Archive for June, 2012


Thursday, June 28th, 2012
Hi all.. I have pictured this blog and also an older one, press HERE  to see those photos when finished here.
Many thanks to Kieran Gallagher for his kind donation to my Paypal account towards the run!
Have a great holiday Kieran.
By the way because I am just getting over a cold I took my short break in Arequiba before finishing Peru. I also got routine blood and health check ups and all is well! Many thanks to Joss, Ana and family for hosting me these last couple of days. Friday evening I return to the Pirwa backpackers hostel in Puno where I left off. I will start running the last three days towards the Bolivian border on Saturday…
Another marathon took me to the wonderfully sounding city of Ayacucho, famous for it´s 33 churches, one for every year Christ lived for. It may sound nice but Ayacucho was the birthplace of the notorious Peruvian guerrilla group known as the Shining Path. A Maoist group which was founded in the late 1960s by Abimael Guzman, a former university philosophy professor.
Its stated goal was to replace what it saw as bourgeois democracy with ” New Democracy ”. The Shining Path believed that by imposing a dictatorship of the  proletariat, inducing cultural revolution and eventually sparking world revolution, they could arrive at pure communism.


The group inflicted  violence deployed against peasants, trade union organizers, popularly elected officials and the general civilian population. The Shining Path is described by the Peruvian government as a terrorist organization. The group is on the U.S. Department of State’s list of Foreign List of  Terrorists and the European Union and Canada likewise describe it as a terrorist organization and prohibit providing funding or other financial support. Since the capture of its leader Abimael Guzman in 1992, the Shining Path has declined in activity. Certain factions of the Shining Path now claim to fight in order to force the government to reach a peace treaty with the rebels. Similar to militant groups in Colombia, some factions of Shining Path have adapted as a highly efficient cocaine smuggling operation, with an ostensibly paternalistic relationship to villagers.

More information HERE 

Then an almost all uphill 38km day and not a hostel in sight. Local people told me there was one in a place called Condor Ccocha, so I commuted there after finishing at km 420. It took about an hour to get there, a village well off my route and on a side road. When I arrived I had dinner in a very busy restaurant. I kept asking the waitress about the hostal and she kept saying she would ask the owner for me. The owner didn´t seem to be in a rush as he was playing cards with his mates.

Peruvians are not exactly well off but I cant get over the amount of people that still use restaurants for their meals. Often whole families go out for dinner, I have seen street cleaner with poor footwear go out to breakfast.

Eventually I approached the owner who took a timeout from the cards to show me my room. It was a brand new hotel, still under construction as it had no electricity. He wanted $8 which was about double what I have been paying lately. Not exactly in a bargaining position – more or less being over a barrel and having to pay whatever he asked for I still managed to bargain him down to $6. It was a lovely room.

 I then had to borrow his flashlight!


Back on the highway I was making my way over more dusty rough roads towards Ocros. I haven´t seen a shop or anywhere on the road to buy anything for 80km, the longest service less stretch of the run so far.

Then I come to a major roadwork project. The main contractor is a company called Cosapi. The road works go on for about 40km. The road workers stop me a couple of times. Their company deliver them lunch, and there is no shortage of food. Soup, rice, fish, veg and mate, which is a form of herb tea. In fact I stop for two lunches!


Very few Peruvian workers have cars. Most big companies bus their workers in and out. This operation is huge as there are about twenty buses and its a 24/7 job.


At the end of my day one of the buses stops for me when I finish at km 69. They tell me they will bring me back in the morning. So I manage to find a hostal in Acros. I am amazed I found it as many of the crew are based here. They have taken up most rooms in town and I passed by one large building and could see through the open door that there were about ten bunk beds in that room alone.

Even the restaurants were serving the workers paid breakfasts by the company and dinners in the evenings.

The towns restaurants were almost like company canteens much so much that they had all the company policy notices, workers rights, sick benefit and maternity leave information all posted on the restaurant walls.


Some of the workers told me they don’t get annual leave but get seven days unpaid off after working 35 days.

Another worker that I became friendly with, a man called Luis who worked in Provo, Utah, USA told me that holidays are paid into the hourly rate, just as they do in some US union jobs – where they pay a few dollars an hour extra in lieu of the benefits which is called ” fringe benefits.”

I remember from my time working these jobs in the USA that one soon becomes accustomed to the higher rate and felt cheated that I only got three or four days paid leave in eight years working there!

