It was at the end of April this year that Pete Fleck and I took a leap into the unknown and signed up to race across Madagascar in the 4 Deserts 2014 Roving Race.

A 250km self-supported running race was something the likes of which neither of us had ever attempted, but we knew that if we were to undertake this challenge, we would have to do it properly. Not only were we excited about the competitive nature of the event, but we were also eager to try and do some good, and so decided to attempt to raise R300 000 for the Good Work Foundation during the course of our training.

Starting small in both donations and training, we steadily progressed from $100 dollar donations and 5km runs to 50km runs with 10kg backpacks on and some individual donations topping $4000!

The race was tough. Understatement. It was long, hot, and took us through some pretty brutal terrain. But ultimately, long hours of preparation and sticking together as a team is what got us through.

We ended up hitting our target in our fund-raising drive, finishing with a total of R300 000 raised for the GWF.


James Tyrrell, flanked by fellow ranger Jess Boon (left), Londolozi Head Ranger Kate Imrie (right) and GWF CEO Kate Groch (far right), holds the Pink Tree of Knowledge which he accepted on behalf of himself and Pete Fleck as a recognition by the GWF of their fundraising efforts. Photograph by Ryan James

I’ll let the video take you through the rest of it, but I’d just like to take this opportunity to extend an enormous thank you to those who donated and those who supported us through our training and the race itself.

And of course, my biggest thank you goes to Pete Fleck, a true gentleman, who is quite simply the best training and racing partner I could have asked for.

We’re already thinking of entering another one… watch this space…

Written and Filmed by James Tyrrell

Photograph by Ryan James

Filed under Wildlife

About the Author

James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills were well developed, and he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team as a result. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the photographic skills ...

More stories by James


on RunMadagascar: The Result
    Anna says:

    Brilliant blog! So great to see where you actually were.
    Pete – hurry up home now, I have a big plate of congratulatory deliciousness for you!

    Leslie Backus says:

    Congratulations! I can’t even imagine the drive it took to complete those races….and for such a worthy cause.

    Dave Mills says:

    Absolutely amazing. Great feat for James and Pete, and great good for GWF. Congratulations.
    (And delightful to see photo of Jess and Kate, who charmed our Backroads group in March 2014. Hi to you both.)

    Wendy Hawkins says:

    FANTASTIC ACHIEVEMENT GUYS! Congratulations to you both on a great placing on such a tough race! You both deserve a month’s break to recover, but I know that you James have been back at work straight after that πŸ™‚

    Merle says:

    Congratulations! I’m proud of you. Not only finishing but placing so high among the competitors. I’m thrilled to have been a small contributor to your R300000 before you took off. Looking forward to your next race!

    Jill Grady says:

    LOVE this blog and video, and astounding, incredible accomplishment James and Pete!! Congratulations to you both! I loved reading your blog posts each leg of the race and following along to see how you were doing and was continually in awe of your perseverance, determination and your ability to dig deep and continue on to the end. Absolutely fantastic!!

    Jill Grady says:

    What was the song you used in the video James? It’s beautiful.

    Martin Foster says:

    Admiration and applause for both of you!

    Rhys Hamilton says:

    Brilliant Guys- we know how hot Madagascer gets and you guys must have been leaping along like a couple of jumping Sifakas– and in that heat— great respect!

    Jenny says:

    Absolutely fantastic! Congratulations guys and well done on achieving both your goal for GWF and for pushing yourselves through the physical boundaries.

    Ryan James says:

    Jamo and Pete, on behalf of everyone at GWF, you guys are champions. Thank you!

    MJ says:

    Well done!! Amazing how far you can push yourself..
    It was wonderful to see the video of where you were..
    Thank you for sharing and for raising funds for such a worthy cause.

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