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Date : 24th November, 2014
Time : 58’49”
Total Distance Run to date : 380 km
Run map and details : http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/640878984
From the moment we landed, the Seychelles were a little different from the countries I’d visited previously on this trip.
For a start, a lot of the passengers were Western couples. Of course, there’d been couples on my previous flights. There’d also been a few Westerners (individuals working in aid and international development for the most part). But never Western couples.
And the Seychelles aren’t used to people coming for a single day. At one stage, I really thought I wasn’t going to get through immigration. (Not sure that my explanation about running 10km in every country in the world helped persuade them that here was a rational person who should be let in to their country…). But eventually a supervisor came over and waved me through.
And, as I came out blinking into the sunlight, I was reminded why people come here with their loved ones and stay as long as they can. Mahe, the biggest of the 115 islands that make up the Seychelles, is stunning.
Now let me be clear. I’d been fortunate enough to visit some beautiful places on this trip – Uganda and Rwanda particularly come to mind. But Mahe is Indian Ocean honeymoon beautiful and that’s pretty special.
I wondered what kind of hotel Luke, the ever patient travel agent, had booked me into. His standing instructions are to book me into the cheapest place on the Trailfinders roster. Perhaps, just for once, saving money shouldn’t have been the main criterion?
I needn’t have worried. The hotel’s nothing special by Seychelles standards but it’s on Beau Vallon Beach, a beautiful sandy crescent backed by steep lush hills. Gorgeous and a certainty for tomorrow’s running route.
There’s really only one fly in the ointment. I can’t walk properly, let alone run. The run in Tanzania finished me off and the ten hours of travel to get here – after a 3 a.m. start – haven’t helped either.
Never mind. I’m in one of the most beautiful places in the world and I know what to do. I go straight to bed for an hour. Followed by an intensive period of stretching in the sea and on the beach. A dinner of chicken, rice and salad (I’d had my other dish – pasta – at lunch) and back to the room to watch the mighty Spurs come from behind to beat Hull. Asleep by 6 pm UK time. No-one can say that Run the World doesn’t know how to party.
But the next morning’s not much better. My knees won’t bend. Stiff legged running isn’t easy. And I was so tired that I didn’t get out of bed when my alarm went off so it’s already lying-by-the-pool temperature.
The first kilometre along the beach takes 7 minutes and 16 seconds. Possibly my slowest ever Run the World kilometre. Onto tarmac and a grind up into second gear. But then the road goes all hilly on me and I have to find a flat shady route – even if it’s less than glamorous. Which I eventually do – and proceed to run round a patch of rough ground in slightly tedious and very painful circles.
By the end I’m beginning to understand the impact physical exhaustion can have on your mental state. I’m questioning whether I’ll be able to do the remaining two runs on the trip. I’m thinking a lot about my mother (it’s almost a year since cancer took her from us) and wishing she’d magically appear along with the rest of my family. Tired, emotional and a bit of a mess just about sums it up.
No excuse really. There are plenty of people who’d gladly swap places with me. Including the poor souls who are caught up in the plague in Madagascar – my final destination.
But that’s for a later blog. For now I’m writing this while sitting at the airport waiting for my much delayed flight to Mauritius. Better start stretching and loosening up those knees because I’ve got another run tomorrow morning!