Beach & Bay Realty agent Natalie Vials told the office the story of Teneile Pawley, a 17 year old Sutherland Shire girl who suffered two cardiac arrests last year resulting in brain damage. Wanting to do something for Teneile’s family, we decided to set up a website and do some fundraising. Nat’s husband Steven Vials recently completed a 250km foot race through the Kimberley Region Western Australia in honour of Teneile, raising money and support along the way. Over $17,000 has been raised so far. Here is his final word. For previous blog entries please see here.
“Sorry I stopped blogging after day 3, but the physical effort of walking over rocks and uneven ground in thongs after I had taken my shoes of each day, just got too much..
So here’s what happened after Day 3.
Day 4….Into the Maze..
Up until today we had been on difficult or moderate terrain, today was listed as extremely difficult, so you understand what that means; it took us 6 hours to cover 17 kms. We spent the first 12km climbing in dry river beds and up and down hills covered with high spinifex and loose rocks underfoot. At the 12 km mark we reached the bottom of the valley and the start of a river, which of course we jumped straight into. The last 5 km was either walking or falling in the river, or walking on rocks at the side of the river, every step was interesting… we had a few falls, the current state of our feet meant that every step was a new experience in pain management, overtime your feet do go numb, so that’s a positive. Generally we were all in great spirits, it was a bit cooler at the base of the valley, and there was lots of water to cool us down. Mickey sang a few songs that echoed through the valley, I tried to play a trivia game, but was told to play it by myself, that way I would win….
The campsite that night was in the heart of the Maze, which is only accessible by wealthy people in a helicopter, and idiots like us on foot. No tents tonight just find yourself a place on the rocks and roll out your sleeping bag. There was a river to swim in and that was also our only water source..
So under clear skies in this incredible setting we went to sleep with a 100k day tomorrow…. My feet were bruised, blistered and pussy
Day 5 -100km..
I woke to clear skies…( clear skies suck) we started the 100km leg at 6:30 am with a 400 m swim in the river, fully clothed with our packs on our back, the first 10km was spent in and out of the river, and walking on the river bed, it was a great experience but very energy sapping, and the sun was already heating up big time. When we finally climbed out of the maze and reached the 10km Checkpoint at 10am, it had taken us 3.5 hours for the first leg. At this time I kind of lost it mentally, the thought of 90 more kms, with no cloud cover really played with my mind. Just after the checkpoint, I found the one bit of shade on the course and sat under a tree. I begged Mickey and Hully to go on without me, I told them I was done, they just laughed and told me to get up and walk. I tried again , I said I could not go on, they just laughed and told me to get up and walk. At that point I knew there was no other option, so I got up and we started the long walk.
It was fairly uneventful until the 30km checkpoint, when I lost it physically, I was severely dehydrated, we spent 1.5 hours at checkpoint three, while I received an IV, the boys just sat with me and waited patiently, they really were incredible, although Hully did make another one of our tentmates cry when they came through the checkpoint, but that’s another story.
From there on it really was just putting one bruised, blistered, infected foot in front of the other through the night. Checkpoints would come and go every 10 km, at which point we would lay down and elevate our feet for a bit, then go through the process, of getting starting again, the first steps were always hell, but after 15 mins, our feet would go numb and we could pick up the pace a bit.
We reached the 80km check point at 4:30am, and rewarded ourselves with a 30 minute sleep. At 5 am we headed out onto the Gibb River rd for the last 20 km, and of course the sun came up….and it was hot again, but we just kept plugging away, and arrived into camp at around 10am. We just hit our tent, after popping a few blisters, and doing some basic first aid to our feet, we just slept all day and night.
Day 6- 5 km
Even though we had finished the 100 the race wasn’t over until we finished a final 5 km leg. The hardest part was getting my feet back into my shoes, but after that it was OK.
We started of at 9:30, and just walked with our tent mates, Suze, Stu and Kelly, we told a few stories, and few lame jokes, and the time past fairly quickly.
We took turns crossing the finish line, Hully, Mickey and I crossed together, it was fairly emotional I couldn’t believe it was over.
Racing the Planet Australia was an incredible experience, at times I hated it , at times I loved it, it was way tougher than I ever imagined. The heat , the humidity, the terrain all combined to make every leg tough, and when you finally get back to camp each day, it is still 45 degrees, the water you drink is still hot, and you can still only eat what you have carried .so it never really stops.
I’ve met some incredible people.
My team mates Hully and Mickey were just phenomenal, without there support and patience, I definitely would not have finished, we had a lot of laughs along the way as well.
My other tent mates Dougie, Stu, Suze, Kelly, Dicky were a great group to come home to every night, and live in very close quarters with. We all supported each other, and once again had plenty of laughs despite the pain.
Thanks to everyone who donated to help Teneile, looks like we will hit $20,000 and I know that will make a difference. Many times over the week I thought of Teneile and her family , I am still very disappointed at myself for contemplating giving up , because I know they don’t have that option….Thanks again to Hully and Mickey, for pushing me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Thanks to Beach and Bay Realty , for all their help with the fundraising, I know the hours that you have all put in, and we have an incredible result because of your efforts.
Finally thanks to Natalie, Yvette and Remony, for there support in the lead up to, and during this adventure. You will always be the centre of my universe.
Thanks……………until next time I decide to do something really stupid”
The Kimberley Region, Western Australia