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Date : 27th August, 2014
Time : 57’ 0”
Total distance run to date : 260km
Run map and details : http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/582650681
During the Cold War it was fairly common for the US – and for the Soviet Union and their Cuban allies – to send troops into foreign countries. One of the oddest instances occurred in 1983 when the US sent troops into Grenada as part of Operation Urgent Fury.
I remember being unclear at the time as to why the US felt this was necessary. Even researching it now, many years later, it all seems a little surreal. Yes, there was political instability and fighting amongst factions of the governing New Jewel Movement with Communist hard liners ousting (and eventually executing) Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Yes, there appear to have been Cuban troops in Grenada and, yes, there were a few US nationals on the island.
However, Grenada is a small Caribbean island with a population, at the time, of c 90 000 and it’s not easy to see it as a threat to anyone, let alone the US. Grenada is also a Commonwealth country and British readers of this blog may be interested to know that the UK government condemned the invasion with Margaret Thatcher strongly advising Ronald Reagan not to proceed.
I was thinking about this as we flew into Point Salines (now Maurice Bishop International) Airport. US Rangers landed at Point Salines airport, the construction of which had, slightly ironically, been a major issue in the lead up to the invasion. The US were concerned that it had military capabilities while the Grenadians contended that it was solely intended for civilian purposes – particularly the encouragement of tourism.
While musing about all this I was also struck that Grenada was (another) beautiful Caribbean island. One that, unlike the others I’d flown into, seemed to have a lot of yachts. I tried to capture this beauty from the plane but, as you’ll see from the above photo, I didn’t really succeed.
And, once I’d landed, there wasn’t much time to look around as I only had 3 hours before my return flight – and at least half of that would be spent at the airport. My run started from the airport along the main road towards the capital of St. Georges. I reached the 5 km mark at Grand Anse bay and turned back towards the airport.
I don’t know whether it was because it was my 5th 10k in just over 4 days. Or because it was, yet again, hot and humid. But it was one of those runs that drag on painfully and where you’re really struggling not to check the distance every 50 m.
And it didn’t help that the sweat was pouring into my eyes meaning that I had to stop every kilometre for water and eye cleaning. Since this was a problem I encountered on all my runs, I’m not quite sure why I didn’t do something about it. Too knackered perhaps. Anyway, next time I shall wear a head band or, as ex-army Crispin advised, put some Vaseline on my eyebrows (“that’s what we did in the jungle”).
When I finally got back to the airport at the end of the run, my eyes were a mess and my ‘wick away’ running shirt was literally wringing wet. One last check-in, customs, and LIAT flight later I was back in Barbados. I’d completed the 5 runs in South-East Caribbean leg of Run the World and had now run in 26 countries.
Just another 178 to go…179 if Scotland votes for independence….