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Date : 24th August, 2014
Time : 58’ 23”
Total distance run to date : 240km
Run map and details : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/582650721
As we flew into St. Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) – setting for the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ – I was struck by how beautiful the island looked from the air. And then by an odd sense of deja vu.
If you’d asked me beforehand I would have said that I’d never been to SVG and, candidly, knew very little about it. And, yet, as we landed, the deja vu persisted.
And then it came to me. Years ago I went to Barbados with David and Pam. We bumped into Nick S from college there and had a good time. Mini mokes, lots of body boarding, and, for some reason, a side trip to another Caribbean island. Which could have been SVG.
Or maybe not. As I came through customs and started my run, I didn’t recognise anything and wondered if I’d been mistaken. But not for long as I needed to concentrate on the run from the airport into the capital of Kingston which started with a 1 km steep climb. Excellent – just what I needed on my second run of the day.
The second km was downhill but kilometres 3 – 10 were an ever more painful grind around the streets of Kingston. Streets which were fairly empty as the churches were full by this time. Including one church producing a glorious sound from its large congregation, organ – and steel drums.
And those who weren’t in church, were taking part in what I initially took to be a local carnival. Until I realised that the procession was headed by nuns and was travelling towards the local ceremony. Presumably someone famous given the size and festive nature of the crowd. (I learned later that everyone gets this send-off.)
As I slumped by the seafront at the end of the run, that sixth sense kicked in and, for the first and only time in the Caribbean, I felt slightly nervous. I realised that I was a walking (shuffling..) target with my running belt full of various currencies, my passport, my credit card, my blackberry and my Kindle.
The churches were emptying by now and I went up to a local pastor and his wife to ask directions to a local taxi or bus service back to the airport. They volunteered to show me the way and strongly suggested that I should go with them immediately rather than wait around in town. Why? Too many “bandits” in town was the answer.
So perhaps my sixth sense had been right. Or perhaps people worry too much about lone tourists. Certainly, I was too knackered to run if anyone did threaten me.
So one crazy mini-bus ride later I was back at the airport with a tedious three and a half hours to kill – not helped by my eyes being so blurry from salty sweat infection that I could hardly read. The only saving grace was LIAT leaving half an hour early for the return flight to Barbados.
A drive back to the hotel and a great sense of relief that both runs were done and I’d got through the day.
I still had two runs to go on my Caribbean tour but surely the worst was over? Not exactly…