THE MERRELL BLOG: WHAT'S NOW. WHAT'S NEXT. LET'S GET OUTSIDE.
Dr Andrew Murray's Epic Adventure begins...
On 1 July, Merrell Ambassador Dr Murray was joined by former Marine Commando Donnie Campbell to run more than an ultra-marathon (50km) every day in an epic 18-day run across East Africa. The journey includes running up and down Mt Kenya and Mt Kilimanjaro, through wildlife-filled game reserves and tropical rainforests, including several mountain ascents. The pair will also be running with world-record holders and world champions.
Dr Murray’s objective for this year’s challenge is to discover the secrets to the prolific success of East African athletes – home to the best endurance athletes in the world. Remarkably, at the 2011 Athletics World Championships, Kenya won 17 medals, with no fewer than 10 medallists coming from the tiny village of Iten. This remains the single greatest, most concentrated, accumulation of talent in the world of sports.
Dr Andrew Murray said:
“There is no better way to find out what makes these athletes so fast, than to spend time in their company and take on some of the biggest challenges East Africa has to offer. It’s all about learning from Africa. 66 of the best 100 marathon runners in the world are from Kenya – is this due to the training regime, genetic factors, the food that is eaten, the altitude, or other factors?
“When you are running such a distance in challenging terrain such as over Kilimanjaro, through rainforests, keeping your feet healthy and comfortable is crucial and so it’s important to wear the right shoe.”
Not only is Andrew Murray wearing his Merrell Mix Master during the challenge, Merrell is also donating a 150 pairs of shoes to the charity Running Across Borders as part of the Lessons from Africa challenge.
Mt Kilimanjaro- 1st challenge- completed in 7 hours!
The beginning of the challenge started with the pair running up and down the 5,895 metres of Mount Kilimanjaro in a day. They ascended then descended through 5 distinct zones – the rainforest, cloudforest, moorland, desert and glacial zones. From the summit they were afforded views across the Tanzanian plains, and much of the region before descending via the Mweka route.
Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, and the highest free standing mountain in the world. Trekkers usually take 5 to 7 days to summit, with many suffering from high altitude sickness. Doctor Murray described the experience:
“What a phenomenal day, climbing through rainforest, montane scenery and finally glacier before topping out. It feels like my feet have been through a lawnmower, and we are pretty tired, but we took quite a scientific approach with advice from colleagues at SportScotland helping us get there. It’s on with the rest of the challenge, tomorrow we are off to Amboselli National Park.”