Archive for March, 2011
I STILL NEED TO WRITE THE REST OF THE NEBRASKA REPORT BUT WANT TO GIVE THIS SPECIAL UPDATE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
On Tuesday night I stayed in McCook, Nebraska with family I met coming out of Walmarts that morning. They went home, checked out the site. Later Angela texted me to say her two boys Isaac, 14 and Nolan 12 would like to come out and run with me. So the boys came out and I had a nice run of about 9 miles with them and a break from pushing Nirvana. They offered to put me up for the night after my run (more on this in the Nebraska update) returning me to mile marker 59, my finishing spot on Wednesday morning. I put in a big effort. running 61km/ 38 miles. I had gotten yet another late start and made a couple of long stops on the road. As route 34 was very quiet I lit up well and did a bit of night running. So at mile marker 21 I pulled off the road out of view of the highway. Pulled out my tarp and sleeping bag. It was a beautiful starry night, even if a bit chilly. 21 miles to the Colorado state line – that will be nice and handy tomorrow I thought. I am in the middle of nowhere as its 14 miles to Haigler and brunch, so no time wasting here over breakfast!
Well I did dine on half a litre of cappuccino out of my thermos and a few donuts. A few minutes later I was on the road. For once I had a nice tailwind and I enjoyed the run as Nirvana was moving nicely along the quiet route 34west. I just had to give her the occasional prod ever 20 seconds and she would roll along nice and swiftly up and down those nice gentle hills on the western Nebraska prairies. I wish it were this easy all the time! I felt no aches or pains either from my late night run. Things were just nice and perfect for my ‘ homecoming. ‘
Regular followers of this blog will be aware of my deep love for Colorado. I lived there from 1994 to 2002. I only returned to Ireland when I got a plantar fasciitis injury and just never returned to the centennial state. In fact today is the eve of the 17th anniversary I emigrated there. Just like an old love, I have never stopped loving her! It was here where I turned from marathon and 10km runner to trail runner and in Lake City, Colorado where I discovered ultra or extreme running.. My life has never been the same since.
I remember when i got my green card back then and I had to make up my mind wher to live. Being an outdoors enthuaist it was only ever going to be Alaska, Montana or Colorado. I had visited none of them before but knew they were all wonderful places.
then I remembered the wonderful time I had in the Canadian Rockies during my world bicycle trip in 1979 and decided it had to be Montana or Colorado. I think some of those John Denver songs were giving me subliminal messages, so Colorado won out on a wim and what a whim, one of the best decisions of my life.
So now I am nearly ‘ home.’
A sort of a home coming, my spiritual home.
There was a spring in my step all morning and after lunch in Haigler I had only 11km / 7 miles. I just can’t believe this is happening. Tomorrow will make it 5 months on the road from Dublin.
I can honestly say those 7 miles were the easiest miles of the entire run so far. I just flew along and Nirvana probably sensed my excitement.
I even said out loud… ‘ Have you been here in a past life too, old buddy! ‘
A couple of weeks ago I bought a pair of small speakers that I plug into my ipod. They are nice and neat and I slip them under a bungee cord. Sometimes when there is no traffic its like a rolling rock’ n roll machine!
Today I was playing the tracks marked ‘ Tony’s Running Songs. ‘
Born to Run, Running down a dream.
An old favourite, Dont Stop Me Now. Yes I played that in the last mile of my second world 24 hour treadmill record attempt. I thought I broke it in April 2003 until I discovered an English runner had run one mile more in his attempt 2 weeks earlier. So when I went for it again at the Dublin expo I had my crew man play that song as I ran past the Englishman’s extra mile!
I have another special song. Lindisfarnes ‘ Run For Home ‘ PLAY I will play that at the state line. That song is my anthem. I have always played it before and at the end of my 3 world treadmill attempts and will especially request it as I run around the last bend of the world run in the Dublin Marathon a couple of minutes before 2 pm on October 28th 2013.
So you see how important Colorado is to me, more important than running into Machu Pichu in Peru or even reaching Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America.
So I ran down those last few miles towards the state line. It was easier than this morning. I have a homemade Colorado flag that the family in McCook made for me. I will need to stop a car at the state line so as to be photographed. About a mile before I spotted a young farmhand driving his tractor off the road and he was getting into his pickup.
I rushed in through the gate and said.
” This is the most bizarre request anyone has ever asked of you! ”
His name is Chance, about 30 years old and he said.
” I have had a few bizarre requests in my time so please try me! ”
So I told Chance. I just had to tape the flag pole onto the flag and gave it to him to do as it was windy outside.
Chance said he would drive down to the Colorado welcome sign when he attended to a quick heifer errand!
When I got to the line Chance was waiting for me. Just as a BNCF train driver went by with about 100 carriages. I had gotten to know the train drivers, well from a distance anyway. I would wave at them as they passed several times a day. Often they came up behind me and hooted me out of it! I am sure they have wondered over the last two weeks what I am up to.
I played Run For Home a couple of times as Chance took a few photos of me beside the welcome to Colorado sign and then kissing the ground! I nearly kissed Nebraska’s ground by mistake in my excitement! Then I had Chance shoot video.
He said its too bad I wasn’t an hour later as we could have a beer!
Not loosing an opportunity I asked him if he knew of anyone in Wray, Colorado a two hour run away. He said he didn’t but I would be welcome to go back and stay on his farm…. Back in Nebraska! I thanked him but said I didn’t want to go through the same thing again and would run on.
So in many ways I feel back home… A sort of a home coming.
BELOW IS THE DELAYED NEBRASKA REPORT:
A couple of days out of Beatrice I stopped in a Gilead, population 39 for lunch.
The mailman had directed me down a dusty side street.
” Try the Pioneer Inn. It’s a lime coloured building and you can’t miss it. ”
I nearly missed it.
