A school, a quickie, the army and big hills

Over the last couple of days I have covered some good distance, despite struggling with a little foot discomfort. Yesterday I ran, walk and hobbled about 57km and today I managed to add a further 52km or there about. The scenery today was amazing with the road following a valley from the bottom of a hill all the way to the top. Both sides of the road where steep walls with huge trees towering up. Down below was a fierce river running down the way I had come. I have been asked where my favourite places to run have been and today’s run, despite being uphill, has to feature on that list.

So much has happened that I can’t cover everything in detail so I am going to give some short snippets so you can get a sense of my days on the road and maybe understand why I love it so much. Then I will give a little preview of tomorrow’s run.

A school meeting – Thursday, 9th

At about the 24km yesterday I ran passed a school and had the usual kids shouting, me not really understanding and just running on. I got to a café and stopped for some food and a motorbike pulled up. It was the teacher from the local school. He told me they were covering different cultures from around the world and asked if I would mind coming and chatting. I was on a pretty tight schedule but thought this was an opportunity I couldn’t miss… When I got to the school only a couple of kids turned up but the longer I was there the bigger the crowd became. It was amazing at how much we managed to converse and understand each other. Normally speaking to one person is hard but about 20 kids all talking at the same time seemed not to be too big a problem. I showed them the Highland fling and they introduced me to their local music. It was a fun break from the road and gave me some ideas for when I get back to the UK.

A quickie in the bushes– Friday, 10th

No, not me! I have been on the road for over 10 months and I thought I had seen pretty much everything but today I realised I have a lot more to witness. As I came round a corner on a steep hill there was a lorry parked by the side of the road. I caught a glimpse of a girl running into the wood wearing a tight red dress and then the lorry driver follow her. As I got closer to the bushes in question I thought I would have a quick look and see what was going on. I am not going to be too descriptive but the man had his pants round his ankles and the lady was, well you can guess. I can report it wasn’t a long ordeal as the lorry drove passed me about 5 minutes later and I assume he had to get dressed and probably settle a bill in that time. It caused me a little amusement while running but there are some more serious moral aspects to confront but that is not for here and now.

A chat with the army – Friday, 10th

I am running through the north of Colombia and close to the border with Panama so as you would expect there are quite a lot of military police and soldiers. They seem to spring up everywhere and every corner you go round is more than likely to have a 20 year old in camouflage holding an assault rifle. As strange as it seemed when I first saw so many guns in Mexico it is now just normal. Most of the time they are friendly and actually quite interested in what I am doing. Today I met a bunch stationed at the top of a hill and just when it was getting really hot. They were really hospitable and offered me a glass of cola and then proceeded to ask lots of questions about what I was doing. They even asked if I wanted to have a proper rest but sadly I was on a deadline.

Tomorrow’s run

My father emailed me this morning and gave me a little preview of the day’s running. He said it was mostly flattish and then tomorrow would be when the hills started. Well I am not sure I found the flat ground today and am pretty sure I spent most of it going up some pretty serious hills. When I emailed him and asked what he meant he replied saying that compared with tomorrow’s run today’s was flat. God help me tomorrow… One thing I have learnt is never to think that the conditions are the worse that they’ll be because you will always find a day when it’s worse. The trick is to just accept whatever is thrown at me on a case by case bases and never think about what is coming. Tomorrow may be a 1000m climb but that is nothing compared to the Andes in Chile when it will be 4500m. If I let tomorrow bother me then what hope do I have in 4 months time!

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