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Raja Ampat Ocean Rescue Run

Things have come a long way since I’ve been back home. My health has gotten much better, Ranny is doing incredible things in Raja Ampat and Friendly Drifter is evolving once more.

When I returned home, my body was weak, and my mind was cloudy. Doing normal daily activities resulted in muscle soreness the very next day. I was very anemic; it would take time for my body to create new red blood cells. I took it relatively easy for the first 2 weeks, trying to rest as much as possible. At this point it was unclear if I could continue with my plan to run 2700 km in April. It would take time to see how quickly my body would recover. I certainly didn’t want to make promises I couldn’t keep. My first training run was mid-January. I didn’t have any goals, I just wanted to hit the pavement and get my legs moving, no matter how slow or short the run was. I managed to run 500 meters to the first hill and had to turn back. My chest was tight, my legs felt like jelly and my breathing was fast and shallow. Yes, my first outing was only 1km but I had to start somewhere. After a day of rest I doubled my distance, and so it began. I can comfortably say now that I am continuing with the run. I ran 55km last week and completed a 25km run on Wednesday. My strength still has a ways to go but my endurance is coming along nicely. Twenty pounds of muscle was lost during my struggle with malaria. When returning to the gym, I noticed decrease of 40% in muscle strength. The muscle was simply gone – in such a short period.

Some close family and friends questioned my eating habits. As some of you may know I am vegan. I have been vegetarian for 10 months and turned vegan 5 months ago. They questioned whether I was getting enough protein/iron in my diet, especially during my recovery. I have continued to stay vegan throughout this ordeal which is proof to me that my diet has enough nutrients to grow muscle and rebuild strength quickly.

About a month ago my Friendly Drifter partner Ranny, was guiding some guests in Raja Ampat. They stumbled upon large amounts of trash left by other tourists. She cleaned up the mess and took pictures of the area that she later posted on Facebook. There was a large outcry and extensive comments condemning these actions. Ranny suggested that rather than discussing these issues on Facebook, she challenged them to take action and do something about it. After some conversations they decided to create signage for the area, reminding tourists to pick up after themselves and to leave this area clean. Ranny will continue to do these types of activities throughout the islands in Raja Ampat.

Ranny also facilitates guests who wish to help local children. With donations she receives, she delivers text books, colouring books and clothes. These items are impossible to get in remote areas and the children love them. A first step is to create connections with children, then we will explore educational opportunities about their environment. Please contact me if you would like to donate to this cause.

Friendly Drifter Ocean Rescue Run t-shirts are now available. They will be awarded to those who donate $100 or more to our cause. Friendly Drifter will soon be a non-profit foundation. Please keep in mind; all proceeds go directly to Friendly Drifter initiatives. All expenses for myself personally and Ranny are privately funded. Sponsorship packages are also available for the run. If you know a business that may be interested in sponsorship, please share this link www.friendlydrifter.com/participate/. Package information is available on the page, or contact me directly at travel@friendlydrifter.com.

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