I was the only customer there. The bosses name was Karen who is also the cook and Sandy the waitress were sitting down having a chat waiting for business. I ordered a Philly steak sandwich and chatted with Sandy while Karen cooked. Then Karen went home for a few minutes to hang out her laundry. Sandy says she will do the same when the boss gets back.
” Just as well you weren’t running through here a couple of days ago because we had a problem out on the road. ”
” A woman hit her husband with something hard and then called the emergency services. The ambulance came and took him to Fairbury. She went in the ambulance with him. Then they decided his injuries were so bad they took him to Lincoln. ”
” Is he ok? ” I asked.
” He died and the police arrested her in Lincoln hospital. ”
” Population 38? ”
” No they were from Dakota, just travelling through. We never had anything like that happen here before… In fact we never had anyone running around the world stop here before. ”
” Really. I wonder why!
I noticed the stove in the cafe bar was fuelled by corn. I never saw corn fuelled stove like that before. There were a couple of buckets of corn with a scoop waiting to be fed to the stove. I guess that is one way of using up wastage from the corn millery. A sign on the wall declared Tuesday a special night with pitchers of beer on offer at $2.61. Just as well I am not a drinker as I would have probably stuck around.
I ran on to Deshler. I asked around for a nice place for dinner and was directed to Grandpa’s by a couple called Kent and Rhonda Betten who stopped their pickup blocking a junction just to chat to me. Kent handed me $40.
” Nice meeting you Tony we will be tracking your run. Here is something for your next couple of meals. ”
Inside Grandpa’s two tables of 7 were playing Texas holdem poker. I suppose this is a Tuesday night activity and both bar and locals need some imagination to keep business and sanity in place. They were a friendly bunch.
One of the men shouted out over his hand of cards. ” Say why didn’t you comb your hair before coming into Grandpa’s? ”
” Caus I don’t carry a comb… I need to cut down on my baggage… Do you know where I can buy a sawn-off tooth brush? ”
That night I camped in a sheltered area of the high school football stadium. It was a restless night as every dog in town seemed to be barking all night. Next morning at breakfast in Grandpa’s I was told.
” We got a lot of critters out here and it’s a big problem for us as the dogs bark a lot.
I was also told of the twister that ran through the north end of Deshler in 2003.
” It came through here without much warning and devastated much of this end of town.
It then came back and demolished more property. My house was badly damaged.”
” Were you insured? ”
” It took 5 months and $80,000 to rebuild. I was lucky I had insurance but many didn’t. ”
A man called Dennis then told me.
” The south side of this small town was not really touched. Some people just lost power that evening, but they just went to bed early and got up the next day unaware of the disaster. One man even went to his dentist for his checkup.
” Even though that end of town was undamaged the dentistry was closed. So he was a bit surprised when he was asked why he turned up for his appointment ”
The customers all left and then I discovered that Dennis had silently paid for my breakfast. I also was told that another man was disappointed that Dennis had beaten him to it! I have often found this that many people just want to help. They don’t want a ‘ song and a dance about it ‘ they just want to quietly help me along the way.
The highway turned off about 5 miles before Superior. This took me by surprise as I hadn’t looked at the map too closely. In fact I have not needed a map since Illinois as I been following US 136 west for about 3 weeks now.
Just past the junction a couple of geology surveyors from Denver stopped for a chat. They topped my drinks bottles up with juice and water and gave me some snacks as I was a bit hesitant about stopping at farms now. My confidence had taken a knock from the events of last Sunday with Redneck of Rage County. It’s very windy now out in the open prairies so I decided to give it another go and ask if I can pitch my tent in a sheltered area of their farm.
First farm refused. Number 6. I wondered will that be the refusal record.
At the next farm a nice friendly dog ran out to greet me. So I went over to where the activity seemed to be coming from.
Just then I heard shouts of… ” What are you doing… Get out! ”
I looked around and could see nobody but for some reason I persisted. I walked a bit further onto the property and discovered an elderly couple were arguing!
A loader was stuck in a rut and they were trying to pull it out with chains attached to the hitch of a pickup. There were 2 holes in the tailgate of the pickup. Barbara was driving the pickup while Neil was in the loader. Barbara told me Neil drove the forks into the back of his 2 year old pickup but Neil was adamant that Barbara had reversed into the loader forks!
So there we were in the middle of the farmyard. Neil told me he is of Danish decent. I guessed that is why there are so many Lutheran churches around this area as there is a large Danish influence.
” The name is Thomsen and not Thompson! Can you drive a pickup? ”
I got inside and swivelled the wheel till I got out of the large rut that Barbara had made. The engine stalled. I restarted and with hard push on the gas pedal, and another swivell of the steering wheel. The wheels span around, screeching. I smelled burning rubber. Somehow I managed to chugg the pickup about 5 car lengths forward. Neil was shaking his fist. Oh no! I hope I haven’t put another couple of holes in the tailgate. I remembered him telling me I could stay but he keeps a shotgun under his bed. It turns out he was telling me to stop and everything was alright.
” That’s great Tony. You saved the day as now I can load up the feed for the cows. ”
” No problem Neil… Looks like I arrived in the nick of time as you two were at each others throats! ”
” You sure did. ”
I was thinking of Tom and Mary from the Irish comedy Fr. Ted. Killing each other in private but with loving arms around each other in public.
” Barbara I want to feed this man… Do we have any more pork chops? ”
” We sure do. Come on in and shower. ”
Neil told me he is a hobby farmer. He and Barbara make more money from
their day jobs in the water board and receptionist jobs than on the farm.
Next morning I got up. It was St. Patrick’s Day. I had a flat tyre. My first since Ireland. The curse of Redneck for sure??
I decided I would make for a small town called Red Cloud, population about 1,000. there was no other place at a reasonable distance, so I decided to have an easy 32km/ 20 mile day.
I stopped for lunch at a gas station on the way. Everyone was dressed in green, some even had green paper neck chains!
I made it to Red Cloud and headed for the local newspaper office. Me approaching a newspaper office was a first for me but on St. Patrick’s Day I was suiting myself!
