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On the run in Madagascar for 250kms in 36 degree heat

Kevin Swanepoel has returned to Rockhampton after completing a 250km ultra marathon in Madagascar. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Kevin Swanepoel has returned to Rockhampton after completing a 250km ultra marathon in Madagascar. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

YOU'D have to be crazy to run 250km in 36 degree heat through rough terrain voluntarily.

But that's just the kind of challenge Kevin Swanepoel lives for.

The 42-year-old Rockhampton environmental manager based at Stanwell Power Station recently spent seven days running an ultra marathon through Madagascar as part of the Racing the Planet series.

The funny thing is, Swanepoel used to hate running.

"In my early days I used to avoid running like the plague," he said.

"But when I went to university I got into running and it's gone from there. I used to do quite a few half-marathons (21.1km) then I wanted to challenge myself so last year I set myself the challenge of moving into ultra running which is anything above the standard marathon distance of 42km.

Kevin Swanepoel from Rockhampton during Racing The Planet Madagascar 2014. Photo Contributed
Kevin Swanepoel from Rockhampton during Racing The Planet Madagascar 2014. Photo Contributed Contributed

"I like running and just generally being out there in the world."

Swanepoel joined 234 runners of 40 different nationalities in the Madagascar event which he described as a huge mental and physical test.

"It was tiring and it was definitely a challenge," Swanepoel said.

"I knew it was going to be difficult. The terrain was pretty flat but especially over the first three days the beach runs and even when you moved inland in the sand dunes it was really thick sand so that was a challenge.

"It was 36 degrees every day so between the distance, carrying your own gear the whole way, the sand and the heat, it was definitely interesting.

Surviving on dehydrated rations, chocolate and powdered drinks each day before sharing a tent with six other runners each night, Swanepoel said it was sheer personal commitment that got him to the finish line.

Weeks food supply for Kevin Swanepoel for Racing The Planet madagascar 2014. Photo Contributed
Weeks food supply for Kevin Swanepoel for Racing The Planet madagascar 2014. Photo Contributed Contributed

"I just knew it was a challenge I had set myself in terms of I'd been working towards it for two years," he said.

"I've always liked to challenge myself both within a work situation and outside of work situation and I think challenge is always good for people."

Swanepoel was expecting 'ease himself back into training' on Sunday when he joined 150 other competitors in the 21.1km Subway Half-marathon at the Capricorn Coast Running Festival.

Competitors sometimes had to give way to traffic. Kevin Swanepoel - Racing The Planet Madagascar 2014. Photo Contributed
Competitors sometimes had to give way to traffic. Kevin Swanepoel - Racing The Planet Madagascar 2014. Photo Contributed Contributed

Topics:  madagascar marathon running