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Date : 9th November, 2015
Time : GARMIN DATA CORRUPTED
Total distance run to date : 630 km
Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/985114477 (part)
When the British left India in 1948 the country was divided into Pakistan and India. With tragic consequences as hundreds of thousands died in the ensuing mass movement of people and inter communal violence.
However, that wasn’t the end of the matter. The new country of Pakistan was actually made up of West Pakistan and East Pakistan – two areas on either side of India separated by over 2000 kilometres.
Geography often dictates politics and, sure enough, tension started to grow between East and West. By 1971 it had escalated into all-out war with estimates of the numbers killed ranging from 300 000 – 1 000 000. (West) Pakistan was accused of genocide and world opinion turned against them with George Harrison (of Beatles’ fame) organising what many see as the first ever major benefit concert – the Concert for Bangla Desh.
By 1972 much of the world had recognised Bangladesh as an independent sovereign state and it had become a member of the UN member. By 1974 it had even been recognised by Pakistan.
I remember some of this but, for some reason, my main youthful memories of Bangladesh are of a country that routinely suffered catastrophic weather. I still have mental images of flooding on an enormous scale and, while doing my research for this blog, I was reminded that huge cyclones hit Bangladesh 1970 and 1991.
By contrast the weather was perfect as I flew in to Dhaka, the gigantic capital city of Bangladesh with its 15 million plus inhabitants. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to go far as my hotel, the BEST WESTERN PLUS Maple Leaf, was just round the corner. And the reason I’m giving them such a shameless plug, is that they really got behind Run the World.
The picture above is of some of their staff with their specially prepared welcome banner. 4 of us then went off to a local, reasonably quiet motorway and I ran up and down the motorway with them acting as my escort.
If you’ve never run with a vehicular escort then I recommend it. It guarantees plenty of attention and interaction with passers-by – including the armed guard at a checkpoint who I slightly nervously approach for a photo. The smooth road surface was also a relief after the madness of running round Male and the shifting sands of my Sri Lankan beach run.
I found myself running about 30 seconds /km faster than I had in the Maldives and Sri Lanka. I even had to remind myself to slow down as I still had Bhutan, Nepal and India to come. I finished in a little under 51 minutes – the fastest time on my South Asian trip.
Back to the hotel for a bath and a beer on the rooftop terrace. That’s the BEST WESTERN PLUS Maple Leaf in case I didn’t mention it before!