Inside I asked the reporter if there was anyone who would be willing to guest a real Irishman who happened to be running around the world on this festive day.
” You may try the sheriff’s office and he may let you stay in his jail cell! ”
” Well you can camp in the city park. ”
I asked if I should put that in my blog about the Irish world runner being guested on St. Patrick’s night in the sheriffs jail cell; especially as there were 2 million New Yorkers out at their parade making a big deal of the Irish.
” Oh No! You better not put that in! ” She replied.
I left in disgust and went over to the Palace bar for a big steak and a couple of bottles of O’Douls non-alcohol.
One of the locals said. ” What’s wrong you don’t drink our beer? Is American beer not good enough for you! ”
It was a relatively quiet night, I spent most of it blogging and talking to the owner a nice guy called Tom.
Tom was disgusted by the reporter and arranged for me to stay at a local motel. He asked me to do the interview with the reporter in the morning so I said I would just to please him.
So next morning the reporter came over all as sweet as pie calling me sir! She said their sister paper in Franklin would like to do a story and as they had a days notice they would find a place for me to stay. I felt the arrangement was a bit messy when I was told I would be met on the road. About a dozen locals were playing cards and pool in the local and not a dring among them. I guess Tom is providing a service of sorts.
A woman called Becky stopped me just outside town and made a $10 donation to my charity Aware.
However,no reporter came out and I was let down.
Arriving in Franklin I went into a diner called Down Home Cafe. The owner/ cook rushed out when he saw me pulling my netbook and other gear out of Nirvana. Michael was so excited that he forgot he had a pan of cooking oil on his stove!
His wife Alisa saved the day and the cafe from being burnt down!
They are both outdoor enthusiasts. Michael was a former bicycle mechanic and even had a mobile bicycle repair shop. When he first arrived in this town all the kids had worn out shoes as they had no brakes on their bikes. So he fixed up about 50 bikes, spending a couple of hundred dollars on parts as a nice gesture to the community.
He and Alisa along with their two young children once roamed around the country in their camper van for 5 years. They home schooled their children and never stopped in a place for more than 3 months doing odd jobs to pay their living expenses as they went.
Michael went outside to have another look at Nirvana and returned with a small cluster thorn and told me I got two more flats!
Yes I am now convinced Redneck has cursed me!
” We have a problem with these thorns here.. You may want to go to the tire place here and get a ‘ stop leak gu ‘ we all use here. That should sort out anymore punctures. ”
I was telling Michael about the paper letting me down. Bob, the Franklin town dentist sitting at another table just happened to be having dinner with his wife and daughter. He picked up his cell phone and called a motel to check me in without even a word spoken to me! He then popped over to his dentistry and came back with a paper bag which he said contained a travel toothbrush and sensitive toothpaste. I opened the bag in the motel and discovered it also contained a $20 bill and my sawn-off tooth brush!
I dropped Nirvana over to the tire place and was very lucky they got me sorted as it was a Saturday morning. They pumped the blue gu into all my inner tubes. I was told that if I got a flat that this gu would self seal any puncture. They close at noon and are always busy on Saturday morning. A few days later I noticed a little of the blue gu on the outside of the tyre where it obviouslly seeped out and made a repair… Great stuff
I departed after breakfast. Michael and Alisa not only treated me to breakfast but to dinner last night.
It was a pretty late start but I still ran 47km to Orleans.
I spent the evening there on my netbook in the Paddington Station Bar. There was an open mike night and I had a nice time talking to some of the locals, even a couple of female runners.
Dave the owner bought me a couple of bottles of O’Douls and said I could camp around the back. I went outside to check it out and he came out to tell me not to bother that I could come back to his place after another bottle of O’Douls!
After the bar clean up I walked a couple of blocks with Dave and his wife Mya who is of Slovenian decent.
Mya was born here but her father managed to defect from the former Yugoslav state in the 1960′s. He came over here on a temporary work project as a skilled construction worker. Mya appreciates her freedom and knows how lucky she was to grow up in a free society.
I put in a couple of good days as I ran towards western Nebraska. The west of the state seems to be much friendlier than the east.
Stopped in McCook Wal-Marts for a tarp and supplies. On the way out I met a nice family that took a keen interest in my journey. They said they would check out the site when they got home.
So they did and Angela texted me to say her two boys, Isaac, 14 and Nolan, 12 were excited when she returned and told them of my world run.
The boys are keen runners having brought their running shoes on vacation. They are from Kansas and are here for the spring break with Angela’s parents, Jim and Audrey.
The boys were driven out to me on the road by Angela and her parents. They ran about 9 miles while pushing Nirvana. Jim and Audrey invited me back to the family home in McCook for the for the night.
They had to return home with the boys first as there was no room in their truck. Angela and Jim returned an hour later. I had run almost another 10km just past Trenton. Another good day, 53.6km/ 33.3 miles. I took a photo of mile marker 59. They will return me in the morning and the boys will run another bit with me.
After dinner Angela’s husband Bill and the boys spent an hour editing and printing off a Colorado state flag off the internet for me. We then taped it to cardboard. Jim got a suitable flagpole from his workshop. Having previously lived in and loved the centennial state for 8 years, they knew how important this was to me and I can’t thank them enough
Angela gave me a laugh. I was talking about how the Nebraska prairies surprised me. I had been expecting them to be as flat as a pancake and in fact I have been running through small rolling hills.
Angela said. ” You know Kansas is flatter?… In fact Kansas has been proven to be even flatter than a pancake since the did a test many years ago putting a pancake under a microscope and determined it to be hillier than Kansas! ”
Stopped in Stratton for lunch. I asked an old timer where I could get a coffee in town. Not sure if he thought I was asking him for money for coffee. Eventually he directed me to a nice place called ” The Whistle Stop. ”
I had a good laugh there with the two owners Cricket and Dana. They were about to close and said I didn’t need to hurry as they didn’t have much on that day, only 14 lunches and mine was on the house.
