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Team Spirit of Poland Is Racing For Jakub

Anne-Marie Dunhill / 15.11.2018

The Spirit of Poland team is composed of Rafal Nowakowski, Piotr Szymczak, Robert Przytula, and Marta Naglik. In the team, only the captain, Rafal, has raced in Patagonia before; he participated in the 2015 Patagonian Discovery Challenge in Tierra del Fuego and the Patagonian Expedition Race in 2016.

Rafal said that racing the Patagonian Expedition Race again was his idea and that he talked his friends into the project.

He and Piotr Szymczak are former Special Forces in the Polish military while

Robert is a business man and Marta is a former multi- champion in ski competitions as well as an international mountain guide.

In communications with SleepMonsters before the team makes the long journey across the world to race, Rafal wrote at length about the “Why” of PER in 2018. 

He said, “In 2016 when we were participating, our purpose was to just accomplish it. This time we have a really strong team with an excellent approach and a bigger appetite. We possess really strong will. Everyone knows what they should do. We have been training for more than year.

“Three months ago I found out that I have to replace my female team mate; Magdalena had to resign [ed. from the team] for professional reasons. Luckily we have found Marta. Her professional sports experience as well as her mountain trekking activity shows that she is able to adapt to everything very quickly. Of course such a situation caused some logistic issues but I solved them very quickly.”

“Generally we focused on individual training but to my surprise we did quite a lot of mutual trainings. We rode on bike thousands of kilometers, run/marched hundreds, and even in kayaks we spent a lot of hours.”

“Personally I did a lot of orienteering. We are not ultra-runners but I found that we are very well prepared. Our strong team spirit is our main advantage and we are going to use it to fight to the end.”

“Of course we afraid of different issues like: health, orienteering going wrong, malfunction of bike or other equipment, but as I mentioned we are very well prepared.”

“The start in the Patagonian Expedition Race 2018 is a very big challenge in terms of sports, financial and well-organized logistics activities. And it is not about winning the main prize (which does not really exist), but about satisfaction, which tells us that we have crossed the next barrier again.”

“In addition to the satisfaction and completion of the race, we decided to do something for others: to help children of veterans.”

“We want to exchange our effort and kilometers covered with financial resources for a 12-year-old boy named Jakub, who at the age of 7 months had to undergo a lower limb amputation as a result of open-heart surgery complications."

“Jakub has been moving about using a prosthesis for two years. His body is constantly growing and this requires constant and systematic rehabilitation. Jakub also requires exams in many clinics: cardiology, orthopaedic, ophthalmic and neurological".

The Spirit of Poland team will have Jakub and his evolving medical needs constantly on their minds as they battle to the finish line of the Last Wild Race and hopefully through their participation they will be able to raise the much needed funds for his continuing care.


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About The Author

Anne-Marie Dunhill
Anne-Marie is our Senior International Reporter covering World and European Champs and major races worldwide. She is a fluent French speaker and her insightful interviews of racers and organisers are a vital part of SleepMonsters editorial coverage.

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