Posts Tagged ‘Empowerment’
I find myself back in the Yukon having said I would probably miss this year. Its now the 5th year I’ve ventured and more and more the North seems to suck me back into the wilderness and beauty that it exudes.
The team this year is myself, Tom Barber and Heidi McGuire. Tom has been with me the last three trips I’ve made and Heidi I met in 2009 on the YAU. I can’t imagine better people to work with and combined with the OTC team and Yukon Quest team, I am really looking forward to the next two weeks of trail, fun, tiredness and usual battles to get the job done.
Already the curveballs have started and the main one has been the weather. The heaviest snow the Yukon has seen for years has all but been discarded by the spring like temperatures of the last week or so. The roads are near clear and the trail is very different. But this does not hold the Quest back. In fact it probably enhances it. Teams will have to be at their best to win this year. Now that the temperatures have fallen again, there will be ice, and possibly overflow. All great stuff for the thinking musher!
Its these conditions or changing conditions that make this such a great race. Like some of the desert stuff I cover, it can be very unpredictable, very demanding and a great challenge. If it were the same each year, how easy that would be to calculate? How boring would it be to follow? The North will always have its say whatever.
We drive up to Fairbanks tomorrow and a few nights of functions before the action start and then we set off back to Whitehorse. We will be posting videos and images along the route and your participation is vital. Comments, posts, opinions (not to strong of course) and questions on Facebook and Twitter.
Give us your thoughts on who you want to win, or if you don’t mind.. Our stories will be unique as they always are as the trail will, Im sure, give us plenty to talk about. Can Hugh Neff do it again or will Allen Moore pip him to the post. Or will we have a new winner this year? Will Normand be the darling of the race? Or will that go back to Brent Sass again.. Is it Brent’s year to hold that trophy?
Well, by the 10th Feb we should know the answers to those questions so here’s to the Yukon Quest 2014. Im toasting with a glass of red in the High Country Inn, Whitehorse!
See you on the trail
Some of you will have read about YES 2014. Its a part of what I do and I give my time for six months to hopefully make a difference to 12 young peoples lives. I can’t do it regularly because its all consuming and I do not want tomake business out of it. The cost for 12 children to go is around £40,000 and I am reaching out to anyone who might be able help. Very soon we will have a giving page but in the mean time I am looking for one or two people who might like to underwrite this in its entirety. I meet many people who could afford this but the key to wanting to help is, if you feel a connection to helping? Basically the youth today are the future and will be here long after we are gone.. They will be making decisions that will correct a lot of what we have done wrong in our time. This is why its close to me. Please read the info on our FB page, share it or send to someone who might help. If you want more information please private message me.
Or call me on +447973 690087
There is a difference this time in that we are not solely working with bereaved youths or charities. We are now reaching out to any young person who might have a history or that has experienced a disruptive development or teenage years, no matter what. There are so many young people today affected by environment, parents, divorce, food, drugs, gangs, you name it, its out there. We live in a world that throws so much crap at us from an early age and then tries to make us feel better with a few gadgets and toys.. YES is a whole lot more that. It offers its participants the chance to get away from the environment they are currently in. It throws some huge challenges along the way and most importantly the desert does its “stuff” and gives us all a chance to reset. A little like re formatting your hard drive, re installing the operating software and then getting on with work.. Only YES is in a life sense.
Go to our Facebook page to find out more and if you really are interested, contact me through any of these platforms for an initial chat.
This is a portfolio of the Marathon des Sables 2013… Click the “more” to see all the images.
MDS 2013 Roundup
This years MDS was as unique as any. I suppose the only constant is the toughness. There were new faces, returning faces, young faces, and old faces. There were race winners and life winners and those who did not make the end. But without doubt everyone will go home with an experience of a lifetime.
Covering the MDS has always been a real pleasure for me. Not because of the race but more for what the desert throws up at us. It strips us back to the raw. Show us who we really are. It then asks us to live it in a way no other environment I have visited has ever achieved. This bit I still cannot explain but if you ever have the privelege to spend time with bedouin, you will find no truer human beings.
I have travelled to deserts for 30 years now. Made private expeditions, taken children across them, many adults to the Middle East Empty Quarter and I have run the MDS as well as returned for the last 7 years to photograph it. It never disappoints. Read the rest of this entry »
I just came down my stairs this morning full of thoughts about the last year, people I had met and places I had been to.. I wrote to the closest person in my life all these fleeting thoughts to share them… And then I thought I would share a few here…
I have been so lucky for so long even if not always realising it. But one thing I hold dear is the the world we live and the people who make up that world.. In all my travels these last years I have met the most fantastic people in so many parts of the world. This morning I woke to an email form Friends in Yellowstone, a text from the top of Jebel Shams in Oman, a reply about a project in Kampala from a great friend in the US, a message from Madrid where a friend is realising her business dreams and last night I spent time on the phone to AK to sort some of my next project detail with a guy who really has become a great friend too….. Scott.