I told them about the old timer and she said half the town is deaf as trains roars through here so much. I told them half construction workers are deaf too as they been around too many power tools and then added…Women too!
Later a guy in a works pickup stopped in front of me. I had thought I saw something fly out of the back of his truck. He was holding a white metal tool box lid which had been ripped of in the ferocious wind I had been battling that day.
This happened about 30 meters ahead of me.
” Just as well you weren’t a bit faster! I wouldn’t have wanted you to have got hit!” He said.
It was slow progress that day, so I took a couple of long breaks. Ended up running till about 10pm in the dark. The road was quiet and I was well lit up. Ended running 61km / 38 miles pulling Nirvana off the road at mile marker 21. I want to have an easy run to the Colorado state line tomorrow.
It was a nice starry night, so I just pulled out my tarp and sleeping bag. A good days work!
I had made my peace with Nebraska. I have met so many wonderful people during my two weeks running across the corn husker state.
Today there was a very strong headwind and along with two long stops I made slow progress to Auburn. I went into a fast food joint and met a woman that says she is in charge of the city parks. I asked her if it was possible to camp there so she called the police department who gave me the okay. Never-the-less I got a visit from a friendly cop in the middle of the night. He got the full circus show and all the usual questioned answered. He ran a full background check before I was allowed to go back asleep under a picnic shelter. It’s always great when I can find a shelter and not have to put up a tent as this saves half an hour in the evening and morning. Also its much easier to get motivated in the morning as many a morning I have laid there for over an hour dreading the big pack up.
Next day I was very tired out on the road. A woman stopped me on the road just before my finish and asked me did the newspaper know I was here. I told her no and wanted to keep it that way! I ran on till I came to a motel. After producing my magic letter I got a room for $20. The lady didn’t seem sure if she should rent one to me. She specified it had to be for one night as a construction crew was coming on Monday. They were working in the nuclear plant. When I got into the room I saw it hadn’t been cleaned out. The bed wasn’t even made. I pulled out my sleeping bag to sleep in. There was even a sandwich and two bottles of water in the refrigerator. I am sure later into this journey this will be luxury!
I got the impression that the room was rented out long term and the renter was gone home for the weekend.
A knock at my door and an elderly female reporter had tracked me down! I really wasn’t up to it as I wanted an early night but hadn’t the heart to refuse as she had a sharp pen, notebook and camera around her neck. She said the woman on the highway had phoned and said I would be willing to do an interview! When I asked how she knew I was here she said she had driven up and down the road and when she hadn’t seen me figured I checked into the motel.
I have observed that Nebraskans are a very reserved and suspicious species. They seem to keep to themselves and not take too kindly to strangers. What happened the next day actually astonished me, I would add paranoid into the mix.
I ran into Gage County. Forevermore I will call it Rage County.
About an hours run before Beatrice I decided I had run far enough for the day so I approached a farm and asked the lady there if I could sleep in the barn. With a very sad look in her eye she said she knew her husband would not approve of it. No worries. A second attempt at the next farm. No luck. When I arrived at the third farm a lady was just pulling up in her car. I gave her a copy of some information of my website which I always do along with flashing the MAGIC LETTER. She refused. As I say I never have any problem with a refusal as that is their prerogative. She still wanted all the questions of my run answered and I obliged as after all they are giving me their time.
So onto a 4th farm and a shake of the head from the man that answered. He also seemed interested and could see I was on a serious expedition as he looked over at Nirvana.
So I went on to another farm and it was 5th time ‘ lucky. ‘
A lady that that answered the door said sure I could stay in the garage.
I pushed my way past a couple of massive bags of empty beverage cans ready for the recycle. There were tools and farm engine parts everywhere.
I proceeded to settle down for the night. It was around 5.30 so I blew up my air mattress, found a spot on the floor for it. Rolled out my sleeping bag, sat down and turned on my computer to check my blog.
Just then the door opens and a sheriff walks in. So I said, thinking he lived there.
” Thank you for your hospitality. ”
” You can’t stay here tonight because the homeowner has called me to ask you to leave! ”
With that a big guy who I will call Redneck comes in. It seems he had overruled his wife.
Well that’s their business. My problem with redneck was he called the sheriff and then came in for the show!
So Redneck asks.. ” Where did you start? How many pairs of shoes? How did you get across the ocean? ”
I’m thinking is he for real. He called the sheriff and then acts like it’s no big deal for him to hassled me by doing this. He pinches Nirvana’s tyres and asks.
” How many punctures? ”
Followed up by. ” How many miles a day? ”
I am amazed. I wondered did he realize he made a mistake and was sorry for calling the sheriff so I give him an out and say.
” Surely you can see I am no danger. All I need is a place to lay my sleeping bag. I even got my own food and a thermos of hot water. I will be gone early in the morning. ”
So Redneck says… ” Oh no… There is too much crime around here. ”
Then he turns to the sheriff and says. ” I will tell you one thing sheriff it will get worse before it gets better in these parts! ”
So I shake my head and tell them I have come all the way from Newfoundland into Maine and across the northern USA where many areas have been deprived and have had their share of social problems. I tell them this is the first time I have experienced such a paranoid attitude and especially towards a traveller who has his website stamped all over himself and is tracked by a tracking device.
On the way out to the farm yard Redneck continues by asking. ” Where have you been to? Where you going to now? ” By now I am ignoring him.
The sheriff runs my background check. He is very friendly. His name is Andy. He tells me he has a friend who is a triathlete who would probably love to put me up. Just then his radio sounds and the sheriffs dept say they have a voucher for me for the Econo Lodge motel in Beatrice. I shake his hand and don’t offer it to Redneck.
He tells me that amazingly THREE of the five farms I went to phoned his office. I am shocked and tell him that is a first. He finds this hard to believe.
