Day 367 – Islamabad, Pakistan
In 11 days’ time I am flying back from Jordan especially to speak at the National Running Show on the afternoon of Saturday 19th January.
If you want to hear some tales of my journey so far, then pop along. There’ll be tons of great brands and speakers, and the atmosphere will be fab. Have a look at the website for more info…
Today was one of those days where you feel a sense of accomplishment. What many of you don’t see is the constant admin in the background. My team back in the UK does a great job at shielding me from most of it, but there’s still a hell of a lot of non-running tasks to be done in each country in order for future ‘stuff’ to happen, like organising the photography exhibition, or the closing event, or just meeting the right people at the right time in various countries. Oh, and I have to remember to get to the airport on the right day at the right airport with all my stuff. Sounds simple, but with a tired brain, it’s not. Most of the time I’m not sure which passport to use, or what the currency is, or the time zone…
It’s late, about 11pm, and at 4am the hotel driver is taking me to the airport – I fly to country number 102, Bahrain. It was supposed to be Afghanistan, but this got postponed due to visa issues.
Day 368 – Islamabad, Pakistan to Manama, Bahrain
On average I change country and run every 2.8 days. This means my life isn’t in a seven-day cycle, I rarely know what day it is, and more often than not I’m either on a plane or running in a city I’ve never seen before.
I flew four hours to Bahrain today. Simples.
Here’s my checklist of tasks for every country, repeated every 2.8 days.
Watches ⌚ – make sure both watches are charged.
Clothes – make sure that they’re dry and laid out the night before.
Map – using maps.me download an offline map of the city I expect to run in.
Safety – check online for any news alert and check in with the team.
Money – remember to find some local cash or if not, just take euros or dollars.
Trackers – make sure my GPS tracker is charged and on.
Carla – catch up with my assistant to discuss the next country. Everything happens very quickly and so understanding tomorrow is important.
Ice legs – not always.
Running diary – write my review of the run including my mileage and sense of the city; this includes anyone I ran with.
Health diary – I keep a diary of my food, exercise and stretching to try and observe what my body needs or is lacking.
Back up GPS data – everything goes to Suunto Movescount.com plus the back-up Garmin watch data is also sent as a duplicate.
Clothes – dry everything.
Food – try to remember to eat.
Emails ✉ – needs must.
Next country – send a message to anyone running with me in the next country.
Tablets – take the 11 daily pills for health and nutrition; all natural, of course.
Drink water – lots of it.
Stretch and exercises – 20 minutes is enough. Plus push-ups, sit-ups and hip flexor work to keep my core stable. Important for aches and pains.
Progress Photography book, write more of the written book, progress closing event planning, final marathon invites and planning.
Back up all my photos.
Have a cuppa @athleticteaco
Day 369 – Manama, Bahrain, Marathon 102
Thought of the day…
Today’s reminder – we have one life. Don’t wait for tomorrow to live your dream; always try to give everything you have, be vulnerable, be afraid, and stay out of your comfort zone. Life is short and we never get that buzz for life from sitting on the sofa! Every day at least 30 men die from prostate cancer. That’s nearly 12,000 a year. Help me stop men dying by making a small donation.
My first run in heat for nine weeks, some of the most friendly people in the world, a culture that I really enjoy being in, plus the most tidy paved roads I’ve ever seen.
It’s very strange how 25°C was cold back in April last year. Having spent so long in Africa and running in 40°C+, I had truly acclimatised. Never really experienced true acclimatisation before; needless to say, it’s different now – half the temperature, and I was sweating a lot from mile 2.
Bahrain is beautiful and the city is on the rise… developments everywhere; it’s obvious that money is a key ingredient here.
I ran all over the place today and drank over 4 litres of water. The buildings are beautiful. I also forgot sun cream and so now I’m a little burnt. The great news of today, though, is that my foot wasn’t agony to the point of needing extra-strong painkillers. Fingers crossed my body will work its magic. Oh, and my hair is now too long and annoying me. Man bun o’clock.
