You’re damn fit, you run a lot, you have strength, grit and confidence, so the prospect of a of 12-kilometre race doesn’t especially faze you. You stare up at the perfect peak of Walsh’s Pyramid rising 922 metres above you and think “how hard can it be?”
So, you’re up for it. But you’ll find the answer to that question is “harder than you imagine.” The Great Pyramid Race isn’t for the feint-hearted.
The first 3 klicks from the start line to the base of the Pyramid is flat ground and taken in your stride, but then comes the next 3. All straight up. Suddenly you’re battling dense vegetation, exposed rocks and sheer granite cliff faces. If the sun is blazing down, you’re sweating buckets, if it’s a tropical downpour the ground is a slippery-slide under foot.
You reach a water point and gratefully grab a drink, but then, this is just the halfway mark and the climb continues ever upward. This is no run, it’s a never-ending uphill scramble to test body and mind to the limit.
You fight your way to the summit and heave a sigh of relief that the worst is over and it’s all downhill now. But you’re soon stripped of that illusion. You’re now in a muscle-searing free fall, struggling to stay in control on a goat track studded with roots, rocks, spiky vegetation, sudden twists and turns. Slips and falls are a constant threat that grows as fatigue mounts and vigilance wanes, so your head is pounding as fast as your heart. How can going down seem as hard and long as going up?
But what goes up must come down and eventually you’re at the bottom with just the mercifully flat final leg to the finish. And that spurs you on. Whether you make it in last reserve burst of pace or plug on like an automaton, you cross the line. Legs are howling with pain, fingers tingle, breath heaves, but the spirit soars.
The Great Pyramid Race is arguably the toughest of it’s kind on the planet and you’ve just run it and no matter when you crossed the line, in what time or what place, you’ve won.