Feb. 27th 2011 Macomb to Carthage, Il. 41.9km = 26 miles.
Tonight I am the guest of Chet and Ruth. Wonderful people Thanks so much
Feb 28th 2011 Carthage, Illinois to Wayland, Missouri. 44.7km = 27.8 miles
DISTANCE RUN IN THE 4TH MONTH: 1,286KM = 799.7 MILES
MISSOURI IS MY 10TH US STATE OF THE RUN.
Tonight I am the guest of Pastor Dan and Heidi Thanks for a lovely evening
Mar. 1st 2011. Wayland to Memphis, Mo. 54.1km = 33.6 miles
Tonight I received a complimentary room in the Oak Ridge Motel, Memphis, Mo. Thanks so much Viola
Mar 2nd. Memphis to Lancaster. 36.7 km = 22.8miles.
Tonight I am the guest of Boyd and Connie. Thank you so much
Mar 3rd 2011 Lancaster to Unionville. 45.9km = 28.5 miles.
Tonight I am the guest of the town of Unionville who put me up in the Alamo Motel.
Thanking you so much
Total for 109 road days = 4878.7 km = 3,031.5 Miles. 115.6 Marathons.
Last Saturday for my rest day I ran and walked up and over the muddy trail hills. I completed just one of the four 7.1 mile loops of The Kennekek Road Runners Fat Ass fun run in Danville. I ran it gingerely just to be part of the spirit of the event. It was great having a laugh with some of the runners. I ran it with caution as I didn’t want to slip or fall.
I felt that some of the inclines a mountain goat would have shook his head at. On the trail just after crossing over one of the rickety plank bridges which straddled the ankle deep icy cold water I met my friend Tracy Thomas whom I have competed against many times in ultra races in Arizona and Texas. She runs for The Second Wind Running Club who along with Kevin and Janet’s club, The Kennekek Road Runners.
All the runners here have a fascination with the buffalo. In fact the greet each other whether it be on the trail or in the street with shouts of BUFFFFFALLLLLOOOOO!
The Buffalo Warrior is a symbol of big medicine. This awesome creature, so rare, so beautiful, lets his divine presence be known to all who follow. Leading the herd over the snow covered meadows, he is master of all he surveys. This magnificent animal fears nothing except extinction of his own kind.
Back at the house Kevin excelled that night by preparing a huge meal of bangers ’n mash! He had gone to the trouble of googling the recipe as he wanted to cook a unique meal for me. Top marks Kevin!
Next morning was Sunday so I set out for Champaign with Kevin. He was going to run about 16km/10miles with me till we got to the Nugget bar. We set out from the Illinois state line where I finished on Friday. We ran through old and new Danville Kevin pointing out the court house where Abraham Lincoln practised law. The area is steeped in Lincoln history.
Kevin a success entrepreneur also pointed out the 3 buildings he owns. His own office block, a building he is leasing to a bank and another office building.
” It wasn’t always like this Tony… ”
” I came from down south Mississippi way. And when I was in school the other kids used to laugh at me. You see our family was very poor and could not afford new clothes.
” They got second-hand clothes for me and my brothers and sisters.
” Well the other kids at school used to make fun of me saying things like…
” Give me my shirt and shoes back Kevin! ”
” Well I decided right there and then I didn’t want to be poor for the rest of my life and was the only one in my family to get a college education. ”
” What did you study Kevin? ” I asked.
” Economics… I studied business and economics. I soon figured out that I needed to work for myself to get rich. When you work for someone else you will never get rich.. Even if you get $100 an hour there are only so many hours you can work. ”
” Then I got thinking about what kind of work would deliver the best return..
” You see Tony if you manufacture cars it takes a huge amount of money for the first pro-type and even if the second one is cheaper it is still huge money. ”
” Then you need all the parts, you got to pay people to assemble the parts you buy, paint it, storage and distribution costs etc…
” So I figured software design. I studied accountancy software after finding my niche. ”
” So now my first prototype may cost a lot of money from Microsoft but how much do you reckon the second will cost when I copy it? ”
” I see what you mean Kevin, buttons! ”
” And I don’t have all the purchasing, storage and distribution costs of other industries. ”
I made two long stops that day while running along routes 136w and 150w. Tracy joined me on the road for an hour. She is very busy now with her pottery work. She is going on vacation in two days time and needs to prepare her hand craft for drying out in her two week absence. She returned with he friend Laura to pick me up just outside of Mayview just after dark. I had run almost 54km, 33.4 miles.
The next morning after breakfast in Tracy and Laura’s beautiful house I was interviewed by a running friend of theirs. Jodi a journalist for the News-Gazette. Jodi did what most journalist I am encountering fail to do… Get the facts right, nice job and I had it on my website before it hit the newspaper shelves.
On the way back to Mayview we stopped to pick up Brian another ultra runner I competed against in the Across The Years 72 hour race in Arizona. Always nice to run with old friends and runners. Brian pushed Nirvana for 16km/10 miles in the drizzle through Urbana and its sister town of Champaign, a university town. As we ran over some cobbled-stoned roads in the west of the town I asked Brian if he knew of any place to have coffee. Cell phone was whipped out to tell his running buddy Tony to turn on the coffee maker.
