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Beyond the Bale : Feb - Mar 08
By Kellie Penfold After tackling the Sahara Desert wearing wool, Victorian outdoor education teacher Shaun Bacon has given a Driza-Bone® Activ 100 per cent Australian Merino shirt an even tougher workout. The Driza-Bone® Activ range was developed in collaboration with AWI. Wearing one Activ shirt for seven days and nights in the Amazon jungle, Shaun (who was featured in the August- September Beyond the Bale) came seventh in last year's Jungle Marathon in Brazil -- considered one of the toughest races in the world and which, in 2007, attracted only two return competitors. In seven days, the event, which covers jungle trails and freshly cut tracks, is run over six stages. The longest stage is 90 kilometres and starts with a 250-metre swim -- just to get the body softened up for blisters. The event has a high drop- out rate, with almost half the 54 starters not completing the 2007 race, which was contested in conditions that led one competitor to comment: "There are three things certain in life -- death, taxes and that I will never go in the Jungle Marathon again." For Shaun, the event was a follow-up to his success in the Marathon des Sables (MDS), held in Morocco at the end of last March, where he covered 221 kilometres of the Sahara Desert in seven days and finished 77th in a field of 770.HewentontoaskaUSagentfortherace--amanwith eight MDSs to his credit -- what would be good preparation for the 2008 MDS. The agent suggested the Jungle Marathon because "once you do the Jungle Marathon, no other race seems scary or that tough". Again with sponsorship from Driza-Bone®, Shaun headed to Brazil after training in the Dandenong Ranges outside Melbourne. He simulated hot and humid conditions by wearing a wet Activ shirt under a dry shirt, with a windproof jacket and another tight-fitting shirt on top. One modification to his Activ shirt was to have his mother unpick the sides to waist height so the back could be tucked into shorts, preventing blisters from the backpack of supplies (which have to be carried during the race) while leaving the front open for ventilation. Another modification was to soak all his clothing and gear in pure pyrethrum prior to leaving Australia to stave off insects and wasps -- it worked well, resulting in only four wasp stings when other competitors had twice that number. "I was the only competitor not wearing a man-made fibre and people looked at me strangely because it was long-sleeved and wool," Shaun says. "I took one spare synthetic shirt, but I only wore that for a few minutes at camp one night and it felt strange, so I went back to my wet wool shirt." With 90 per cent humidity for the seven days there was never an occasion, even when sleeping, that the shirt was dry. Other synthetic-wearing competitors were regularly seen with their shirts off while running. "I had a plan to cut the sleeves off if I started to have mental hissy fits about being uncomfortable, but I never reached that stage," Shaun says. On his return to Melbourne at the end of October Shaun sought medical treatment for a foot infection from a blister about seven centimetres in diameter -- caused by running after swimming in "water you would never normally touch". However, his enthusiasm cannot be contained and he is already signed up for the 2008 MDS and has plans to one day compete again in the Jungle Marathon. In the meantime he hopes to work with Driza-Bone® on developing Merino wool underpants, leggings and shorts to help with muscle recovery and prevent chaffing. ú More information: www.drizabone.com, www.wildframes.com Wool goes wild in the jungle Fearless competitor Shaun Bacon chose a long-sleeved, Driza-Bone® Activ shirt for his seven-day ordeal in the Amazon -- the Jungle Marathon 15 OUTDOOR WEAR BEYOND THE BALE PHOTO: GIL SERIQUE,WWW.YOURAMAZON.ORG Shaun Bacon came seventh in the 2007 Jungle Marathon. Considered the toughest race in the world, it involves river crossings, night stages and very few repeat competitors.
Feb - Mar 08 Supplement
Apr - May 08