Luis told me that he was married to an American woman in Utah but the relationship ended as he couldn´t find work there due to to the downturn in the American economy. He returned to Peru as this is a good job.
” I love women! ” He told me.
“ Because I married three times! “
Next day I was up at 5.30am and had breakfast in the restaurant with the workers. They brought me back to my finishing spot and fed me lunch again as I ran the 29km to finish early in Ocros. It was a very hard tough day as I went over a mountain on that terrible road. The pass was about 4,400 metres.
Then out on the road the very next day my instincts tell me that I am in an unsafe area. I was puffing my way up a hill when a young lad seemed to make a suspicious movement towards his right pocket. I gave him some small talk telling him I was only there for a short vacation on my way to Cusco. Then he starts asking me how much my camera costs, as it´s on my arm strap. Then he tells me about a shortcut across some field!
” No loco! ” I say and run on. Perhaps I should have left the loco bit out!
No harm having my senses tested and practised as one can easily let ones guard down after meeting so many nice people.
About an hour later I am going through a village called NiÑa Bamba.. I see two lads standing beside a motorbike at the side of the road. I greet them with a ” Buenos Tardes ” and get ignored, I am reminded of the American hatred stares I got in parts of Central America.
So I keep going.. I come to a school just as the children are being let out by what looks like a teacher and the school principle.
They stop me to ask what I am up to. The principle gives me an orange, so I got to drop the rock I got in my hand for safety reasons!


I ask for the honest answer, not the home proud one to my question… Is this a dangerous area.
” Si “
I talk to the kids for a while and walk with about a dozen of them down the road as they make their way to their houses. I suspected a few lived the opposite direction but they came along for the walk! One by one they wave adios as they arrive at their houses.
On I go through that beautiful valley and get stopped by Johan and Ils a couple from Belgium. They are nice motor bikers and give me food, fruit and top up my water bottle.


Their trip around the world, which they plan to do in two stages is strangely called ” Kiss the Ride.com ”
As we are talking by the side of the road we are looking down the next switchback and saw a bus and a petrol tankard almost collide.
The dust is still incredible, it´s like being on a construction site kangooing down a wall.
That night I got into a village called Ahuayro. There are four hostals which seems a lot for such a small place. There is a major water pipe upgrade going on in this area. The first three hostals I go to are full, full of construction workers. Construction projects could pose a threat to my safety should accommodation fill up for I run with just a 3 kilogramme backpack and 2 kilos in my pockets, no sleeping bag or tent. I am wondering about where I will sleep should the fourth place also be full. I may have to put some of the survival skills I have studied to use sooner than expected.
I smile as I approach it. It also serves as a mini bus ticket office. It´s far from being a ´squalor dollar ´place, more of a ´rent for a cent ´I smiled for surely no reputable company would house their employees here and there would be a bed for me.
I had to go all the way into the owners kitchen in the front of the building for they never heard my hollers.
A friendly man came out and unlocked a door, I don’t know why he locked it, nor I later for there was no window. It was covered by plastic, walls nailed together by bits of wood and a bumpy sloped mud floor.


Yes, definitely the most basic room I have gotten in the run but rarely have I been more delighted for it was damn cold out there. There was a clean bed, a roof and walls of sorts around me, and that’s all I needed that night.
Some of the places I stay in I can see they don´t change the sheets, so usually I just sleep in my clothes, how I must stink, but happy living the dream.


For the next 70km or so out of Ahuayro it´s mostly climbing again. A cop tells me to be careful for it´s dangerous, but only at night he adds. Like most places I tell him.
I get to a town called Uripa. More construction work going on. It´s like the reconstruction of Baghdad for the road literally disappears in the construction and detours.. I lost the road!!


Everywhere there are trenches, holes and moulds of rubble and dirt. Perhaps it´s the crappiest place I have ever set foot in. Besides the heart being ripped out of the town there is the other Latino hobby… The compulsion by so many people to collect and stack blocks and bricks beside their houses. Perhaps collected from old derelict buildings, hoarded to build the extension that may never be built for their houses.
So I called it a halt that day as I spent a fruitless half hour looking for the road.
Earlier, I saw a woman feed her young child cocoa leaves. Cocoa leaves are the basis for cocaine and are sold openly here.
They are chewed and the juices keeps hunger at bay and give an extra edge to ones energy. They can keep it, I got no interest.
 I was shocked by this mother feeding her child with the leaves, as it also errodes teeth over time.
An elderly woman called Zaragoza directed me up a trail to where the road magically appeared. She really humped it up the hill, putting me to shame!