A mile later we arrived.
” What you up to today Tony? ” I asked.
” Nothing I am at a loose end watching daytime tv. ”
” You wanna run with us for a bit? ”
” I can’t. ” Says Tony.
” Why is that? ”
” Already had my shower! ”
” I see. ”
Just outside Champaign I was ambushed by a photographer for the Gazette. A one snap photo shoot and I hardly had to break stride.. Nice one.
So I ran on on this wonderful day. Road day 100 of the world run. The rain had stopped. The snow has almost all melted in the fields. Some glorious running past the corn fields. Every so often there was a corn mill to mill, store and distribute the corn kernels down a conveyor belt into waiting trucks.
For the last hour of today’s 50km/31mile run into Farmer City I was joined by Amy and Sara. They had gotten off work early to run with me. Much appreciated, thank you very much.
Somehow I had gotten my brain in a twist. Amy has arranged for me to stay with her mam and dad tomorrow night and the next night. I thought Amy lives with them but she in fact lives in Champaign.
So Amy says.
” Where you staying tonight Tony? ”
” With you! ” I answered.
Confused I don’t think so look.
As we ran along at a nice 10km pace Amy is on her phone arranging a place for me with a workmate.
We arrive at said workmates house. He is putting down a new floor and looking for an excuse to finish early. We go into his house, I sit on his tool box and kick off my shoes.
Just then my mobile rings.
” Hey Tony where are you? This is Matt I am up and down the highway looking for you as your supposed to be staying in my place tonight! ”
So Matt is directed over to Amy’s friend’s house who is a bit concerned that my departure may mean he will have to go back to work now. I make an embarrassed exit!
It’s been getting a bit like that lately. I have been staying with so many people that my head is in a spin. Every morning before I go down the stairs I have to brace myself to ask myself who’s house I am staying in so as I don’t get confused when I say good morning.
I am usually the last one up at night as many of my hosts retire for the evening while I am busy checking emails. I have to make a mental note of where my room and the bathroom are as it wouldn’t do to go into the wrong room! On one occasion I came out of my room in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. All the doors were closed. Not wanting to take a chance… Which one is it, like Russian roulette well….. I just held my pee till the morning. I have also become an expert at the various shower levers and buttons that change the water from the bath supply to the shower head. The pull down ring design which just under the main bath taps mouth has caught me out twice. On both occasions I have had to get dressed again to ask how to run the shower.
Eventually I got over to Matt’s house. He had prepared a nice steak dinner. Great! I am keeping my iron content levels up well these days.
Matt is preparing to set out on an over 4,200km/2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail hike PCT DETAILS from just north of the Mexican border with California right up into Canada. It will be a four or five month backpacking trip. About once a week or every 10 days he will come to a town off the trail to resupply his food, shower and launder his clothes. The PCT is similar to the Appalachian trail I mentioned last month. The hikers all look after each other. Local people also come out to assist. Any kind gesture offered to the grateful hikers is referred to as ‘ Trail Magic. ‘
I ran into Heyworth and stopped in the Pit Row Bar for a huge lunch. The friendly bartender didn’t ask me any questions, he just left me to eat. I heard him talking about some footballer who had done some kind of a trick and they showed it on ESPN. He said they had a million and a half You Tube hits that very morning. Then I get a text from NBC TV Illinois to ask where I am as they want to shot some coverage for the news. So I leave without saying anything about the world run. Just goes to show one never knows what’s happening in ones backyard.
Half an hour later a white hatchback car glides slowly by. The cameraman is in the trunk with the hatchback door open. He is zooming in on me. I pose as I sip from my water bottle. Amy’s dad Bob came out this morning and picked up Nirvana so I am running nice and relaxed and at a decent clip too. The road was quiet so the hatchback drove on the left side of the road as well as parked in the middle with hazard lights on. Anywhere he could get a good shot. He got some good ones too as there was little shoulder. As a truck came barrelling towards me I was running on the gravel and even on the uneven grass surface along the ditches. When the traffic passed I ran back onto the road. So then it was time for the interview. A good 15 minutes. I was very happy with it. So was he but not sure when it would air.
Bob said he would meet me at McDonald’s in McLean, a part of the route 66. When I got there he was talking to a friendly Irish-American cop called Tom. Tom gave me his business card. Bob joked saying that Tom pulled him up for loitering as he stared down the road waiting for me. Meanwhile Tom had asked Bob for my website and checked it out in his squad car. Tom shook my hand and welcomed me to town. I got my opportunity I had long waited for to have a debate about the mindless people that phone the cops thinking I am running with a baby down the highway!
” Surely Tom that’s what a jogging stroller is for and surely it is not illegal to take a child out running on the highway? (in a safe and visible manner) Even in the winter the highway is equally for all pedestrians and the onus should be on motorists to drive in a safe manner? What do Scandinavians say? There is no such thing as cold weather only poor clothing! ”
” Absolutely Tony. ”
Bob drove me over to his house and on the way pointed out a bank of 32 windmills of which one was on his land. Later I heard these windmills are a huge energy source and pay for themselves in a few years.
