Only Two Racers Arrive Alive

The Survivor Run of the Fuego y Agua Ultra-marathon held on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua on February 16, 2013 was an incredible event. We volunteered in the Survival Run and were fortunate to be able to follow the Global News crew from one obstacle to another, up and down Maderas volcano, through the cloud forest, and across the beach.  I still can’t imagine running up and down the volcano, climbing and chopping down trees, carrying a chicken, then carrying 50 pounds of firewood (after being handcuffed by the police), balancing a 20 ft. bamboo pole for miles, digging a hole on the beach, and swimming to an island inhabited only by monkeys in the dark, dark night of the sweet, sweet sea. Twenty hours later, two racers arrived alive. Out of 37 racers, only two finished the race…Pac and my hero, Johnson, the winner. By the way, the other racers survived…barely!

The family that volunteers together, stays together.

The Goehring family portraitThe Global News video of the Survival Run is HERE. I hope you enjoy a glimpse of our island of peace and these amazing racers. It is a well-done 25 minute video. Enjoy.

One Heart: Paul captured the essence of Ometepe Island. Beautiful!


Being last has its privileges. Being last provides you with even more drive to do better next time. Being last enables you to witness your surroundings just a wee bit more. Being last allows you to capture that memorable footage of your journey on camera and then introduce that action as the very reason for why you were last. Pretty clever wouldn’t you say? No shame here. I was last.
I practice Buddhism. Not devoutly like my wife. Not always consistently, but I try. For whatever reason, I find myself on the fence with any organized religion. But I try. I do see the benefits usually when least expected.
Before I left for Nicaragua, my wife asked me to be sure to keep prayer in my heart during my run. She reminded me to thank the Guardians of the Law for my protection on the volcano.
Our theme for this…

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Survival of the Fittest

The Fuego y Agua Survival Run, held February 16th on Ometepe Island, as told through Charles Darwin quotes. At the bottom of the page, you can read several blogs from the Survival runners for details of their experiences.

“In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.” ~ Charles Darwin

chickens at starting line copy

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” ~ Charles Darwin


“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” ~ Charles Darwin

IMG_1919“An American Monkey after getting drunk on Brandy would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.” ~ Charles Darwin

Johnson in tree copy“The plow is one of the most ancient and most valuable of man’s inventions; but long before he existed the land was in fact regularly plowed, and still continues to be thus plowed by earthworms. It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures.” ~ Charles Darwin


“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” ~ Charles Darwin

Corinne snuggles with her chicken copy

“I am not apt to blindly follow the lead of other men.” ~ Charles Darwin

Johnson wins the Survival Race.

Johnson wins the Survival Race.

“Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.”~ Charles Darwin


“Blushing is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions.”~ Charles Darwin


Pac and Johnson blush with excitement. They are the only two finishers of the Survival Run.

“…for the shield may be as important for victory, as the sword or spear.”~ Charles Darwin

The four medals collected throughout the obstacle course

The four medals collected throughout the obstacle course

Blogs from the Survival Runners:

1. From the Tread

2. Barb Wire for Breakfast

3. A True Once in a Lifetime Adventure

4. Dirt in Your Skirt

5. I Did Fail: A Recap of the Craziest Race of My Life

Next post will be a recap of the 25K, 50K, 100K, and children’s 5K. Throughout the weekend, I was awed and inspired by the dedication, determination, and survival skills of all the competitors. Congratulations to everyone! It was an amazing race.

See You At The Races

Uncle Johnson with sleeping nephew Stephen

Ultramaratón Fuego y Agua takes place on Ometepe Island on February 18-19. Johnson, our 26 year-old friend, has been training for this grueling race since he won the 50 K race in 2009. At 4:00 am in 2009, the 50 K runners gathered at the starting line. An explosion of fireworks signaled the start, and the runners sprinted into the darkness; but, Johnson was not among them.  A few minutes later, two very confused runners arrived at the empty starting line. Johnson and another girl immediately took off in pursuit of the other runners. Ironically, Johnson had never raced in his life and he won with a time of 6:31.

A champion was born! Today, Johnson continues to hone his athletic abilities. A very talented and natural athlete, Johnson is serious about training. He is on the trail at 4:30 am every morning. Then, a quick breakfast before he starts work in the plantain fields at 7 am. In the evening, he takes to the trails, again. He is an amazing and very determined athlete.

Jose's marathon trophies

Jose, our neighbor, won the 25 K in 2009. Jose had never been in a race, either. Neither Johnson or Jose had any formal training before the Ultramaraton Fuego y Agua. I believe this race opened new worlds for these two talented runners. They both joined a runner’s club and often travel to race in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

The Race Map

This map exhausts me just looking at it. I can’t imagine racing up and down two volcanoes! This year, Ron and I are volunteering to help the children in the 5 K race on Sunday, February 19th. I am really looking forward to it.

Ultramaratón Fuego y Agua   Check out the website and if you are going to be on Ometepe Island February 18-19, I’ll see you at the races!