As I mentioned I left my website details with these people. Why didn’t they check this out before making their mean spirited phonecalls? Surely people can see I am harmless?
It’s 4 miles to town. Andy goes back to his office and meets me on the highway with the voucher. He also gives me a dinner that the dispatcher gave him for me. Apparently every Sunday they take it in turns to cook a dinner in the office. Today it was corn beef and cabbage and some brownies for desert.
Typing this a week later I have met some really decent Nebraskans and have had some wonderful experiences. I am torn between not wanting to offend my friends and giving a true account of my experiences here. Those that I have become friends with just laugh and agree with me and say things like that they have lived there for over twenty years and still feel like a stranger. It’s true, Nebraska is a very conservative state but I am sure I will have a good time here, I just got off to a bad start.
That day I ran just over 53km / 33 miles to Beatrice.
I should make it to the highlight of my world run other than the finish Colorado… Rocky Mountain High Colorado on Thursday.
Tuesday night I am about half an hours run past Trenton.
The state line is just 59 miles circa 95km away.
I have endured the longest and toughest winter of my life to be able to run thru the Rocky mountain state. When I was in Maine last December I could have headed directly south to the warmth of Florida and continued thru the Caribean thereby cutting significant time and distance off this journey. I am not dreading the mountains, I can hardly wait I am so thankful and happy to have lived in the most beautiful place I have ever been to!
AS I mentioned before I lived there from 1994 -2002. The towns I lived in were Fort Morgan, Brush, Gunnison, Crested Butte and Lake City. I honestly hope it will be the same as I have loved and remembered it from before. It seems all my friends have moved on.
I am still craving to be able to get my hands on a Colorado State flag to carry over the state line on Thursday (provided I don’t take a rest day and I don’t expect to!)
Perhaps someone can help me get one if they know of any driving east to Nebraska in the next few days?
I have emailed the nearest Colorado town Wray twice and sent a post card but no responce yet I would love to have some local runners at the state line when I run over
If anyone knows of anyone that can put me up for a night anywhere along my route or can get the Colo flag please text me 978 875 4154
MY ROUTE TO THE COLORADO STATE LINE >> PRESS HERE
The road to Tariko had many short leg-sapping hills. A couple were about a km up and down. It has been like this for the last few days. Also the wind always seems to be in my face. I guess this is the reason the majority of cross country runners run in an easterly direction.
Just outside of Tariko I got stopped by the sheriff a friendly guy called Reilly. He told me when his folks came over from Ireland they lost the ‘ O ‘ from o’ Reilly. This happened a lot during the Irish potato famine as many of the fleeing Irish that arrived in Ellis Island were illiterate so names their future name spelling was often determined by an unfamiliar US immigration officers entry document.
Anyway Sheriff Reilly ran a full background check on me.
The hard shoulder was so bad with holes and mud that I obviously had to run on the road when no traffic was coming towards me.
Sometimes even when I was running in the shoulder a vehicle would move right over to the other lane giving me a wide berth.
I saw Reilly’s patrol car coming towards me. I looked back, saw his red brake lights in the distance. He was turning around. I noticed he was driving slowly while watching me. I stayed in the gravel shoulder. During the background check I heard him say.
” No he was well off (the road) ”
I asked him what he meant and was told that someone had reported me for running on the road!
I arrived in Tariko and went to Dollar General for some goodies. On the way out I saw a lady slip as her trolley tumbled over.
I asked her if she was alright as I rushed over. Just bruised pride I think.
I had also asked where there was a cafe I could get lunch. There were a couple of possibilities for me without leaving the highway but as on many occasions I was to make a decision I cannot rationalize with. This time I left the highway and sought the downtown one, a place called The Barn Mule Cafe. I had a delicious chili and cheese sandwich lunch.
Just as I was packing up a lady called Tammie came into the cafe with 3 young boys and started chatting to me saying she had seen me on the road a couple of times during the week. It turned out her fiance, Mark had been driving by and seen Nirvana outside and phoned her. It also turned out that they are the co-owners of the cafe and adjoining Wild Horse Bar. So Lunch was on the house. I had been planning to run the 8 miles to Rockport but when Tammie said she would let me stay in an apartment they are preparing to rent out I decided I would not look a gift horse in the eye… Or even a wild horse. They were good enough to let me take a rest day I spent catching up on my logistics.
MARK AND TAMMIE.
Later I was having dinner in The Wild Horse with Tammie and Mark, his workmate Donny and a few of the other locals. We were having a good laugh. Then Donny says… “How you going to get across the bridge Tony? ”
” Run of course. What you mean Donny? ”
“Well you know that bridge just before the Nebraska stateline doesn’t allow any pedestrians. ”
” Well is there another road I can take around it.. Some county road with another bridge? ”
” No that is the only bridge across the Missouri. It’s very wide almost as wide as the Mississipi. ” Said Mark.
And someone else added. ” It’s one lane only. One way flow with traffic lights that only last 90 secconds.. Can you run a half mile that fast? ”
” Ha Ha, of course not! What about Riley… Is he alright? ”
” His bark is worse than his bite. But he is only the deputy sheriff.. Why you ask? ”
” Well if I asked in the sheriff’s office to have them stop the traffic for a few minutes and they refused I would be screwed. ”
Then the subject changed and my newest friends were talking about a Republican Congressman they know.
So I butted in. ” What you saying you know a Congressman? Can we give him a call and ask him to get me over the bridge? Surely the sheriff wouldn’t object then? ”
So Marks says but I’m not really listening. ” You know Tony this is a small town. We only got a couple of thousand residents and we got a Congressman and a Supreme Court judge. ”
” Can you give him a call Mark? What’s the Congressman’s name? ”
” Congressman Sam Graves of the Republican party. I don’t have to call him he is standing over there.”
I glance around the bar. I guess I was looking for a sharply dressed man in a designer suit and shirt and tie.
