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Date : 22nd November, 2014
Time : 58’22”
Total Distance Run to date : 370 km
Run map and details : http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/640878997
The readers of this blog are a demanding lot. I can’t just describe the run and move on. I need a different theme for each country or they’ll get bored. A lot of thought, therefore, goes into the choice of subject.
I found this particularly difficult for Tanzania. Should I focus on my previous visit to the country and the wonder that is the Ngorongoro? Perhaps talk about the Hash Harriers – the drinking club with a running problem – whose members make up part of our running group in Tanzania? Or even address a misapprehension about the financial workings of Run the World as expressed by a Tanzanian commenter on my blog?( For the record, unless and until I find an airline and hotel sponsor, I bear the costs of Run the World. All donations go straight to Cancer Research)
In the end the run inspired me to talk about running (and its slowly related cousin, walking). How it’s a democratic activity that almost everyone can take part in ; that can bring together people from all walks of life ; that can be done at the time and place of your choosing with little or no cost. (There’s obviously also the fitter, happier and healthier bit to it all as well!
The run in Dar seemed to sum this up perfectly. There were about 20 of us on the run. A mixture of members of the Dar Running Club – who’d already done a 25k run that morning – and local and international Hashers (including Norwegian Mari who lives in the hills above Oslo on the route of my first Run the World 10k).
I’d suggested a 4pm start and that turned out to be a mistake. It was still very hot and I really struggled. By 6k my conversation was drying up and by 8k I’d become monosyllabic (with those monosyllables being a countdown of the remaining distance.)
This isn’t like me. Normally, when I’m running with a group, I like to talk to as many people as possible for as long as possible. But at least I talked plenty in the first 6km. Mostly about the concept of a Run the World day where people across the world run, walk or cycle 10km at the same (local) time on the same day. Producing a wave of participation across the globe over a 24 hour period.
Some of you will have heard me on this subject before so suffice it to say I’m still working on the concept and talking to people all over the world about it. Feed-back so far has been very positive.
Back at the run, the last 2 kilometres are proving pretty dire. But William sticks with me and tries to understand why he’s finding it easy after a 25k run in the morning and I’m finding it so hard. I’m blaming the amount of travel and running I’d done in the previous 5 days – but talent, strength and fitness are, I suspect, the answers.
We finally get to the 10k mark a bit before the meeting point. Normally I’d have jogged the remaining few hundred metres but by now I’m feeling so bad that I enforce a ‘Not a metre more ; not a metre less’ policy and walk the rest of the way.
Final pictures and goodbyes and I’m left to reflect on the beauty of running. Four hours after I’ve landed in Tanzania, I’ve met 20 people, seen some of the best bits of the town and done plenty of exercise (and enjoyed most of it!). Only running could have done that.
And there’s even a nice little PS to the story. That night I went to a tiny local sports bar to watch a bit of footy and have a beer. The guy at the table next door started to give me funny looks. Football fans giving you funny looks isn’t necessarily something you welcome in England. But, as I was wondering how I could have possibly offended his sensibilities, he suddenly moved towards me – and showed me a picture of myself on his phone. Turned out he was part of the running club and he’d seen the pictures from the run. That’s the trouble with fame. You never get a moment to yourself…
Time to escape the paparazzi and prepare for my 3 a.m. start the next morning. “On, on” as the Hashers say!