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Matthew Chapman and Oscar Fuchs Triumph in Namibia Ultra Marathon

The Racing the Planet event has concluded in Lüdertiz, Namibia, on Saturday 23 May. Matthew Chapman and Oscar Fuchs of The Chapman Consulting Group triumphed to complete the race and finish in the top 20% of competitors. They are currently on their way back to Singapore. For first-hand details on the gruelling race, see Chapman’s blog which was widely followed on the RacingThePlanet site at http://www.4deserts.com/blogs/index_namibia.php?pid=NDk3&blog=15.

Over the course of the 7 days, Chapman and Fuchs were part of a field of 220 competitors from more than 38 countries who completed the 250km foot race from Fish River Canyon to Lüderitz in Namibia. The race lived up to the race organiser’s expectations that it would be the toughest ever. Running an average of a marathon each day in up to 40 degrees Celsius heat, Chapman and Fuchs ran down canyons, across ankle-breaking rock fields, across scalding desert plains and over incredibly high sanddunes before finishing at the Skeleton Coast. Carrying packs of 8kg both carried all their supplies including food, medical equipment and clothing.

This was Chapman’s fifth distance race, following the completion of four previous ultra-marathons between 2004 and 2006 in the driest, windiest, hottest and coldest deserts in the world – Atacama (Chile), Gobi (China), Sahara (Egypt) and Antarctica. For Fuchs, this was his first long-distance event and a formidable achievement for a newcomer.

Part of Chapman’s mission in running deserts over the past three years has been to bring greater profile to the concept of work/life balance among both the HR and business communities in Singapore and across Asia. In order to successfully complete these running events he has found its important to keep pace, fluid intake, food intake and mental state very much in equilibrium in order to safely make it across the finish line 250km later.

According to Chapman “going beyond one’s limits in any of these areas during the race can cause imbalances which can inevitably lead to the risk of not finishing. So the key to a person’s performance is in knowing when to push oneself and when to ease off; in not missing any regular water or food stops; and in trying not to let minor disappointments or injuries that can unpredictably happen during the race affect one’s ability to keep going”.

Chapman has felt that there is a parallel in this approach to running to that of managing long-term career paths. “There are times when we need to work long hours, take late night conference calls, or travel intensively, often at the expense of living healthily or spending time with our families”, says Chapman. “However as an ongoing practice, it’s important to work out a similar level of equilibrium in the long term, otherwise we also risk ‘burning out’ before reaching our planned career finish line” added Chapman.

It is Chapman’s belief that HR and Business Leaders who properly understand the work/life balance concept fare significantly better in reaching the full potential of their careers. “Those companies and leaders that can educate their employees to embrace the true meaning of sustainable work practices stand the best chances of improving employee attraction and retention, particularly in regards to those illusive high performers”, suggests Chapman.​

About RacingThePlanet

RacingThePlanet’s mission is to challenge individuals to go beyond their athletic frontiers while exploring the most remote landscapes and ancient cultures on the planet; to inspire all aspiring individuals with a life-enhancing experience; and to improve the lives of ethnic minorities and tribes in the areas we explore. See www.racingtheplanet.com

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