” I don’t see him. ”
” Someone points and I still don’t see! ”
So I call out.. ” Sammy Where are you? Can you come over here for a moment please? ”
WITH MY BUDDY THE CONGRESSMAN SAM GRAVES.
So Sam Graves,Rep. comes over and shakes my hand and I tell him about my problem. He is dressed in casuals, with a wolly hat on his head and is holding a bottle of Bud.
I laugh and ask him how he is going to explain to president Obama when an emergency congress meeting is called.
I am smiling and just imagining Obama thumping the desk!
” Sam this is a grave matter! How come your constituency is the only place in the world where Tony Mangan was prevented from running through? ”
Then I wake up as Sam tells me not to worry that I will get across.
Mark says to Donny.
” I think we can get him across on our own. ”
I am bitterly disappointed. ” What you mean I wont have the Congressman, the Supreme Court judge and the whole sheriff’s department holding up the stop and go signs? ”
Then I realize… ” Ah shit the book won’t be as good now! ”
Next morning I am dressed for the adventure. I meet Tammie and Mark and their fathers in the bar for breakfast.
Just as I am finishing up a reporter comes in for a story.
Another hour and I am just ready to go outside for the pictures when a woman comes in. She has a big smile on her face and says.
” Do you remember me? ”
” Yes you are the woman that fell in the Dollar General parking lot. ”
” Yes and my name is Karen. ”
Karen gives me an orange tee shirt which she got specially printed for me.
It has my name on it along with the word BELIEVE and the date of our encounter 3-9-11 printed on it. I am thinking it is a cross between a Guinness advert and a bible verse.
Then she hands me an envelope and starts talking about ” Godwinks ” and always grasping the moment. I haven’t a clue what she is talking about. She tells me she is a writer of note and has penned a message especially for me.
KAREN AND THE REPORTER AFTER WE GATHER UP ALL HER NOTES.
thanked Karen and said I would read it later when going to bed.
This is Karens note:
Thank you for my ‘ Godwink ‘…
On 3-9-11 at the Dollar General store – Tarkio, Missouri I was on my lunch break, rushing through my errands. The lot was so full I had to park on the side by the grass. When I came out with my cart full and began pushing it across the grass to the passenger side of my truck, the thing tipped over completely on its side.
It was then that I heard -
” You ok? Need help? ”
I looked up to see you crossing the lot in the drizzling rain, seeming down and out, pushing your cart of life. You wore a beanie of many colors, a yellow vest with reflection bands, black leggings and a smile larger than life.
I saw an American flag sticking out of the cart and another flag I didn’t recognize.
I wanted to ‘ help you ‘….. But I said ” Nope I’m ok “- Because I was rushing; and you lowered your head to tend to your cart, but first you said -
” Lost your pride is all. Don’t worry I didn’t see. ”
Then you smiled at me and it was gentle. I thought about you for the rest of the day…And wrote these words….Secretly wishing that I let you help me.
God bless you, Karen.
So we all went outside for the photos. The reporters notes all blew away. We retrieved them with me stepping on one of the loose pages of questions. It was probably the ‘ How you get across the ocean ‘ one..
‘Should have let that tormental question blow all the way down highway 136west!
The plan was that Mark and Donny were going to drive out to the bridge and they would stop the traffic! In all the confusion I forgot to ask them to take Nirvana the 30km/18 miles.
I think I am loosing my marbles another slip up! And I was cussing my stupidity all the way!
I had told them to meet me at the bridge three and a half to four hours after I left as I intend to take a break at a gas station on the way.
The lads arrived four miles early so we loaded Nirvana into Marks pickup truck. The traffic was busy. I ran past some signs which stated the bridge was only 8′ 6” wide. Less than 3 meters!
A TIGHT SQUEEZ!
Barely enough for a truck to get through and that’s why I have to have the traffic stopped because imagine if I didn’t have this help I would be running right into a truck while pushing Nirvana across the Missouri river!
The crossing worked out really well. It turned out that the construction of widening the bridge had come a long way since Mark and Donny were last here. The project was to build a separate eastbound lane alongside the single shared traffic light controlled lane.
HALF OF THE EASTBOUND LANE WAS COMPLEETED
Before I got ready to run across I stopped for a drink of water. I looked down into the fields below by the riverbank. A team of construction workers were busy preparing rebar grills to be lifted into place on the new section. They looked up at me. I was also wearing a yellow high-viz vest like them. They probably wondered who I was or was I a worker goofing off.
Half of the new eastbound lane was completed, so that was easy. Mark suggested I run that half and then jump over the separating wall onto the old lane just after my own west bound traffic went by… But what happens if I don’t make it across before the lights change again!
I ran the first half and then saw that the rest of it was prepared for rebar. So legged it over the rebar mesh. It was awaiting the concrete pour. I remembered a job I once had with a bridge crew in Colorado 10 years ago. We tied the rebar in place with braiding wire on the bridge. It was back breaking work. So hard we got extra pay when we were doing the rebar tying work.
I stepped cautiously over the mesh hoping not to meet any of the construction workers or worse a foreman who might attempt to stop me. I decided I would just keep running. Luckily enough I did not meet anyone.
AND HALF WAS REBAR. I DECIDED TO RUN THIS AND NOT TO JUMP OVER THE WALL ONTO THE SINGLE NARROW LANE.
I was taking extra care not to slip between the square mesh which was just a little smaller than my shoe size. It was slow progress. I was also taking care not to fall into the Missouri!
A few minutes later I was across the bridge and into Nebraska!
TEAM MANGAN: MARK AND DONNY
Friday afternoon I arrived in Auburn Nebraska. I crossed over from Missouri this afternoon. Thanks to Mark and Donny for their help in transporting Nirvana across the Missouri’ rivers non pedestrian bridge. Details on how I managed to run across it in my next blog :)
Mar 10th 2011 Rest day in Tariko, Mo. Thanks Tammie and Mark
Mar 11th 2011 Tariko, Mo. to Auburn, Nebraska. 43.1km = 26.8 miles.
