Mayan Ziggurat Odyssey

The Maya, whose myths and history are recorded in the Popal Vuh and other documents, have been called the “intellectuals of the New World.” Their achievements, including their writing system, calendar, arts and architecture were unparalleled, and they built more cities in a greater extension of territory than any other Mesoamerican civilization. A recurring and outstanding architectural feature of Maya cities was the construction of Ziggurats…stepped pyramid temples…and it is their fascinating and symbolic uniqueness that lies at the heart of this latest ECCT challenge.

In undertaking this latest ECCT challenge, Dr David Crombie, ultra-runner, adventurer and philanthropist will run solo a route that links Mayan civilization archaeological sites throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico that represent outstanding examples of Mayan Ziggurats.

The circular route total distance will be just over 1000km, starting and finishing in Chitchen Itza. For the first 350km David will run unassisted an average of 50km a day for seven days to reach Edzna. The rest of the route David will be seconded, and run 16 full 42km marathons, with a rest day in Calakmul and Tulum, finishing in Chitchen Itza. Updates will be posted on Facebook (Mayan Ziggurat Odyssey) at regular intervals subject to Internet access.

The start date of the run will be 12 November 2015.

For the record…David has slain the Mayan dragon…successfully completing his 1022km world first solo run as planned. In so doing David has added a modest addition to the annals of solo ultra running history. The compilation of photographs taken during the challenge is currently underway, and will be added to the Past ECCT Challenges tab in due course.

David Crombie

David Crombie

David is the Chairman and Founding Trustee of Endurance Challenge Charity Trust. He has a PhD in Industrial Psychology and a Phd in Sports Science, and is currently a Research Fellow and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Sports Science Institute, University of Cape Town. His running pedigree extends to over 100 standard marathons…including New York and Boston, and 30 ultras such as Two Oceans, Comrades, and Washie. For many years David has actively raised funds for various charities through his running, most notably the Helen Keller Society for the Blind, who received the profits of a book he wrote to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Washie, the oldest 100 Miler in South Africa.

Previous ECCT fundraising extreme ultras completed by David include the 2007 Himalayas 100 Miler in India/Nepal; 2008 Amazon Jungle Marathon 220km race in Brazil; 2009 Kalahari Augrabies 250km desert race, and 2112/13 trans-country 2604km Mekong River Run.

Mayan Ziggurat Odyssey Honorary Patron: Tim Noakes

Prof. Tim Noakes - Patron

Prof. Tim Noakes – Patron


Prof. Tim Noakes was born in Harare, Zimbabwe and studied at the University of Cape Town (UCT) where he obtained an MBChB degree in 1974, an MD in 1981 and a DSc (Med) in Exercise Science in 2002. He is Professor in the Discovery Health Chair of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town.   He is also Director of the UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine and co-founder with Morné du Plessis of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA).

Noakes has published more than 450 scientific publications, has been cited more than 11 000 times in the scientific literature, has an H index of 57 and is rated an A1 scientist by the National Research Foundation of South Africa. In 2003, he received the UCT Book Award for Lore of Running (4th Edition) which is considered the “bible of the sport”.  Among his other published works are Rugby without Risk, Bob Woolmer’s Art and Science of Cricket co-written with the late Bob Woolmer, and his scientific autobiography Challenging Beliefs.

In 2002 Noakes was awarded the International Cannes Grand Prix Award for Research in Medicine and Water for his work on Exercise-associated Hyponatraemia (EAH). In 2004Runner’s World (USA) included this work as one of the 40 most important “persons or events” in the sport of running in the past 40 years. In 2008 he was elected an honorary fellow of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine (UK), the first foreigner to be so recognised.  In that year he also received the Order of Mapungubwe, Silver, from the President of South Africa for his “excellent contribution in the field of sports and the science of physical exercise”.








Chitchen Itza

3 thoughts on “Mayan Ziggurat Odyssey

    • Oopsy…made a typo…my email address should be;

      Dear Sonya…forgive this very belated reply…but truth be told I have been mostly tethered to UCT Private Hospital…I will spare you the details!!!…suffice to say I think I am now through the eye of the proverbial storm…let us pray!!!

      Today is the first time I have visited the “backend” of my ecct website…and being a neophyte in matters IT I have forgotten more than I care to mention as to how WordPress works…heaven only knows how I managed to update my Mekong River Run webpage during the actual run…somehow I did…even managed to upload photos!!! Anyway…now I must apply my mind to updating the website…scary stuff!

      I noticed your message…for which I thank you…and if you are still wishing to yadda yadda…then rather than use the website per se may I suggest you use my UCT email address:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *