As I write this, I am getting ready to head to the start line of the Brazil 135, a 135-mile ultramarathon. It has been a long road here. I suffered a knee injury a few months back, from which I am still recovering. This injury threw such a wrench into my race planning that I am still fighting its effects to this day. I had issues with visas, finding a driver for my mandatory support car, and more fundamental problems, such as whether I am passionate enough about this race to push forward despite all indications that I should do otherwise. I decided it was all worth it though, and now I am here, ready to test my will against one of the toughest race courses in South America.
Today, I’ll set off with seventy other runners along the Caminho da Fe outside of Sao Paulo in an effort to complete the Brazil 135 (http://www.brazil135.com.br/ – visit this website to follow my run), a Badwater qualifying event (http://www.badwater.com/). My goal is to cross this 135-mile, 15-day pilgrimage in just 48 hours, but to be honest, I am really unsure how this race will turn out. My knee is still not 100%, and this has forced me to scale back my training significantly. On top of this, my longest continuous run to date is 64 miles. I completed 156 over six days during the Maraton des Sables, which included a 50-miler, but races of this scale present such different challenges from one another that it is really hard to say what will happen. That is one thing I love about ultrarunning though. I love approaching the start line without a clue what I will experience or learn through the race. I can only give it my best and a bit more, and hope that it is enough.
I am going to need a lot of motivation in the coming 48 hours though, so I am writing not only to share my journey with you, but also to ask for your support. I asking for you to match my miles, in dollars or in dimes, with a donation to Village Enterprise, a non-profit which I am involved with and which I care deeply about. I recently joined the Board of Village Enterprise through a Stanford Graduate School of Business program called Board Fellows. Through this program, I’ve learned first hand that Village Enterprise has helped over 23,000 business get started in rural East Africa through small grants. 88% of businesses they fund continue beyond 1 year, and 75% are still going after 4 years. Village Enterprise’s mission is to equip people living in extreme poverty with resources to create sustainable businesses. They provide funds where even micro-finance is unprofitable, so they serving those who truly have no other access to capital.