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Fastest At World’s End / Sidetracked

[:en]For as long as I’ve been writing about adventures, I have wanted to have my work published at Sidetracked. If you don’t know already, it’s a beautiful online selection box of far-flung journeys, unexpected encounters and daring deeds – sharply penned with startling photography.

Sidetracked Pull QuoteThe editor-in-chief John Summerton doesn’t just pick up any pitch, but on my 3rd attempt in September 2015, with a promised story about our attempt to run the Fastest Known Time around the 100km “O” trek at Torres del Paine – it looked like I might have a story. The hardest part was initially getting the photography up to standard (which took two separate trips to Chilean Patagonia,) and then the envisaged angle about macho endeavor in an inhospitable land just didn’t want to go down on the page like that. (The run itself was much easier.)

Eventually it did come together (thanks for your patience and giving me a shot in the first instance John) and you can now read “Fastest At The World’s End” online.

Click below to begin reading at Sidetracked. 

Sidetracked - Portfolio V Fastest At World's End[:es]For as long as I’ve been writing about adventures, I have wanted to have my work published at Sidetracked. If you don’t know already, it’s a beautiful online selection box of far-flung journeys, unexpected encounters and daring deeds – sharply penned with startling photography.

Sidetracked Pull QuoteThe editor-in-chief John Summerton doesn’t just pick up any pitch, but on my 3rd attempt in September 2015 – with a promised story about our attempt to run the fastest time around the 100km “O” trek at Torres del Paine – it looked like I might have a story.

The hardest part was initially getting the photography up to standard (which took two separate trips to Chilean Patagonia,) and then the envisaged angle about macho endeavour in an inhospitable land just didn’t want to go down on the page like that. (The run itself – although we never got near to that allusive fastest time – went much smoother than the article!)

Eventually it did come together, thanks to the incredible patience of my very talented running partner and friend James Donald, and also to John Summerton for giving me a shot in the first place. You can now read “Fastest At World’s End” online.

Click below to begin reading at Sidetracked. 

Sidetracked - Portfolio V Fastest At World's End[:]

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The Runners of Rapa Nui / Men’s Running

[:en]In the May issue of Men’s Running there’s a story of some of the planet’s remotest people.

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…So remote in fact that for 500 years they thought they were the only people left on Earth.

Yet regardless of outside influence, the runners of Rapa Nui take their sport incredibly seriously. They compete in the traditional hami loincloth and in some events carry a 20kg load of bananas, as featured below in the Hanga Vare Vare relay race. Iconically, the finish line to this race was at the foot of one of the island’s distinctive moai statues – Ahu Riata.

The article and photos were written during a three week stay on the island during the Tapati festival: A cultural celebration of traditional sport, handicraft, dance, drama and music. Publications also at BBC Travel (slow to load) and Picture of The Day at The Guardian.

Rapa Nui oringial from Men's running trimmed

 [:es]In the current issue (May, 2016) of Men’s Running there’s a story about one of the world’s remotest people.

Runners of Rapa Nui singular with press

…So remote in fact that for 500 years they thought they were the only people left on Earth.

Yet regardless of outside influence, the runners of Rapa Nui take their sport incredibly seriously. They compete in the traditional hami loincloth and in some events carry a 20kg load of bananas, as featured below in the Hanga Vare Vare relay race. Iconically, the finish line to this race was at the foot of one of the island’s distinctive moai statues – Ahu Riata.

The article and photos were written during a three week stay on the island for the Tapati festival: A cultural celebration of traditional sport, handicraft, dance, drama and music. Publications also at BBC Travel (slow to load) and Picture of The Day at The Guardian.

Men's Running - The Runners of Rapa Nui -[:]

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The story behind the cover shot / Ultra magazine

Front cover Ultra mag

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Larking around with issue 2 of Ultra on day 4 of our recce. Kindly supplied by Ultra ed. Andy Nuttall

When you get your copy of the superlative independent UK running magazine, Ultra (issue 4) – you’ll read how we fastpacked a four day recce of the circuit before attempting the run. Torres del Paine was named the 8th Wonder of The World in 2013 and we wanted to experience it in all its mystery and majesty before attempting to push rudely round in just one day.

On the second day of the fastpack, we reached the top of the John Gardner pass – the highest point of the trek that usually takes 8 days to complete. Here we had our first view down to Glacier Grey – a leviathan of ice that runs hundreds of miles, swallowing mountains in its path. The temperature hovered around zero, and for about the fifth time that day I asked James:

“Mate, whip off your trousers and we’ll get a shot in our running shorts!”

“You can F*** right off if you think I’m stripping off for you here…”

There would be no time on the run to stop here, and I certainly wouldn’t be carrying any decent camera gear during the attempt. It was now or never.

Just at that moment, a porter emerged on the pass. I set the camera to continuous shooting mode, wacked up the F-Stop to pull the glacier in and got the poor chap squatting at an angle where the composition was right. We dropped our heavy rucksacks, grabbed the vests we would use for the 1 day push and started jogging with that comically high knee style that can help imply movement in running shots. The porter clearly thought we were lunatics – but fired away.

So, no man leaning out of a helicopter in a harness – just a couple of guys trying to share the adventure they were about to set out on – round one of the most spectacular trails on Earth.

And when we really did begin, it was 2am Patagonia time. Out there, on those moonlit trails, there was an even more shocking surprise than that great glacier – It was waiting for us, silently in the dark….

Here’s where you can read more.matt full circle (1)

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A crazy sport created by isolation / BBC

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the Rapa Nui people believed for 500 years they were the only people left on Earth.

The BBC were interested in how the Rapa Nui’s February festival of Tapati expresses the character and story of these remote island people. I spent three weeks on Easter island. This article for BBC Travel explores what I found.

Read Article (International)               

Read Article (UK Version – slow to load)

 

 

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Picture of the Day / the Guardian

I snapped this shot on the third day of the Tapati festival on Easter Island. It was published in The Guardian online earlier this month. Click to see more at The Guardian

DSC05543 - for Photography section wesbite (1)

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Running the “O” loop at the 8th Natural Wonder of the World

[:en]Last Wednesday at 2:06 am under a full moon James Donald and I set out on the 8day trek at Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia. Our plane was leaving in just 52 hours. We hoped to run it in one continuous push, carrying all our own equipment and be back at the Camping Torres in time for a beer before the store shut…

In the next few weeks and months there will be photos and words published about the trip.

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Sneak Preview: Teetering over the suspension bridge above Glacier Grey at km60. At this point we had another 40km and 7 hours of running left to cover. We had only 6 remaining energy gels between us…

Thanks to the support from my friend Rene Castel at Cabra del Monte energy bars, and Andy Nuttall at Ultra Magazine

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