebel)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
This will be a brief summary as we just got back to the ship at 10pm.

The team went really well today. Conditions were good to start, mostly nice solid icy snow. After 3 hours the sun warmed things up, the snow softened and it was very shifty.
We did a multilap course and finished our last lap after 13:26 hours.
We hope to be about top 15, so a good result and around 73km.

More tomorrow.