It’s now late and I’m scoffing down a mushroom risotto overlooking the high-rise landscape. I’m in my bathrobe, washed and ready for a new day. Bags packed and after several hours of admin bits, it’s been a great day. Time to reflect on the past few days, appreciate, and be grateful. I feel I’m getting back in the swing of things. You never know what’s going to be around the corner, though. Dubai tomorrow.
Thanks for the support folks. Keep it up. Donate by text please. Text ‘NRTW89 £5’ to 70070 to support the cause.
Day 370 – Manama, Bahrain to Dubai, United Arab Emirates
What don’t you know about Dubai?
It turns out I didn’t know much at all. As I mentioned a few days ago, perceptions of places are often wrong or at least misleading. After landing in Dubai early this morning I was picked up by Rod. Rod and his family are fantastic – three kids all within the age range of ‘outrageously cute’… Today’s write-up is dedicated to the family.
I skipped along the beach at sunset with a beautiful girl – she’s somewhat shorter than me… and happens to be four years old. I am, of course, talking about their youngest daughter, Joséphine. The family and I watched the sunset over the Burj Khalifa and generally marvelled at the beauty and sheer ludicrousness of the city. This place is amazing. I’m intrigued to find out more tomorrow.
Just a few hours ago Rod and Gaëlle hosted a small dinner with their friends. Raclette! Being French and recently returning from the Alps, it would have been rude not to. What a great way to start my Dubai experience. I have just eaten enough cheese to fuel many, many marathons. Tasty.
Here’s a few things I’ve discovered so far:
- Dubai is home to one in four of the world’s cranes.
- Dubai’s artificial Palm Islands use enough sand to fill 2.5 Empire State Buildings.
- The Burj Khalifa is so tall (828m) that those who live at the top have to wait 2 minutes longer for the sun to set before they can break fast during Ramadan.
- Dubai is building a climate-controlled ‘city’ 2.25 times the size of Monaco.
- There are ATMs in Dubai that dispense gold bars, and 40% of all physical gold traded in 2013 occurred in Dubai.
- There were only 13 registered cars in Dubai in 1968, roughly 154,000 times less than there are today.
- 1,790m2 of 24-carat gold leaf covers the inside of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah Hotel: that’s around seven full-sized tennis courts’ worth of the glistening mineral.
- Dubai Metro is the world’s longest fully automated metro network, at 75km.
Day 371 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Marathon 103 of 196
Expectations surpassed, friends made, sunburn topped up and, of course, another 26.2 miles run.
Sleepy-eyed and feeling a little achy I woke up to a beautiful morning, here in Dubai. By lunch time I was still very sleepy and even more achy, but I’d met another great bunch of people, shared stories, run all over the city and even managed to run barefoot along the beach for a while. The beach, the city, the parks and the canal are just mesmerising. I took 482 photos on today’s run and even managed to have a burger, fries and a milkshake mid-run. When I talk about my ideal run, this couldn’t get much better. Obviously mountains would be on the list, but in the absence of these… today was pretty much perfect.
Thank you to Rod, Emma, Yvonne, Alaric, Katie, Hannah, Bertie, Sarah, Alice and the rest of the gang. What a morning to run in the sun. A special mention to Emma for organising everything, and to Sarah who pushed through a tough last 10km. Rod, it goes without saying that you and the family are brilliant.
Today I ran past the tallest building in the world, along one of the cleanest beaches I’ve ever seen, ate a burger from the famous ‘Salt’ restaurant on the beach, and spent all morning slowly roasting in the sun. It’s amazing how a bunch of strangers can instantly be so kind and welcoming to me. Thank you all. This must be in the top 10 of favourite runs.
Dubai is sometimes seen as big, ugly rich, brash, dangerous and controlled, and while I understand I’ve not experienced everything… I can’t help but fall in love with the place, for the immense calm and peacefulness this place exudes. I feel safer here than I do at home.
