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Date : 21st September, 2016
Time : 1h 0’21” (11.27km ; lots of stops for directions)
Total distance run to date : 840 km
Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1382864496
Media : Diario El Pais http://www.elpais.com.uy/informacion/ejecutivo-britanico-corre-solitario-rambla.html
Logistics, logistics, logistics. When I’m on these trips, my life is all about logistics (with a bit of running thrown in.) I compile various written and mental check lists to try to minimise the number of mistakes but, inevitably, things go wrong.
In this case, the 7.30 am Buquebus ferry from Buenos Aires, which is supposed to arrive in Montevideo at about 9.30 am, is late. And I’m not on Uruguayan dry land until after 10.05 am.
Surely that’s not an enormous delay by the standards of modern travel?
True – but I’m meant to be meeting the British Ambassador, Graham Stanley from the British Council and the local press at 11.00 am.
I’m still not seeing what the problem is?
I’m meant to meet them at the Montevideo sign after by running there from the ferry terminal (and thereby completing my Uruguayan run).
But you can run 10 km in 55 minutes?
Yes, but the route is 11.5 km long. And I’m not running with anyone.
And I don’t know the way.
Surely you can just look it up on your phone?
Sounds like a screw up on your part?
The only thing I’ve got going for me is that, about a week beforehand, I did briefly look at the route suggested by Graham. Armed with that vague memory, I make it out of the ferry port and start running in what I think is the right direction along the coastal road. But then it occurs to me that I could be going in completely the wrong direction.
I tell myself not be all male about it – much better to spend 2 minutes getting directions than to run in the wrong direction for half an hour. I dive into the nearest bar.
Those teeth. Those saturnine good looks with a touch of frosting. That must be Luis Suarez’s Dad behind the bar!
It isn’t. But at least the bar staff speak enough English to be able to confirm that I’m going in the right direction. They also tell me that it’s a long way to the sign and that I’ll need a taxi.
Hoping they’re wrong about the taxi, I head off again figuring that I’m now left with 11 km to run in 50 minutes if I’m not to be late.
The only problem is that I can’t run 11 km in 50 minutes. But I remember that part of the route goes around a headland. If I can cut across the headland then I’ll reduce the distance and get there in time. Maybe.
I look out for possible short cuts and eventually choose a road that looks like it’s going in the right direction. Disaster! It loops back to the coast road and all I’ve done is add distance.
I push on and reach the bay where I’m expecting to see the Montevideo sign. Nothing to be seen (not that I really know what I’m looking for…)
I run into a hotel to make enquiries. Oh yes, I’m cheerily told, it’s just 10 blocks further on.
30 blocks later I’m starting to get a little worried. I ask again. A stream of rapid Spanish ensues from which I just about gather that I need to keep going.
I set off again and finally see the sign in the distance. Summoning my last reserves, I sprint the last half kilometre and up the final slope to be met by the local press and a bunch of cameras (picture below). And Ambassador Ben Lyster-Binns and Graham Stanley (picture above).
Well, I say “sprint” but, looking at the video of those final metres, it looks more like an exhausted jog. I can only promise you that it hurt. A lot!
In any event, I hate being kept waiting so, all who were there, please accept my apologies for having kept you waiting. If you read this blog, then at least you’ll know how hard I tried to be on time!
And thank you Ambassador, Graham, Natacha, Veronica for arranging for the media to be there and for greeting that mad sweaty Brit at the end of his run. And for the excellent lunch afterwards. Greatly appreciated!