West Africa Cycling Challenge: Renée from Exile Medics shares her experience
In January 2019, RuntheWorld and Street child provided an incredible experience to many at the West African Cycling Challenge in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Renée who works for Exile Medics, a company which provides expert, professional, doctor led medical support to expeditions and sporting events anywhere on the globe, took part in the race this year.
Renée is a doctor working in the Emergency Medicine field with a Diploma in Mountain Medicine, and degrees from both New Zealand and the UK . She has worked, traveled, climbed and skied all over the world and here is her experience of the West African Cycling Challenge.
Q) What represented the WACC for me?
It was a pleasure to be the cycling race doctor for the West African Cycle Challenge 2019 working for Exile Medics and Street Child. To me the cycle challenge is a fantastic idea – a way for cyclists to both see the beauty and the reality of some of Sierra Leone and Liberia through the eyes of westerners plus importantly through the eyes of Street a Child and the young people and families this charity enables, empowers and assists. We travelled a long way from Bo in Sierra Leone to Robertsport in Liberia and met many people along the way who kindly supported and encouraged our cycling efforts and showed us locals live, work and study in this part of West Africa.
Q) What was the most magical moment for me as the race doctor?
There are so many ! Meeting local families and visiting schools. Stopping in small villages and having people welcome us and ask us questions about where we were going. Finding cold drinks in flavours I couldn’t imagine! Being the quasi-domestique providing everything from anti-histamines to suncream, the odd joke and maybe even a few “just keep cycling” dances! As a cyclist it was awesome to see people succeed in the challenge.
As a doctor it was satisfying to get the team to the end of the route safely. As an explorer it was enjoyable to listen to the local drivers and the mechanic (and national cyclist) that I travelled with tell me about their home countries in exchange for stories about mine. It was a great pleasure to be the medic for WACC 2019 and I’d do it again.