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Beware of wild pigs and water buffalo

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Wayne Dill’s diary from his participation in the gruelling five-day Kota Kinabalu Challenge, through the jungles and mountains of Borneo, is continued here, where the challenge finally begins. Mr Dill undertook the challenge to raise money for Raleigh International Bermuda.

Day 3: Monday, March 5, 2012

The Kinabalu Challenge kicks off with its first event a 4K race. Crispin (organiser) makes various declarations for being cautious and warns us of the course’s difficulty. I’m almost dismissive because it’s only 4K and the finish is at a village school. What a mistake this turns out to be. The run was gruelling and in some places along the river, dangerous. The footing is so narrow that you have to walk, climb over obstacles, make several river crossings and the heat quickly becomes oppressive. It takes [my teammate] Dueane (Dill) and me nearly an hour to complete this race.

We find our rucksacks in the school gym and are told to quickly change, queue up in your assigned groups and be prepared to get in the helicopter for the trip to the jungle. The view is spectacular; rivers, rice paddies, small villages and the greenest mountains I have ever seen. We land in the smallest of clearings and we must get out, climb down an embankment and protect our eyes from the flying debris because the rotors never stop. From the clearing each team find an area for encampment.

We know that we have to quickly set up tarps and hammocks, cook food and be in “bed” as the sun sets. I realise that every single instruction regarding “how to” has merit and significance. [Teammate] Philip (Faries) tried his hand at a soup of broth and crackers in the same pot. Suddenly, Dueane isn’t very hungry and Liza goes for a bath in the river. Philip, ever the culinary maestro, comes up with a rice-vegetable-tuna dish that has to be served in bamboo because our bowls have gone missing in a mix up when we were packing.

Night comes quickly and everyone retires to their hammocks. We’re warned in the strongest of terms do not under any circumstances leave your hammock during the night. The greatest danger are wild pigs and water buffalo. Snakes, we’re told, don’t like the smell of humans and it’s unlikely that they’ll bite you.

It is incredibly dark. The sounds from birds and all manner of insects are unfamiliar, loud and strange. I can’t sleep because I hear rustling of some sort near my hammock. I look at my watch and it’s only 7pm. I can’t sleep and the noises intensify. I move to the edge of the hammock to relieve myself in total darkness.

In the morning, I discover that my hat has fallen out of the hammock and is now wet. I have no choice but to wear the wet hat. Everything stinks and I’m confident that the state of my hat will go unnoticed.

Useful website: www.raleigh.bm

Racing to the finish
Trekking out of the jungle
Arriving at the checkpoint
Discussing Race Strategy
Team 6 finishes 8K Race
Trekking out of the jungle

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Published April 04, 2012 at 9:38 am (Updated April 04, 2012 at 9:37 am)

Beware of wild pigs and water buffalo

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