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Date : 23rd August, 2014
Time : 1h 24”
Total Distance Run to date : 220km
Run map and details : http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/582650760
Back in the 1980s, the West Indies were the best cricket team in the world. Quite possibly the best cricket team ever. So where better for the pride of Switzerland – Geneva Cricket Club – to go on tour other than Barbados?
We were a team drawn from all over the world. Hascal Gollop, our very own Bajan who bowled right arm unique – off his right foot. David ‘Iron Gloves’ Barmes, our indomitable Australian wicketkeeper and opener. Our Dutch opening bowler who’s name escapes me but who’s appeal “How’s de bogger, umpire?” will never be forgotten. And my father, who hit the ball prodigious distances and was the best cricketer in Switzerland for many a year.
At full strength, we were a match for a good English village side. But not for the teams we met in Barbados. We lost every match with Desmond Haynes’s brother scoring a particularly diffident century against us.
Despite the defeats, I loved it. Cricket in Switzerland is played on a matting wicket on a sports field. And however much effort I put into my ‘trying to be more than medium but not really succeeding’ pacers, it was like bowling on a large cushion. On Caribbean wickets, I suddenly had pace and bounce. And even a wicket or two.
I was reminded of all this as we drove to Colin’s house around roundabouts named after famous Bajan cricketers – Weekes, Worrell, Walcott, Garfield Sobers (“Daddy, is that one named after the cat?”) – and on to his house on the superbly named Greenidge (Off) Drive.
There we met Colin, his extended family and Eric, Ralf and Cory from the Ufukuzo Running Club. Colin is the British Deputy High Commissioner in Barbados and part of the Commission’s duties are looking after Brits abroad. In Barbados this mostly involves dealing with British tourists who’ve got themselves into trouble after too much alcohol and/or drugs.
Luckily for me the service also includes supporting Brits on mad challenges. And great support it was. Colin’s family went ahead of us in the car, set up impromptu water stations, cheered us on with British flags and picked Sienna up when her foot started to hurt after 7 km.
Basically the run went down the West Coast of Barbados from Rihanna’s astonishing house at One Sandy Lane to the historic centre of Bridgetown. Between the support of Eric and Colin’s family, the overcast conditions and the early start we didn’t suffer too much from the heat and humidity.
And heat and humidity really are an issue for distance runners in Barbados. To put this into context, Ralf and Eric told me that marathon runners go out at 2.30am for their long training runs. There’s just no other time to get in a 3 hour run.
I was to suffer dreadfully in the heat elsewhere on my Caribbean tour – but that’s for future blogs. All that remains for this blog is to say thank you again to Colin, his family, and Eric, Ralf and Cory from Ufukuzo!