Camped in Auburn
Mar12th 2011 Auburn to Tacumeh 31.9km = 19.8 miles.
Mar 13th 2011 Tacumeh to Beatrice 53.1km = 33 miles.
Mar 14th 2011. Beatrice to Fairbury. 43.3km =26.9 miles.
Mar 15th Fairbury to Dashler 47.3km = 29.5 miles
Mar 16th 2011 Dashler to Mile Marker 95 on US 136west 43km = 26.7 miles
Tonight I am staying with Neil and Barbara Thanks so much for your kind help
St. Patricks Day 2011. Mile Marker 95 to Red Cloud. 32.2km = 20miles.
Tonight Tom of the Palace Bar has put me up in The Green Acres Motel. Thanks for all your great help
Mar 18th 2011. Red Cloud to Franklin 36.7km = 22.8 miles.
Tonight Bob the local dentist sponsored my stay in the Drop Tyne Lodge Motel. Thanks very much Bob. You are so good :)
Mar 19th 2011. Franklin to Orleans. 47km = 29.2 miles.
Mar 20th 2011. Orleans to Holbrook. 56km = 34.8 miles.
Mar 21st 2011. Holbrook to McCook. 53.6km = 33 miles.
Mar 22nd 2011. McCook to mile marker 59. = 45.9km = 28.5 miles.
Mar 23rd. Mile Marker 59 to Mile Marker 21. = 61.1km = 38 Miles.
Camped in field.
Total for 128 Road days = 5,714.3km = 3,548.7 miles.
Tonight I am the guest of Jim and Audrey (commute back to McCook)
Thanks very much for your kind and wonderful help
Total for 124 Road Days = 5,497.7km = 3,416.1 miles
This is my upcoming route for Nebraska as far as the Colorado state line. Any runners that wants to run with me on the route are more than welcome. If anyone can put me up for a night (planned overnight stops below) or knows of someone that can or a running club on my route please contact me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or TEXT 978 875 4154
I can make reasonable commutes if you can return me to my finishing spot please!
Thanking the American people for their incredible hospitality Tony.
For my destination list and map >> PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR A MAP OF MY ROUTE
Planned overnight stops:
Nebraska: Running on US 136 west.
Tecumseh, Beatrice, Fairbury, Deshler (arrived Mar 15), Red Cloud (expected Mar 17th), Franklin, Alma, Oxford, Cambridge, Mc Cook, Trenton, Benkelman, Haigler.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was going to take an easy week soon. Well I didn’t mean it to be this week but it just kinda happened what with 2 days cut short due to imminent ice rain, 2 offers of a place to stay before my day was finished and an offer of a rest day.
Mark who is the Owner of Camaro’s Steakhouse drove out about 50km/31 miles to me on Monday morning to see if I was ok and needed anything. He caught me just before I turned off the road to Stanberry for my break. It’s wonderful that people are going to so much trouble to ensure my welfare.
In Casey’s gas station a customer called Tom asked me if I was working on the bridge. He was referring to my yellow Hi-ziz vest..
” No I am working on the road… Working on running around the world! ”
Then I asked him about how the condition of the roads and bridges and how they became to be neglected.
” About 20 years ago we were promised new infrastructure. The federal Govt. allocated Missouri a huge amount of money. Some of the work was done but never finished. They ran out of money and later we found out that the money was embezzled out of the state. ”
Later someone else told me that embezzled was too harsh as the problem was more of a mismanagement of the road upgrade funds which eventually got diverted to other project.
” But I thought President Obama came to office promising to upgrade every road and bridge in the country creating tens of thousands of jobs? ”
Hysterical laughter from everyone in a packed service station.
” Well he meant Illinois but forgot about his neighbors. We always get forgotten about. ” Said the attendant.
After an hour’s break I hit the road again and run on towards Marysville. The roads, shoulder and bridges are getting worse the further west I go in Missouri. I wonder about the accident rate on the roads here. Surely it must be significantly higher? Many dangerous bends are not properly protected.
HEAD UP RUNNING OR MISSOURI MISSERY!
Today I saw 6 and 10 foot lengths of rebar just lying at the side of bridges with broken away concrete. How can this be allowed to happen in the United States, the most powerful country in the world?
I remember my talk last month with the boss of construction company working in Louisiana. He spoke of the around the clock unlimited funding for the rebuild in the aftermath of hurricane Catherina. the reality is that rebuild is going on and nobody wants to live there. Many people are leaving undamaged home, moving to a safer state. Here most Missourians I have met are proud people despite the economic carnage. I have not seen a single construction worker in the state.
The ice rain that was expected last night never materialized. This afternoon as I was running through Nodaway Valley it started raining sleet. A little at first. Then it rained a little heavier. I decided to finish early.
I came to a farm and rang the doorbell. A young girl called Jenny came out. I asked if I could sleep in an outbuilding. She suggested that I should call her father on his cell phone! I assured Jenny that it would be a better idea if she phoned him.
So she did, my website was checked out (as is my usual suggestion) and her father, Chris came from working in his workshop to meet me.
Chris brought me out a sleeping bag to lay on the concrete garage floor along with an electric heater and a chair.
” There you are. “ Said Chris, then he added.
” I am sure you won’t be stealing any of my tools or chains from here as you got enough weight to be pushing! ”
Further browsing of my website and I was invited inside to shower, launder,eat and be asked howI got across the ocean within ten minutes!
Sandy his wife came home from her work as a principal in an infant school.
So Sandy phones her father Karl and tells him to come over for dinner. Karl was born in Germany and came to live in Missouri 50 years ago. He didn’t waste any time when he found out that an office worker worked in nearby Conception Abbey was also German. They soon married. They converse in English. He has no trace of a German accent and speaks like an American.
