I have been trying to think about what to write about for the past couple of days. There are so many things that I experienced it is hard to know where to begin.
First the race, The Brazil 135 is the most difficult foot race in Brazil. It is run on the hardest, most challenging segment of the Caminho da Fé (Path of Faith or Way of Faith), the most difficult Brazilian pilgrimage path. The primary objectives of the Caminho da Fé pilgrimage are the experience of moments of reflection and faith through the exercise of walking - the integration of man with nature and with religion. The Way of Faith is a route marked by yellow arrows and consists of stretches of dirt roads, asphalt, trails within farms and railroad tracks. It takes, on average, 12 to 15 days to finalize the pilgrimage on foot, or, if you choose to participate in the Brazil 135, you have 60 hours. The course boasts about 30,000 feet of cumulative ascent and 28,000 feet of cumulative descent. With only ten flat miles in the race, by the finish line the runner will have completed a course that is analogous to climbing up and down Mt. Everest.
At the finish with truly a great team and BR135 race organizers
I was able to meet my goal of completing the toughest foot race in Brazil under 48 hours. The finishing time was 46:57:00. I owe a lot to my crew, Dan Marshall, Jason Davis and Soraia. Dan and Jason ran with me every step of the way. During our pre-race discussions they each thought they might run between 20-40 miles. As the race got underway they found themselves dividing the running nearly equally to the point I was not alone on the course at all. This was a big morale booster and a good distraction as we were able to share a lot of the run together. Soraia sacrificed her time and proved to be a valuable resource helping us get directions, local food, and with her spirits. She was our translator and local guide who had experience with parts of the course.
Our translator Soraia and I before the race. She is making me feel at home.
Dan Marshall and I running down the trail.
A sign of what's to come.
Together we all faced two days and two nights of running. We endured temperatures in the 90’s, pouring rain, flooded roads, mud, steep hills, bulls, and snakes out on the trail.
To my surprise, my daughter, Maya, was very thoughtful in that she wrote 6 letters that were to be given to me at designated times in the race. Dan and Jason were to give them to me at the Start, 30miles, 60miles, 100 miles, when I was very tired, and at the finish. These letters were both very emotional and a HUGE boost to keep me going.
The "Start" letter, written in Maya's handwriting said "Go Daddy Go, Go as fast as you can, Love Maya"
The "30 mile" letter read "Happy 30 Miles, Love Maya"
The "60 mile" letter read "Your almost there! Love Maya"
The "100 mile" letter read "Happy 100 miles, you've run a long way. Love Maya"
The 5th letter was given to me when Jason and Dan felt that I would really need a lift because I was really tired! Maya had written "Keep Going, I know you can do it. Love Maya"
The last letter was given to me at the finish. It read simply "Yea Daddy"
This is me at 40 hours at one of my lowest points. I just finished taking a quick 25 minute nap. Jason and Dan thought this was a good time to give me Maya’s letter for when I was really, really tired. It read “Keep Going, I know you can do it! Love Maya”
This was not only the longest race I had run, it was by far, the hardest race I have ever run. It pushed me beyond all physical and mental limits. I felt less in control than at any other time of my life of running. It was absolutely one of my most memorable accomplishments. The people of Brazil say that the Camino de fe (Path of Faith) is called that because if you don't have faith when you begin you certainly will when you finish. The sounds of silence while running reinforced what I knew to be true in my life: that there is something bigger than all of us. This was not just a race it was a journey of my soul. It was a journey of friendship that became a deeper friendship and it was a journey of self discovery.
The race also included 9 Americans out of a total 62 invited runners that were a perfect 9 for 9 in successful finishes.....
Brian Krogmann (30:14:00)
Ray Sanchez (35:01:00)
Brian Recore (46:57:00)
Connie Dockendorf (49:48:00)
Kenneth Posner (53:10:00)
Dan Marinsik (53:11:00)
Anthony Portera (53:31:00)
Jarom Thurston (53:31:00)
Tom Sperduto (57:50:00)