Run 23 : Trinidad & Tobago – Malabar


Please give generously to Cancer Research :

Date : 24th August, 2014

Time :  55’ 48”

Total distance run to date : 230km

Run map and details :

It sounds awful to say it about time on holiday with your family, but I’d been dreading this day. 3 flights, 6 airport transfers and 2 x 10 km runs in the Caribbean heat. Physical pain guaranteed ; logistics screw-ups highly likely.

And Liz knew how I felt. When the alarm went at 5.30 her first words were ; “Are you sure you want to do this?” . Then “You don’t have to go, you know”. And, finally, and more forcefully, “You’re in no fit state to run two 10 ks today”.

A quick look in the mirror made me wonder if she was right. Bloodshot eyes caked in conjunctivitis goo and underlined by black circles. Even by my usual feeble standards, I hadn’t had much sleep over the previous 4 nights and my tiredness showed.

So tired that I forgot to bring my itinerary/ticket with me to the airport. Never mind, you only need a passport these days and I knew I was flying LIAT – the Caribbean airline about which I’d heard so many stories in the short time since I’d arrived in Barbados. (Leave Island Any Time; Luggage In Another Town ; Lost In-between Antigua and Trinidad)

I got into the LIAT queue and waited. And waited. Finally, I got to the check-in desk. Nope, they didn’t have a 7.20 flight to Trinidad – perhaps I should try East Caribbean Airlines?

Who did have the aforementioned 7.20 flight – which had closed half an hour earlier. I explained that I had no luggage, would easily make the gate in time and generally pleaded and begged to be allowed onto the flight. No. I pleaded and begged some more. No – but I will get the supervisor. Supervisor arrived. I pleaded and begged. To my shame, I may even have used the ‘but I’m doing this for charity’ argument. No. I hung around at check-in some more watching the time tick by. I tried the original counter person again. Yes.  Sorry? Yes. Thank you, thank you, I will run through the airport so as not to hold anyone up.

Which I did. Only to find that the passengers were still disembarking from the incoming flight which had only just landed. Never mind. My travels have given me a pretty jaundiced view of most airlines but this time I’d like to say thank you to East Caribbean. You saved my day.  

I wasn’t running with anyone in Trinidad and my planned route was based on a 5 minute review of the area around the airport on Google Maps. So I tried to get some advice from the passengers on the flight including the Trinidad & Tobago squash team (returning from finishing second in a pan-Caribbean tournament in Barbados). But we couldn’t come up with anything better so I stuck to my original plan and headed off from the airport towards the Larry Gomes stadium in Malabar.

By now it was after 10.00 and fairly hot – and getting hotter. The first 5 kms weren’t too bad but then I began to experience the problem that was to plague me throughout the Caribbean – salty sweat running off my forehead into my (already infected) eyes. Combined with the fact that I couldn’t seem to find the stadium, and was just running aimlessly along hot pavements, it wasn’t my most glorious run. I was pretty exhausted by the time I got to 10 km and, drawing on the lessons I‘d learnt in southern Africa, dived into the nearest air conditioned shop.

I had some hours before my flight to St. Vincent & the Grenadines and normally I would have used that time to sight see. This time I obeyed my legs and went to the airport to rest before my next 10 km. And ponder the question as to how a man is to make good use of his time at an airport when the battery life on his Blackberry is so short?

About Run the World

I'm running 10 km in every country in the world - a total of 205 countries - by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. I'm doing the Run the World challenge to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity and to raise money for cancer research following the death of my mother from cancer. If you'd like to donate to Cancer Research - - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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