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Scottish ultra marathon runner Andrew Murray is forced to abandon his Andes to Amazon attempt

Despite giving it my all, I was a million miles from completing,” wrote Murray on his blog after being forced to abandon his challenge.

First of all, he was unable to summit Cotopaxi because of high winds and poor visibility: “At 5,650 metres with zero visibility and massive winds our guide advised us that getting to the summit safely was not possible, so we turned back,” remembers Murray. And that’s when illness struck.

“I had begun to feel unwell on Cotopaxi,” says Murray, “ but thought it may be the altitude. However at 4,500 metres on the way down I started to get stomach cramps, and the urge to find some toilet roll.”

“Running 50 km at altitude, all the while having to dash off into the bushes every couple of kilometres was something I was dealing with, but I just could not keep any food or fluid down and became dehydrated and had the head spins.”

“Although the volcano and most of the very high altitude were behind me I was in no fit state to run another 100 odd kilometres.”

Back down from the mountain safely, with a course of Imodium doing its thing and the disappointment setting in, Murray was in a reflective mood: “I leave Ecuador frustrated but wiser. This is the first major challenge that has totally got the better of me.”

“If there are two lessons I take home from this, they are first: to build in some weather contingency in the big hills – and if time does not permit this, take on a different challenge. And second: although I was being deliberately vigilant in avoiding dodgy food, I clearly was not thorough enough!”

To find out more about Dr Andrew Murray and his ultra marathon challenges, see our interview with him before he left for Ecuador and his blog docandrewmurray.com