Karl told me about his hobby. He collects animal traps. Old antique traps. I never heard of such a pastime but apparently it is a popular one. There are dedicated trap magazines and auctions all over the mid-west. He recently drove to Nebraska to check out some bear and wild game traps. I was soon calling him… Karl von Trapp!
Being a smart ass I asked him how many mouse traps he had. He said he has none as they are rare and valuable.
” If I had an old mousetrap I could get $700 for it. ”
Karl invites me to lunch tomorrow as he lives near Maryville and I will be passing by his favorite restaurant, a place called Grays. It’s 17 miles away and knowing my recent record I take a chance and optimistically say I will be there at 1pm. However I get an early start and am going by a junction at 11.30 just as von Trapp shouts over to me.
” It’s just a mile up the road. ”
It’s actually about 4 and up a long hill. I am cussing him for not stopping to take Nirvana in his pickup. Actually I made a rare slip up last night by not asking him to take her then.
I hardly have my hat and gloves off when a journalist friend of his comes in and says.
” You must be Tony?”
Dustin is a nice guy. I am impressed by his quality of questions and his sense to do a good job. He tells me the weekly newspaper deadline is tomorrow but he is going to hold it over another week to research my world run properly.
I am complimented when Dustin tells me that this is the biggest story he has covered in his several years as a journalist.
He normally covers sports and local affairs.
The interview went on for an hour over lunch. Karl hardly gets a chance to open his trap. He leaves and I have forgotten to take his picture.
Outside Dustin takes his picture for the paper. I finally get going afer over an hour and a half. Its starting to sleet again. I should be concerned about where I will stay tonight but I am not.
I am not very religious but I know something up there is looking after me. I feel I have some kind of a guardian angel or something .It was the same when I was on my world bicycle trip all those years ago as a kid. Things always seem to work out.
An hour later a pretty blonde pulls up in a pickup.
” Hey you want a ride? ”
I get this a couple of times a day… College kids and even grandmothers.
” No thanks I never take a ride I am actually running around the world!”
“You know its supposed to snow 2 inches tonight and what are you going to do tomorrow? ”
” I will worry about that tomorrow….A lot of the time these things people worry about don’t happen! ” I reply.
Half an hour later Ben a corn and soya bean farmer pulls up and I am offered another ride.
” No thanks but I am looking for a place to stay tonight. ” I say.
” Well I got a fixer upper house that my son uses for hunting. If you like you can stay there tonight and I will bring you back here in the morning? ”
” Thanks.” I say and snap a finish location photo. Once again I finish early as some offers are too good to pass up, even if I finish an hour early.
On the way to Burlington Junction Ben tells me that this year corn and soya bean farming is poor due to so much dampness. Last year was average and the year before was good.
He tells me he was married for 22 years but is now divorced these last 30 years. His wife owns a cafe in town called Kiss My Grits Caff. They are still very good friends.
We arrive there so as I can get some food for the night. I am unsure if the lady that served me is his ex and forget to ask.
She gives me 3 large chicken steaks, crisps, pastries, a loaf of bread and fills my thermos. Ben wont let me pay. He puts it on his tab.
At the house we light the wood burning stove and I change out of my wet clothes.
There is no water as a water pipe is burst. I got enough water for drinks from 2 one gallon jugs of water.
Ben says he will return at 7 am and we will go for breakfast.
BEN THE CORN AND SOYA BEAN FARMER FROM BURLINGTON JUNCTION SAVED MY DAY
Over 5,000 kilometers and 3,100 miles have been run please feel free to make a donation to my charity Aware. The donate button is on the sidebar.
3,100 miles is roughly the distance from New York to LA. I got to run almost another 2,000 to get to the west coast because my run began in Ireland and included Atlantic Canada. Only about 240 runners and walkers DETAILS have made an officially recognised coast to coast crossing of the USA.
since Tony began his World Run on 25th October 2010
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I have always considered myself to be an average runner. In school, I was even bullied for I was a sports wimp. Through hard work, dedication, perseverance, self-belief and a strong mind I succeeded in not only running around the world but breaking four ultra running world records during my competitive career. Having previously cycled around the world I didn't start running until I was almost 30. Then I had a dream of running around the world. For many reasons, I waited for over 20 years. One reason was to establish my pedigree as an endurance athlete. I started and finished my world run as the current World Record-Holder for 48 Hours Indoor Track 426 kilometres (265 miles), a record I have held since 2007. I also broke and still hold the World Record for 48 hours on a Treadmill 405 kilometres (251 miles) in 2008. When I retired from competition, more pleasing than any of my world, European or Irish records I had the respect of my fellow athletes from all over the world - in my opinion, sports greatest reward - an achievement I am most proud of. Then I finally put myself out to pasture, to live my ultimate dream to run around the world! This blog was written on the road while I struggled to find places to sleep and to recover from running an average of 43.3 kilometres or 27 miles per day for 1,165 road days. There were many nights I typed this blog on a smart phone, so fatigued my eyes closed. Many journalists and endurance athletes have referred to my world run as the most difficult endurance challenge ever attempted. During my expedition I rarely had any support vehicles, running mostly with a backpack. In the more desolate areas I pushed my gear, food and water in a cart which I called Nirvana, then I sent her on ahead to run with my backpack once again over altitudes of almost 5,000 metres in the Andes. I stayed in remote villages where many people had never seen a white person before. I literally met the most wonderful people of this world in their own backyard and share many of those amazing experiences in this blog. My run around the world took 4 years. There were no short cuts, I ran every single metre on the road while seeking out the most comprehensive route across 41 countries, 5 continents, I used 50 pair of running shoes and my final footstep of the run was exactly 50,000 kilometres, (almost 31,000 miles) I eventually finished this tongue in cheek named world jog where I started, at the finish line of my city marathon. I started my global run with the Dublin Marathon on October 25th 2010 and finished with the Dublin Marathon on October 27th 2014 at 3 05pm! Thank you for your support, I hope you can share my unique way of seeing the world, the ultimate endurance challenge! Read more...