As promised, I will be updating from the island here all week with the goings on at Fuego y Agua ultras and Fuego y Agua Survival Run. I arrived on the island late Monday night after a quick nights sleep embarked on a busy day on Tuesday.
We started off with a tour of the hospital in Managua. The hospital is one of the sponsors for the event. We were all impressed at the level of care. Not only was it a great hospital by Nicaraguan standards but by any countries standards. It was nicer than many of the hospitals I have had the unfortunate opportunity to spend time in while in the US. The highlight of the tour was the children’s burn unit. It is one of the best in the world and gives free care to children who are badly burned and continues to treat them as they become adults.
After the hospital tour our group consisting of some of the best ultra runners in the sport, and familiar names in distance racing headed to the press conference with national Nicaraguan media. The guys included, Jamil & Nick Coury, Ian Sharman, Eric Orton, and Sean Meissner These guys are not only impressive but also a little intimating. As many races as I have done in the obstacle racing world these guys resumes include some of the most famous ultras in the world I only hope to be able to do a fraction of the races they have completed in my lifetime. I quickly realized I was surrounded by an impressive group of athletes.
The Coury brothers not only are incredible athletes themselves but they also race direct over twenty races a year with their Aravaipa Running. Jamil also holds the course record for the Mogion Monster a 100 mile race. Sean Meissner is here not only to cover the race for irunfar.com but he is also one of the top contenders for the 100K. He is a team Montrail runner. Ian Sharman was slated to race the 100K but is now is here as support for the race. Ian is a top ultra runner, having run over 170 ultras. He is a wealth of knowledge of the sport.
Lastly, Eric Orton a name that for any person who has read Born to Run might sound familiar. Eric was the coach for the author in the book. It’s been awesome picking his brain about Born to Run and his upcoming book The Cool Impossible. I got a chance to get a sneak peek at the cover of the book. It’s pretty cool and his book he shares the secrets behind his training technique. Looks like I have another book to add to my book list.
Over the last two days I have had the opportunity to not only get to pick their brain about racing but have spent a lot of time listening. I have learned about more races in the last few days then I even knew existed. Looks like I will be adding a few of the Coury brothers races to my schedule in 2014! As well not only are they racers but Eric, Sean and Ian are all also running coaches. I cannot think of a better way to prep for a 70K Survival Run than to be inspired by the stories they tell.
Most of Tuesday and Wednesday I spent with this group. After a long van ride from Managua on Tuesday we caught our first glimpses of Ometepe and one of the two volcanos on the island as we approached the ferry. There is one thing that is always interesting in a Central American country, the ferries. With two ferries in port we had the option of the large fairly new ferry that had us land over an hour from our destination or the other a small (almost fishing boat) ferry that would land two blocks from our hotel. We chose the latter option and it made all the difference.
The boat rocked back and forth as we crossed the large wavy lake to get to the island. It felt at many times as if we were at sea and not on a freshwater lake. As all of us found our own ways to relax with the rocking we made our way to Omepete port. It was a blast and had fun getting to know the crew. We arrived on the island checked into the hotel and experienced our first true Nicaraguan dinner. A fantastic way to end the first day.