The last year has seen so many good projects happen but more important are the many relationships I have built along the way.. From the Yukon to the Sahara, Kuwait and Madrid to Cairo and Oman. I met up with my old friend of 28 years ago, Bob Brinker and his wife with a surprise party in Munich.. And I travelled back to another party in Paris of someone very special too…
The above video is just a snap shot of the year we have had making short films.. I have coached a few people around the world too and its been so good to watch their success along the way.. All with so much hard work attached and not always an easy road..
2013 will be another year of coaching and filming projects.. Some carrying on from 2012, some new. But this time next year you will see a different showreel. One that will see our first full length productions come to fruition. One that looks into the lives of some very special people in this world…
I would like to wish everyone who reads my blog, everyone I know or have come into contact with, a great Christmas and a beautiful 2013 and I would like to thank everyone who has worked these projects with me, put up with my grumpy 50 year old bits and given me huge smiles.. In order of projects, Tom, Ariel, Scott, Emily, Rob, Romain, Maite, Brett, Tracey, Becky, Angela, Chloe, Tez, Ines, Teresa, Alfonso, Jaime, All those at Street Child in Seirra Leone and to everyone who has allowed us to film, employed us, been a part of those projects or just simply bumped into us annoying everyone with GoPro’s and DSLR’s… And of course my daughter Emily for letting me be me!
A few more vids are here https://vimeo.com/user11352453
It’s that time of year again when all the MDS runners start to think seriously about what they have signed up for… “have I done enough training”, “Am I doing enough training”, “Oh God, what have I done”…… And so on.
But its a great time to as the next 16 weeks gives you some of your best training opportunities. With time off during the holidays and good food around, running for a few hours in the hills just makes it all such a pleasure.
Everyone who runs the MDS has a story. Some of them may seem quite simple some quite amazing but they are all stories and important to the person they belong to.
I thought I’d post this showreel from last year and also invite any runners with good stories to get in touch… I have a few commissions already but would like to hear your story if you are willing to tell it… I can help you document it if you need me to… Some I will post here, some I will pitch to the press. Some I will leave… However, they do all matter.
Here is a teaser to keep you going and do a search here for MDS stuff. There is plenty to read under “coaching” Marathon des Sables” “Endurance” and “adventure”
Here is the link to the African Safari Workshop… It really is a unique poortunity to join Rebecca and myself in South Africa.
I have now finalised the African Safari DSLR workshop thanks to Rebecca Hart who worked so hard to pull together much of the information for the trip.
We will work together on personal filming projects and are inviting participants to join us, work alongside and learn from the workshop sessions between game drives and bush walks that I will deliver during the time on Safari.
All the details are in this document – African Safari Workshop – so please contact me/us if you are interested in joining the trip.
As camp Marathon des Sables packs up for another year, both runners and volunteers are en route back to Ouarzazate.
For a showreel of the highs and lows and a slideshow finale of those special, finish-line-crossing moments, check back in a couple of hours. While the images and footage upload, I leave you with a poem.
Westward Bound, by Jon Blais, the ALS Warrier Poet
More than your neighbours.
Unleash youself upon the world and go places.
Giggle, no, laugh.
No…stay out past dark,
And bark at the moon like the wild dog that you are.
Understand that this is not a dress reheasrsal.
This is it…your life.
Face your fears and live your dreams.
Take it in.
Yes, every chance you get…
And, by all means, whatever you do…
Get it on film.
Nobody at the beginning thought that it would be possible to run with a pack and the expedition aspect was an extra bonus. You need to manage calories, hydration, your effort, your rest, your recovery and I think it’s all these elements that make the event so special. It’s the concept, the cocktail of the desert, the running and the self sufficiency that create the success of the event.
- Race director Patrick Bauer talking to TalkUltra (Episode 5 MDS Part One)
A selection of runner’s share their experience at the end of day 3. Footage shot using multiple GoPro Hero cameras:
Well, if you followed us at the Yukon Quest and loved that then follow us at the Marathon des Sables in April.
The race is 250 Km through the Sahara and runners carry all their own gear and food for 7 days.. It is run over 6 stages looking a little like this… Day 1 – 28km, day 2 – 35km, day 3 – 38km, day 4/5 – a huge 80km, day 6 – 42km and day 7 – 21km.. So pretty damn tough.
Runners will battle temperatures of up to 50 degrees, blisters and soreness like never before, total exhaustion and inevitably some will drop out… They cover sand dunes that go for ever, mountains and valley salt flats on a daily basis. This years race will be as exciting as ever so go to those FB sites and follow it through here…
We will for the first time be filming it with GoPro and mobile cams and uploading to the social networks as we go along… Images will also be uploaded to the official site on a daily basis… I will upload blogs for the English-speaking runners and supporters and other reports can be seen on the official site www.darbaroud.com and the Facebook pages mentioned earlier… There is no shortage of information coming out of the desert from the 7th April. No excuse not know what happening deep in the Sahara.
Search this site for older articles from previous years to get a flavour.. It’s the toughest footrace on earth.
