On 8th March it’s International Woman’s Day, on this day Miss Marie Leautey (known as Lootie) will be arriving at Buenos Aires, receiving a warm welcome from the French Embassy, having completed her 3rd continent crossing in her quest to become only the 2nd woman to run around the world. I am telling you this because l am supporting her on my Reilly Gradient biking every turn with her through Chile and Argentina I wondered whether you may like to hear something more from me on how the Gradient has performed.
What an email to receive on an overcast Monday morning in South London so I wasted no time in contacting James. He was getting his PCR test before setting out on the 4000 meter crossing to Argentina but we had time to squeezed in a brief chat and this is what I found out.
Tragically, James lost his home in the devastating fires which raged across Greece last summer so when his friend Lootie suggested he accompany her from one side of South America to the other, on the final leg of her round the world tour, he didn’t hesitate. Having bought his Gradient a few years ago he knew it would be a reliable partner. “It’s been everywhere” he told me “on road, off road and it copes brilliantly with anything.” I asked him if it’s been a tough challenge “Not really, I’m 62 and quite fit as I used to run cycling tours round Greece. It’s been great to be riding and supporting my amazing friend.”
I also got to say a quick hello to Lootie who was fizzing with energy despite running a marathon a day. She told me about the charity she is supporting - Women for Women International who help survivors of war rebuild their shattered lives.
Since then, I have been following their exploits on social media and as I write this on 2nd February Lootie posts -
Today I ran through the Cristo Redentor de Los Andes Pass at 3,854m - at the end of a 52 switchbacks mountain road. And made it into Argentina, the 20th country of the world run!
Running across the Andes has been the highlight of the journey so far...
And James sent me this video https://youtu.be/cP-17ums2ks
If you are in need of a pick me up in these dark and dreary winter months I wholeheartedly suggest you follow these two amazing people. Not only are their pictures breathtakingly beautiful but watching Lootie push her body to extreme limits for a place in the record books and support of those less fortunate is an inspiration.