Running the Mekong: Laos - South China Sea

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by DavidFL, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    MEKONG RIVER RUN 2012-2013

    In November 2012, Team ECCT comprising two South Africans, David Crombie (Sports Scientist) and Mark Barron (Veterinary Surgeon) will attempt an historic world first by running the Mekong River from Laos to the South China Sea.
    This trans-country challenge starts where the Lancang River, that runs through China become known as the Mekong River when it crosses the Laos border at the Golden Triangle of China, Myanmar and Laos. From there if flows through Laos, Cambodia and ends at the South China Sea in South Vietnam. The distance run will be approximately 3000kms. Given the nature of the route it will arguably be one of the most grueling ultra trail runs ever undertaken. For both athletes it will combine a quest for the ultimate personal physical and mental challenge driven by an abiding passion for making a difference by raising funds for the Endurance Challenge Charity Trust that cares for orphaned children who are innocent victims of the HIV/Aids pandemic. Previous Team ECCT fundraising extreme ultras completed include the 2007 Himalayas 100 Miler in India/Nepal; 2008 Amazon Jungle Marathon 220km race in Brazil; and 2009 Kalahari Augrabies 250km desert race.


    3000KM; 3 COUNTRIES
    David and Mark will run as close as possible to the Mekong River at all times, taking into account the need to run on a de-mined route. They aim to average 250km per week (a standard marathon (42km) on six days out of every seven), for approximately three months.
    They will face extreme and relentless physical and mental demands, including, exhaustion, injuries, blisters, exposure to the elements to mention but a few. On the many isolated and inaccessible stretches of the river replenishing food supplies and water will be a major difficulty.
    A support crew will accompany the runners in a four-wheel drive vehicle for the duration of the run. Where the route makes this support option impossible, David and Mark will run self-sufficient with backpacks until able to reunite with the support vehicle.

    The Lancang River originates at an altitude of approximately 5,250m in the east edge of Tibet Mountains in the Yung-Nan Province, China and runs south to the Golden Triangle.
    Only when it crosses through the border of Laos PDR and Myanmar is it known as the Mekong River.
    From here it continues to run south through the border of Laos PDR and Thailand.
    It takes some right tributaries from Thailand and then runs into Cambodia.
    In Cambodia it takes some right tributaries, including the Tonlesap River from the Great Lake.
    After crossing the border into South Vietnam if forms the vast Mekong Delta and finally runs into the South China Sea

    Team ECCT comprises David Crombie (Sports Scientist) and Mark Barron (Veterinary Surgeon). As support, Yan Sijun will accompany the runners in a four-wheel drive vehicle for the duration of the run.

    David is the Founding Trustee of ECCT. He has a PhD in Sports Science, and is currently a Research Fellow at the Sports Science Institute, University of Cape Town. His running pedigree extends to over 100 standard marathons…including New York and Boston, and 30 ultras such as Two Oceans, Comrades, and Washie. For many years David has actively raised funds for various charities through his running, most notably the Helen Keller Society for the Blind, who received the profits of a book he wrote to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Washie, the oldest 100 Miler in South Africa. In 2007 David was a member of Team ECCT that ran the Himalayas 100 Mile Stage Race in India; 2008 the Amazon Jungle 220km Marathon; 2009 the Kalahari Augrabies 250km Extreme Marathon.

    Mark (flanked in the photo by his ”hareem”…L-R: Robyn, Bryony, Jenny, Bielle, Storm) started running while doing national military service in 1978, when he heard that those running Comrades would get a week’s leave. Since then he has run more than one Comrades, Two Oceans, Washie, Puffer, Otter trail run, as well as various road marathons and trail/mountain runs. However, although 58 years young he doesn’t think he’ll be doing more than one Mekong River Run…yet given his love for the great outdoors he doubts he will be hanging up his running shoes for a while.

    Senior tour guide and production manager of Green Discovery Mr Thongkhoon Sayalath will be in charge of our support crew, and draw on local guides in Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam. Mr. Thongkhoon is the entire package! Born in the northwestern province of Sayaboury, Thongkhoon left his rural village to gain a higher education at the ComCenter College in Vientiane. After graduating with a Bachelor in Business Management, he went on to begin a career as a tour guide in eco tourism. Perhaps it was his childhood he often spent outdoors that made Thongkhoon quickly one of Green Discovery’s most sought-after tour guides. Receiving outstanding feedback from tourists, he also became soon the ‘darling’ of film crews from around the world including BBC, NHK, and Television France for tour fixing and interviews. A born entertainer, Thongkhoon enthralls but also informs his clients with fascinating stories while in the field. Students of all ages and from various countries such as the UK, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong are in safe hands when experiencing an adventure tour guided by Thongkhoon.

    The Mekong River Run challenge received a significant boost with Green Discovery, pre-eminent Eco Adventure organisers in Laos becoming our major sponsor in Asia. Team ECCT will benefit enormously from their expertise and commitment, in particular they will ensure we are provided with suitable 4×4 transportation, and a local driver and guide, not only for the Laos section of the route, but also Cambodia and South Vietnam.

    For more info
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  3. HTWoodson

    HTWoodson Ol'Timer

    Wait till they encounter the soi dogs along the way. 3000km of dogs biting at your ankles will make exhaustion and blisters seem like nothing.

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