I left Whitehorse two weeks back after spending three weeks following the Yukon Quest. Now I sit in a cafe working through images, planning for my next adventure, planning for the new business SuitCase Media & Productions. Well, not necessarily new but the growth of my business and who I actually am.
But this part of the world, North America, has really stolen a piece of my heart. The land, the skies and the people.. I fell in love with Alaska and the Yukon.
I have tried to put my finger on what it is as I have travelled to some pretty great places over the last 30 years. I have seen most of the world and many cultures… I have fallen in love with many places but on a different level. It’s almost like I was at home when following the Quest.
I love the way people live. Purchasing things that were necessary not as here in the malls where you can buy a gazillion things you don’t need. Clothes to fill your already full wardrobe, covers for your phone for which some people must have a separate wardrobe too, another pair of shoes for Wednesdays! All rubbish, all fashion but not necessary.
What I noticed in Alaska and Yukon was that everyone had a truck because they needed one. Needed it to carry the wood for the fire. A beautiful fire but a necessary one. Many have a skidoo for the same. They need it for their livelihood to to get about. Shops in the main street sell goods that are necessary and in Whitehorse the exceptions were goods for tourists which provides and income for the residents.
But more than this too there is a cosmopolitan feel to Whitehorse. People from around the world and all ages. A good youth culture and a feeling of modernity without brash flashiness. As I walked the streets during my last days it was beginning to warm up and I wanted to stay behind to witness Spring. To see the rivers break. I imagined getting back to Dawson to see the ice bridge break up and the hills come alive with the sun. And see the carnival atmosphere of the towns when Spring finally takes hold.
I did not stay, though, and am now in UK and off to Paris tomorrow. Then Barcelona on Tuesday. Both beautiful places that many people dream to visit so I am grateful for everything I have and everywhere I have been, and the piece of my heart I left in North America will still be there when I return. I hope that will be soon and I have many people I would like to meet up with again.
A final note is “good luck” to Lance,, Brent, Kristy and Hugh Neff in the Iditarod.. I don’t think I left anyone out.
Images of Dawson and our time in the City….
We are now into our last day in Dawson City and I find myself not wanting to move on. Its a beautiful town at the base of Midnight Dome on the Yukon river. This time of year the river is frozen over and bridges to the community on the other bank but come spring the bridge disappears and only with a long drive can you get you to the other side… The town is made up of traditional western style buildings and walking the streets brings back memories of series like The Virginian and High Chaparelle. Its the most gorgeous city and not one to spend only a few days in.
Our hotel, the El Dorado is typical with a large bar, simple dining and pool tables at the back. There is also the Downtown and for eating the best lace in town must be the Drunken Goat whee the food is just perfect.
Its now -20 degrees and in a few months the river will flow again, the paddle steamer will fill with tourists and the hills will be a lush green with hikers and walkers roaming the paths.. I want to come back and see the spectacle of the river breaking and spring taking hold but know I won’t have time this year. Perhaps next.
Now my mind is back on the Yukon Quest and getting our images out for the organisation and the videos made to help promote the race. A race that is now well and truly in my blood.
Well, here I am at 7 am.
Sleep was between 3 and 5am and now I am trying to force my body into action each time a musher approaches.. Not easy, I can assure you.
Its relatively quiet in the press room with only a handful whereas last night it was heaving with press, cameramen, radio people as well as tourists who have come to watch..
The quest seeps into my blood more each day. Having run endurance I understand their need to complete this. Their thirst for finishing, thirst for winning and their desire to push themselves to the limits of human endurance. The hardest part is the mental. They will be feeling exhausted and elated at the same time. Physically drained yet energised with the power of their achievement. Their minds will be playing games. “Why?” “What for?” “Never again” and usually only minutes after finishing in Whitehorse they will be talking of their next race….. But what makes these guys special is that they also need to care for their team . 12-14 dogs that need feeding, sleep and looking after. This make this event far tougher than met I have witnessed….
We have another week or so on the journey to Whitehorse and who knows who will take the prize. What is clear is that all are winners.
The relatively little known Yukon Quest is one of the most powerful events I have witnessed.
I am here in the Yukon, Dawson City to be precise, and have travelled from Kuwait to London then Fairbanks to get here… Our (photography team) remit? to cover the Yukon Quest providing top notch images and GoPro video of the competitors……
I have been sucked in to this race already and cannot believe the performance of the mushers.. Tough, focussed, and basically the hardest human beings I have met.
They set off from Fairbanks on a 1000 mile quest to reach Whitehorse sledding with their teams throughout the beautiful but hostile wilderness of the Alaskan and Yukon Arctic. There are checkpoints and food along the way but many of them elect to sleep out, care for their dogs and keep moving rather than succumb to the warmth of a cabin for a few hours… With temperatures usually below -20c and often to -40c or colder this is an unbelievable race to witness.
I am now in Dawson City the half way point and where the teams must break for 36 hours before the final leg to Whitehorse. We are currently GoProing up the city, the start line and anything that moves.. Our first production can be seen on the previous post so check that awesome piece of work edited by Tom Barber…. Images above…. and on my Facebook and the Yukon Quest Facebook….