An epic world-first exploratory race from the top of the second highest peak in Madagascar to the Indian Ocean. This was a self-supported team race, two teams set head to head, on an island famous for being an adventurer’s dream, from its dense forests and uncharted rivers to its brooding granite peaks.
Our brief was to plan a once-in-a-lifetime race for two teams, with minimal time off work and pre-departure training. This exploratory race needed to test navigation skills, route finding, pacing, kit selection, stamina and nutrition, to put both teams to the test in a self-supported race.
To prepare for the race we ran two team training weekends before the event. The race itself was designed to take 9 days including 2 weekends, with only 5 working days off work.
The teams landed in Antananarivo (Tana) and moved straight to charter plane to fly to Ambalavao and on to Andringitra National Park.
The next morning was spent making preparations for the expedition. This included kit packing, rations and personal preparation. They moved up towards the summit of Pic Boby, climbing up onto the granite slabs that dominate the Andringitra National Park.
The next day the race was on as the teams turned east and continued to move across the plateau. The route was intersected by gorges to negotiate before moving towards the edge of the plateau where the terrain drops steeply away into the forest.
The route became more difficult and physically demanding. Movement became a lot slower. Steep sided valleys and river crossings became the norm!
The next day the teams emerged from the forest and met the rafts at the edge of the river. They jumped in and set off for the coast. There were rapids to negotiate and long stretches of paddling to endure as they raced east, moving into rural Malagasy communities.
On the second day on the river, they got closer to the coast and moved through more settlements.
The final day and the culmination of the race – the teams emerged into the Indian Ocean! Finishing at Vohipeno on the coast before travelling to Manakara to relax in a lodge for the night and share their stories.