There are worse places to be stuck than in the highest pub in Africa, but I am well and truly stuck. I’m in Lesotho — the highest Kingdom in the world — and was feeling great yesterday after slipping and sliding my way up the Sani Pass on the big GS but then the wind picked up overnight and it’s now too risky to make the descent. Continue reading Get your head in the game kid!
I love the wildlife, but Australia’s got a bit too much of it for me, and after today’s encounter, I’ll be glad to leave it behind for the (relative) safety of Africa… Continue reading Great snakes, I’m gettin’ too old for this!
I’d never heard of the Grey Nomads but had been warned about them by Kinga Tanajewska, a Polish girl riding around the world on the same kind of bike as me. When I say ‘warned’, I mean in a GOOD way, because the Nomads have made this section of my journey really special. Continue reading Hats off to the Grey Nomads!
So there I am the night before the Outback Marathon, trying to sleep and failing miserably. I check my emails and there’s one from Lee Martin in Adelaide telling me he’s seen the local weather for my area and it’s going to be 32 degrees during the race, so I’d better slap on the factor 50. I get out of my sleeping bag and turn my kitbags inside out in the quest for suncream before I remember that I left it back home in the UK because it’s actually winter here in Australia. Doh! Continue reading Phew Uluru, what a scorcher!
It was like a scene straight out of Crocodile Dundee. I kid you not. The Englishman (me) rolls up at the roadhouse bar where I’m greeted by an old leathery tanned bloke with tight jeans, dirty vest and cowboy hat, Jeffrey the Aborigine and his indigenous mates, and a couple of raucous ‘Sheilas’ (the local women). I’m desperate for an ‘arrival beer’ and ask for a recommendation. “Just don’t drink the VB,” shouts one of the ladies who I learn has spent most her life driving dumper trucks down the local mines. “You know what the VB stands for don’t ya — Vaginal Backwash,” she cackles. I play it safe, leave the Victoria Bitter in the fridge and opt for a Coopers Sparkling instead, which I’ve developed a taste for over here.
Well that was brutal. A night of no sleep followed by a 3.15 interview slot, a 3.30 warm-up and 4am start. My rain dance didn’t work either, as it was predictably dry and humid. I’ve never seen so much sweat before the start of a marathon — everyone dripping, except the Kenyans and Ethiopians. I hadn’t done my research either and discovered that the course was in fact rather undulating too.
The plan was to make sure I got a finish so I started off with the 5:30 pacer (thanks Kin K Yum for the rehydration tablets!) but after 5km I felt ok, so decided to push on a bit. I caught the 5hr pacers at around 10km, still felt ok so thought I’d have a crack at chasing down the 4:30 pacers. I finally caught up with them at 25km by which time my legs were shot, so I was swallowing painkillers, gels, salts, Isotonic drinks and whatever else I could get down. The water I just poured over my head to try and control the body temperature.
The last hour was really tough and I was wishing that I had respected the distance more but was happy to get over the line sub 4:30. According to my watch for some reason I’ve run an extra 400 metres, but it must have been all the wobbling about through the crowds (full to capacity at 36,000). Happy to get a podium shot with the oldest participant in the race, at 69. Looking forward to a good sleep this afternoon, couple of beers tonight and then a flight home tomorrow to see my brood. Whoop, whoop!
11 weeks, 18 countries and 18,000 kilometres just to run a marathon. What was I thinking?
Finally, a blog that’s not about motorcycling…Yep, with just a week to go until my first marathon, I thought I’d better write something about running — or lack of. I’m sitting in a Malaysian roadside cafe, shaded from the stifling high 30s temperatures and 90% humidity, and there’s no way I can head out for any training. It’s just too damn hot… Continue reading Running scared?