Racing The Planet, Madagascar, 2014
I spent the past three weeks in Madagascar thanks to Racing The Planet, who hired me to document their 2014 Madagascar “roving race.” Racing The Planet is best known for its annual “4 Desert Series” consisting of 250km self-supported races in the Atacama, Sahara and Gobi Deserts, plus Antarctica. Once a year RTP stages an additional six-stage, 250km race in a new location such as Madagascar. Former roving races have taken place in Australia, Vietnam and Nepal.
The Madagascar race featured South African ultra running legend Ryan Sandes who confirmed the hype as he convincingly won the first three stages, and eventually held off Wateru Lino of Japan for the overall victory.
While I had anticipated this once in a lifetime photography assignment for over a year, shooting the race turned out to be just one of many highlights.
Ever wanted to feel like a rockstar without actually needing musical talent? Then Madagascar is the place to be. Salee salee saleeeeeee! the children will shout in greeting as you approach, and in a split second, you will find yourself surrounded by a village of excited kids who want to know your name in order to chant it at the top of their lungs to the rhythm of their handclaps.
The children have beau coups de energy so there is not a time limit on the spontaneous celebration. You can bask in the glory as long as you wish. When you are ready, pick someone or something else to celebrate, shout it out, and the song will continue in a new direction. The positive vibes are intoxicating and I found myself smiling my way through the country side. If it were possible to export positive vibes and hospitality, then Madagascar would be rich.
There are many children in Madagascar and they are all awesome. ©Zandy Mangold
A stick and discarded tire rim – the Nintendo of of Madagascar. ©Zandy Mangold