The Morning Prayer at sunrise, the air-conditioned streets, the totally relaxed and friendly vibe, and understanding that 50 years ago this place was just a desert.
Today was topped off with a belly-filling amount of food at a classically Arabic restaurant and a quick tour of City Walk.
Day 372 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
It’s 11.45pm and I’ve just finished packing my bag ready to say goodbye to a brilliant country and more importantly, a brilliant family. Rod, Gaëlle, Charles, Joséphine and Sistine – I will miss you all! @marylebonemum
At 6 this morning I splashed water on my face, brushed my silly long hair behind my ears, slipped my shoes on and jumped in the car with Rod. It’s still dark. Just around the corner is Bulgari Island @bulgariofficial We reached this island just before sunrise and waited.
Within minutes of us arriving the sun slowly painted the sky red, and the city filled in the horizon line with huge pointy skyscrapers. What a view! It was still and silent. We looked, and listened – nothing but the sound of an overhead plane. Bliss.
We had breakfast, rested and I even managed to have a little afternoon nap. Not done that in a while. The family and I visited a few art galleries, went for brunch and generally took my mind off the trip for 24 hours and rested. In the evening I headed over to the Player Bar in the Sofitel hotel in downtown Dubai, for the launch of my new sponsors, Energizer Mobile.
Drinks, chats, interviews, more photos and a handshake. Thank you Energizer for believing in me. Great products and great to have your support. A lovely evening topped off with Rod driving me to the Dubai Mall, the biggest in the world. Needless to say, it’s big, and it has a huge aquarium…
Some chats around the kitchen table, bed time for the kids and now sleep for me, too. Night everyone.
Don’t forget: please donate to Prostate Cancer UK to support this expedition. I want to reach my goal of £250,000 and help stop men dying. Text ‘NRTW89 £5’ to 70070 or just click on the link in my profile.
Tomorrow I fly to Muscat for Marathon 104, and another 26.2 sweaty miles. Cheers.
Day 373 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates to Muscat, Oman and Marathon 104
Sad goodbyes, travel, run and a surprise end to the day.
This morning I said my goodbyes to the kids in Dubai as they went off to school. Gonna miss you! It’s one of the hardest parts of the journey – meeting great people and then leaving so soon. I’ve been writing a bit about this in my book actually; it’s honestly really tough. The journey, however, continues, and I will see you all again soon. Thank you guys!
The peace I’ve experienced in Dubai over these three days has been fab. Largely due to a chilled, adorable family, but also the general vibe in the city. The craziness of the busy mall, the wide sweeping beaches, the miles of glass walls shooting into the sky, the 14-lane motorway, the flashy cars, gold bars, the glitz, the glamour, outdoor aircon, the list goes on BUT… somehow, and I’m not at all sure how, the place is calm and elegant.
Today was one of those days, FULL, BUSY, EXHAUSTING… just the way I like it.
After arriving in Oman, getting a taxi to the hotel and checking in, I realised I still had time to run today. I rarely travel and run in the same day, simply because it’s exhausting, but more importantly I usually lose the light. I’m not a fan of running in the dark in a new city. I went for it today, though.
I passed a beautiful mosque, ran along the roads, and then made it to a sweeping 2.8-mile stretch of beach, flat, calm and beautiful. As the sun was setting I ran along next to a guy, and started chatting. His name is Michael. I had 10km to go, and after explaining what I was doing, he joined me. He’s Danish, need I say more. After we ran, to my surprise he offered me a lift home, which then, after meeting his wife and son, extended to a shower and dinner. So incredibly friendly and by 10pm, just 30 minutes ago, I was dropped back to my temporary home.
What a wonderful way to spend 24 hours. Kev, I’m living up to that ethos of making every day count. I’m so lucky. @prostatecanceruk
British Endurance Athlete | Motivational Speaker | Adventurer
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