Craig comes face to face with jaguar and crocodile

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COMING face-to-face with a jaguar, swimming with a crocodile and passing time with tarantulas, scorpions and snakes were all part of the latest fund-raising challenge for one brave hotelier.

Marking the last in a series of fund-raising events this year, Craig Jarvis, of Ravenwood Hall Hotel, at Rougham, competed alongside 40 others in the Amazon Jungle Marathon and raised more than £8,000 for the Ravenwood Children’s Trust.

“Looking back, it was a fantastic experience but at the time it was a nightmare – it was as hard as they said it would be,” said the 52-year-old, who was relieved to return home in one piece last week.

The seven-day marathon consisted of six stages with the longest one extended to 126km at the last minute. Participants faced ‘sheer inclines and drops with swamps at the bottom’ while carrying packs that weighed 16.5kg when dry.

“The long stage was harrowing because people were getting lost and we were supposed to be in a certain area by a certain time to get an armed escort into the jungle,” said Mr Jarvis.

“It is a great event but it is a dangerous one,” he added.

The father-of-two ran out of water four hours before a check point, while a fellow competitor was taken to hospital critically ill with dehydration.

“I had never come across 45 degree heat with 100 per cent humidity,” said Mr Jarvis, who was pulled from the Amazon River to escape a crocodile ‘disguised as a floating log’ and was the only runner to encounter a jaguar, coming within 15ft of the creature.

He said: “It took me out of my comfort zone, was an experience and made me know my limits, both physically and mentally – I had to control my mind in bad situations by overcoming my fear of failure because every day got progressively harder.”

To donate, go to www.justgiving.com/craigjarvis