Schroders Bankers Heroes Return - Jungle Marathon 2008
Six Guernsey men from Schroders Private Bank proved they can take on the best in ultra sport's most extreme event. Now being billed as the 'World's most dangerous race' the 2008 Amazon Jungle Marathon in Floresta National de Tapajos, in Para, Brazil saw more than its fair share of drama.
Surpassing its reputation for being brutal, more than 25% of the field dropped out through heat, humidity, exhaustion, blisters and more. Not just a blister on a toe; but blisters on blisters, layers deep and all over – sole, toes and heels - suppurating from being continually wet. And yet the Schroders Team of six all finished the 220kms gruelling race through the jungle.
Training on the rugged cliff-paths of Guernsey couldn't prepare them for the hot tropical storms. Fitter than they have ever been they were strong enough to spend six days climbing over tree roots the size of cars; slipping uncontrolled down near vertical mud slopes; wading streams and swimming rivers; hauling their exhausted bodies through the tangled roots of mangrove swamps. One runner even came face to face with a jaguar.
Carrying more than 15 kilos of survival kit on their backs – rapidly rubbed raw before the first day was over – sleeping in hammocks and only being provided with water to mix with their freeze dried energy food and wash down their organic Healthspan vitamin pills. Six days of endless toil. Planning and cussed determination saw the normally suited Schroders bankers keeping running all night to give them more time to recuperate and re-bandage their feet between stages.
Camaraderie and respect quickly replaced national barriers as the competitors discovered their strengths. Brian Bougourd was the first Guernsey man to finish and 10th overall. Team Schroders came 3rd when the race finished on Friday afternoon. However their ordeal didn't finish at the line. Their return journey home was enough to exhaust a normal person – but the Schroders bankers were at their desks at 8.30 yesterday, Monday 20th October. From the finish tape it was an hour's bus journey to a non-star hotel in Santarem – but no time to rest before the prize presentation dinner - then straight to the airport for 1½ hour flight to Manaus – 12 hours wait before a 4 hour flight to Sao Paolo - then 14 hours to Heathrow. But for the six Guernsey men there was still a bus to catch to take them to Gatwick and finally back to Guernsey, where they went straight to A&E to get their feet re-bandaged.
And what was it all for? More than £115,000 has been raised for head injuries charity Headway Guernsey and children's charity the Rainbow Trust. Please help them to make it £120, 000. What have the boys got out of it? They have a world beating experience to draw on; they have proved they can cope in the most extreme conditions; they have pride in their achievement and their ability to pull together as a team in their work as bankers and ultra athletes. For Guernsey and Schroders Private Bank they are heroes.
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