Run 36 : Malawi – Lilongwe

RTW Malawi 1

 

Please give generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/Dan-Thompson11/

Date : 21st November, 2014

Time :  58’54”

Total Distance Run to date : 360 km

Run map and details : http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/640879010

The international airport in Malawi is a fair distance from the capital Lilongwe. About 30km in fact.

I was discussing this with Peter, who was driving, when I turned to him and said, quick as a flash, “It’s a long way to Lilongwe!”

Peter almost wet himself. Tears streamed down his face. “I bet your girls think you make the best Dad jokes around!” he guffawed.

A slightly stricter interpretation of events would have Peter turning to me with a tight, but still friendly, smile and saying “Lilongwe is the name given to the city by the white man because (you guessed it) they thought it was a long way from everywhere.” (Wikipedia attributes the name to the fact that Lilongwe sits on the banks of the river Lilongwe)

Malawi, a landlocked country in south-eastern Africa, gained its independence from Britain in 1964. Hastings Banda was its first President and Peter, with evident pride, took a detour to show me his monument (picture above).

However, the monument was too far out of town to include in my run so I asked my B & B reception for advice. “Don’t go that way ; or that way. And don’t go to the market.” “Really?” “Yes, really. It’s not safe”. Basically I was advised to stick to a small local circuit. Which was a shame as looking round new places is fascinating – and helps the kilometres go by.

At 4 pm – just about exactly 72 hours after my first run of the trip – I started my second run of the day (after Kenya in the morning) and my fifth in 3 days. I thought it was going to be hellish (physically) but it wasn’t quite as bad as expected. Mind you, I was going slowly.

So slowly that somehow the first 5k took more than half an hour. At this rate the 10 km were going to take more than an hour – and I’d never run a 10k on my own in more than an hour.

Who cares you might well say. Well, no-one, of course. Apart from me that is.

I tried to put in a fast kilometre to catch up lost time. One sub 5 minute kilometre should do it. But my legs just wouldn’t respond. I simply couldn’t accelerate in the normal way so I had to resort to clawing back the seconds kilometre by kilometre.

And just sneaked in under the hour in 58’ 54”. To what purpose? None whatsoever – except that I was more worn out than if I’d stuck to my original pace. But pride is a funny thing…bit like that joke about Lilongwe…

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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 - https://www.justgiving.com/Dan-Thompson11/ - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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