Run 81 : Brazil – Rio

rtw-brazil-1

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

Date : 17th September, 2016

Time :  1h 12’58” (11.38km inc. photo stop)

Total distance run to date : 810 km

Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1382864418

Rio. Just the name evokes images of golden beaches, sunshine, Carnaval, Sugarloaf Mountain, the beautiful game. All redeemed by a massive figure of Christ overlooking the city centre.

And the reality doesn’t disappoint. Its perhaps the best city-beach combo I’ve come across. The kind of place that makes you think impractical thoughts about immediate relocation.

We’re based on the Barra de Tijuca beach. It’s not as famous as Copacabana or Ipanema but it’s still 11 miles of beautiful white sand, rolling waves and minimally dressed Brazilians.

Even better. The Paralympics are on and there is sport all around. This happy coincidence means that I’m running along the beach front with various members of the Paralympic family and representatives from WADA – the never more in the news and the never more needed World Anti-Doping Agency.

The run has been organised by Andrew Thomas, fundraiser for the Paralympics and led by Mike Townley, General Counsel for the IPC, and it’s a very fine run. The weather’s perfect, the views are spectacular and the company’s excellent.

I’m sure my fellow runners will forgive me if I mention that we were joined Katrina Webb, triple Paralympic gold medallist. It’s been my pleasure over the last few years to meet a number of Paralympians and they always inspire me with both their achievements and their enthusiasm. Katrina was no exception.

We had a few stops for regroupings and  photos so the time was a leisurely 1h 12’ 58” (for 11.4 km). But who cares when you’re in Rio?

By now I’m sure some of you are thinking that, just possibly, I’m over gilding the lily. What about all the poverty and violence that you read about (and saw in City of God)?

Andrew and I made it to Copacabana the next day and saw some of the wheelchair marathon. On the way back we started talking about the favelas. From a distance they’re actually quite impressive, climbing vertiginously up the hillsides.

Our driver was keen to ensure that we didn’t form the wrong impression. There’s been a kind of truce during the Olympics and Paralympics, he says. But shortly before the Olympic, a number of bosses were killed. He’s sure the violence and the battle for control will resume as soon as the eyes of the world leave Brazil.

What can be done? Nothing in his view as the politicians receive too much money from the traffic (drugs). Of course, it was just one person’s view but it was a good reminder that there’s another side to the Rio we saw as privileged tourists.

If you’d like to support the Paralympics, either personally or corporately, then let me know and I’ll introduce you to Andrew. If, on the other hand, you’d like to donate to Cancer Research then I know they’d be very grateful !

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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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