This one goes out to our director and co-founder Hamish Travers, who is once again putting his body on the line. This time he takes on the Racing the Planet’s Ecuador ultra-marathon – traversing the Andes mountain range with its stunning waterfalls, snow-capped volcanoes and cloud forests. Over 250 high-altitude kilometres, the race will take in ancient Inca trails and ruins, lush national parks and indigenous Inca villages along the way.

With 135 competitors from 37 countries following the breathtaking Route of the Volcanoes, the race started on Sunday from the foothills of Cotopaxi. The week-long footrace comprises six stages over the seven days and is significant for its unique course across the Andes, the longest continental mountain chain in the world. All competitors contend the event self-supported, carrying their own equipment and food, with only water and camping accommodation provided.

You can follow Hamish’s progress on the Racing the Planet website. At the end of day 1, after a gruelling first leg he’s sitting in 10th amongst a field of 135 people. Here’s the latest from his blog (yep, he even found the energy in camp to write an update)…

“Short blog today, awesome camp last night, best of any event I’ve done, sitting under the shadow of Cotopaxi mountain in all its glory.  Surrounded by pine trees and a circle of tents, local band and music, potatoe soup and roaring fires, Team NZ were charming the crowd and totally into it.

The run today was hard, nice grind uphill through the pine trees and a mammoth down hill, the next 37km were on dirt roads and made for a long and slow grind through villages, legs feeling sore and like they have done some hard work, so recovering in a monastery in the sun, so not all bad.

Stuff I learnt today, I can’t run and eat at altitude, without inhaling water and food into my lungs.  I’m hoping for more hills, as lungs ok, need to learn to eat more, drink more and keep the salt going in.

Ecuador is very beautiful and the participants awesome, so bodes well for a good week.”

Go well Hamish and good luck for the rest of the week.