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Date : 24th August, 2014
Time : 55’ 48”
Total distance run to date : 230km
Run map and details : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/582650740
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?