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Date : 17th January, 2015
Time : 51’ 52”
Total distance run to date : 430 km
Run map and details : http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/683240991
This is going to sound a little ignorant – mostly because it is – but I’ve always been little hazy about how many Guineas and Guyanas there are in the world. And exactly where they all are.
For the record, Guyana (formerly British Guiana) is on the north east coast of South America and is an ex British colony. French Guiana is also on the north east coast of South America but that’s still part of France. Hooray! (I intend no comment on the political situation in French Guyana. But it being part of France does mean one less country to run in – and, in my world, that’s always something to celebrate.)
There’s also Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea Bissau – all in West Africa.
And then, of course, there are the igu-y-anas that are being sold on the roadside as we drive into Georgetown, the capital of (British) Guyana. An excellent Dad joke that I decide not to share with my taxi driver as I know, from bitter experience, that Dad jokes don’t always translate that well..
Judging from my stroll into town that afternoon, Georgetown has a raucous, ramshackle centre. Loads of life but too crowded to be a good running route. I therefore start my run by heading to the Bourda cricket ground, home of Test cricket in Guyana.
Or so I thought until I arrived at an unexpectedly dilapidated stadium with its big poster of Rohan Kanhai on the eponymous stand. Turns out Test cricket in Guyana is now played at a shiny new ground (Providence Stadium) on the other side of town.
Never mind. I like to include historic sports grounds in my runs – even if they’ve lost their pre-eminence. And this one is quite remarkable in many ways. It’s the only ground in the world to be constructed below sea level and it has a moat to protect it from flooding.
The liveliest part of the ground is the Mound with the ubiquitous music and DJs. All part of a passionate and occasionally volatile setting. Mini riots and pitch invasions were not uncommon with the worst incident occurring in 1979 during a World Series Cricket SuperTest. The pavilion was ransacked and players hid in the changing rooms wearing their helmets for added protection.
I was allowed in to take a quick photo – pls see above – and then it was time to head off through town to the seafront. My legs were still feeling fresh and I was actively enjoying the lack of pain (secure in the knowledge that acute stiffness and soreness would be coming my way later on the trip.)
The seafront is pleasant, if not, unfortunately for Georgetown, boasting the kind of beaches that are going to attract mass tourism. I ran back and forth along the seawall, enjoying the view, and then back into town for the end of my run in a little under 52 minutes.
Not too bad a run though I was a disappointed to note that my legs were starting to hurt a little. Perhaps to be expected after 20km of city running in 24 hours.
Back to the hotel and a night debating whether or not to keep the air conditioning on. On the upside, it would drown out the noise from my neighbour’s room. Something I hadn’t managed to achieve despite much wall banging and a pleading visit to reception. (I would have called had the phone been working).
On the downside, it was quite a powerful air conditioner, the room didn’t come with a blanket, and wrapping myself in the towel wasn’t enough to stay warm.
Just the kind of conundrum one appreciates when the alarm clock is set for 3.40 am…