It cost the state about a million dollars to build each one including all the ground work, connecting underground cables and serious foundation required.
I asked Bob’s wife Vera about them and did she think they are ugly.
THE STATE PAYS THE LANDOWNER A RENT FOR USE OF THEIR LAND
” Well we had a meeting before construction and the general consensus was that we would become accustomed to them. After all aren’t pylons and telegraph poles ugly and haven’t we become accustomed to them? ”
I parked Nirvana in the garage of Bob and Vera’s farmhouse. In the garage was Bobs collection of about six Corvettes.
” You know Tony I am a former insurance man and each of these Corvette’s has a death story! ”
Steak, sweet potatoes, crunchy veg and a delicious salad for dinner..
” I am so full I cant eat anymore! ” I said.
” So you got no room for ice cream Tony? ”
” I always make room for ice cream ”
Then Bob has a brainwave.
” Hey Tony when you start from McLean in the morning you come right by the end of our road around lunchtime. ”
” Will you have more steak and ice cream? ”
” Sure! ”
” See you at one! ”
VERA AND BOB.
Then on Thursday morning after Bob and Vera have spent two days commuting me and treating me like a king in their house it’s time to say goodbye. A couple of days ago we were strangers. Now I have two more solid friends. I thinking of all of the wonderful people that have hosted me and gone so far out of their way to make me so comfortable and happy. My eyes water. I cry, I am sure they see me but they understand. I am crying my eyes out at this as I type this two days later. The world is full of wonderful people and just a few bad apples try to spoil life’s great party.
I continue running along route 136. I am listening to my Ipod for the first time in nearly two months. I had gotten out of the habit in the bad weather. Now on the road I have a one ear rule and just like I used to sneak it illegally under my hard hat when I worked in construction.
I was listening to the Sterophonics’s Have A Nice Day PRESS HERE TO PLAY when an lady pulled up in front of me and gave me a bag of red grapes.
” I saw you on the road and you look like you are doing something important so I went home to get you these. ”
She hurriedly jumped back into her car.
” Whats your name? ” I called out.
” Bridie. ”
I ran on into Havana. I was hungry. From the east side it looked like I had run through the town when I stopped just before the railroad tracks. On the map it is a decent size town. But now there was no cafe in sight. So I stopped at the County Market supermarket and asked.
” Well sir if you want a coffee you can just go on down to the bakery section and help yourself to our complimentary coffee. ”
I am pouring a cold coffee from the dregs of the burco when a friendly clerk called Chelsea offers to help.
” Sorry it’s cold and almost empty sir. ”
” What I heard all about your delicious coffee and ran all the way from Dublin for it and you tell me you are out of it! ”
So Chelsea goes inside and comes out with a larger cup and offers to reheat it.
Coffee spills on my sleeve from the burco which I have by now tilted almost horizontally.
I am eating one of Bob’s steak sandwiches as I wait for Chelsea.
” So tell me one thing she says.. ”
” How can you afford to run around the world? ”
” I bring my sandwiches into supermarkets and drink coffee dregs. And you can read about it on my blog”
” You know I must be the only person in the world with no computer. ”
” Good I was going to write about you and now I can really write what I like. Unless you borrow your brother or sisters computer! ”
” I am an only child.. ”
” Good then I can really write what I like about you! ”
Running over the W. Lucas memorial two lane bridge was a bit scary as there was not footpath. It was about a kilometer long and I decided it was safest to run it with the traffic to my back. So what if they had to wait. This way they had more advanced warning. I got over in the end without too much bother.
An hour later I met my host for tonight on the road. Steve, his wife Carol and their 17 year old daughter Sierra.
STEVE AND SIERRA
Steve and Sierra ran with me for the last 45 minutes while Carol drove and became the official photographer for the day.
On the way back to their home in Petersburg we stopped at an historic Lincoln village which had been recreated to show what village life would have been like in Lincolns time. We stopped at the old shop that Lincoln used to own and live in. I am thinking..
” Nice cabin to camp in and I wonder what it would be like to sleep in Lincolns bed. ”
There was a few inches of overnight snow but nothing serious. Carol is rushing off to the airport as she has a race in Florida…It seems more like a girls weekend to me. Steve has a 15km run in St. Louis. A sporting family they are both members of my friend Tracy’s Second Wind Running Club.
Carol brought Nirvana over to R and M Cyclery in Springfield to have a brake assembly I asked Chariot Carriers to have sent to me. I figured it would be a good idea to have a brake going down the steep descents of the Rocky mountains. The wonderful people of R and M Cyclery fitted the brake for free. Thank you so much!
While Carol was talking to the owner about my world run another man called Mac was listening.
” So where is he going to next? Asked Mac.
” To Macomb. ” Said Carol.
” Well I know someone that can put him up! ”
I was all out of contacts till this encounter happened. Something always seems to work out. I am either very lucky or there is an angel looking after me.. Same with the weather over the winter!