On the way we passed a dozy dog that looked sick and perhaps rabid to me. When I asked her she nodded and just said ” Infirma “
On I ran and ran towards Andahuaylas. It was a lovely day and I finished strongly.
Around lunchtime I was told by a religious woman in a shop that El Senor would look after me…
” El Senor.. Dios…God! “
Then she asked me why I was running and not in a car or on a bicycle, so I told her that El Senor gave me legs and not wheels.. Yes I think thats a great reply from now on!
Then a couple of good days a 48 and a 52km day
I finished in a small village called Ccotaquite. I was told there was an hospedaje there but in fact there was none. It was almost dark when I stopped at the very last buildings in the village and asked a man if there was anything. Soon three women came across the road. I explained my situation. They had a chat about what could be done for me. Eventually two young children walked me about 400 metres down a lane to the school house. I spoke to the teacher who lived next door. Her name was Marie-Luz.


She was very friendly and soon opened up the school house for me to rest up. Valeria, her daughter and a couple of other young children, Luis and Maria came in with a world globe and asked me to point out Ireland and then my route.


Marie-Luz brough me in a blanket, for I was shivering heavily. Then she brought me in some coffee and bread and asked if I needed another blanket.
It took her about half an hour to get the other blanket and I reckoned she had not got another one and had to go around the village. She also got me a piece of styrofoam to lie on.
It was a coldish night and I reckoned I picked up a cold here as a couple of days later I am coughing heavily and have a runny nose.
In the morning after some more bread and coffee I said goodbye to my newest friends on the run, so many wonderful people.
I ran on towards and then through the largish city of Abancay which was pretty routine
June 6th was a lovely warm day, I ran on some trails that cut right through the steep switchbacks and enjoyed every one of my 45 kilometres finishing in a small village called Ramal de Cachora Saywite. I asked a man coming out of his restaurant where the next hospedaje was.. Here he said. I reckoned it was not really a regular place, just a spare room in his house, but do you think I care, only 10 soles, $4 and it´s cold outside!
Then a magnificent 60km day of which the first 50 were mostly downhill.. Not to mention my 19,000th kilometre :)
I was a bit greedy and wanted to finish a further 12km in a place called Limatambo but didn´t I fell a bit short and finished at a bridge Puenta Sisma. I hitched a ride on a truck to Limatambo and next morning it took me an hour in 3 vehicles to return to the same bridge.
A pretty tired 33km was my punishment for yesterdays big effort. I did cut it about an hour short when I met a man called Edever who suggested that I could stay in a private house and pay about 5 or 10 soles. There was no hospedaje in that village called Chinllahuacho. He brought me over to a shop where I rested while he made some phone calls and I reckoned went to see a few people.
Eventually Edever returned and said his uncle Arturo and his family would put me up for the night.


Arturo gave me a very big welcome while his wife Nasaria dished me out two bowls of delicious hot vegetable soup, followed by corn cob, maize, potato, bread and coffee.
There were four generations of the family in that room, just like in many Latino homes, Arturos son and his wife and two young children plus his mother a tough 66 year old woman called Maria. I thought she looked about 80, the hard life here is  a harsh ager.
On the floor ten guinea pigs ran around, also a cat, a dog and some chickens.
Guinea pigs, called cuy  are an expensive delicacy here. Once I heard that they are not from the pig family but in fact from the rodent family I make a big effort to avoid them… I must be getting old as there was a time when I would have searched out cuy!
The house was pretty typical, a mud brick simple structure with a wicked slope on the compacted dirt floor which had plates sliding down the table. There was no refrigerator and all cooking was done over the wood burning fireplace.


There were a few built in shelves which were carved out of the walls mud bricks and covered by a blue plastic material.
The family showed me to my room which was an adjoining storage building. They had put a mattress and blankets in a corner. It was a few minutes to seven when I settled down to sleep that night.
Next morning no sooner had I started running when a lady stopped me to give me a cup of mate and bread. I was on my way to Cusco and nobody asks me where I am going now, every gringo goes to Cusco, so that would be a stupid question.
That day was a long tough day as I didn’t get the early start I wanted, I am a sucker for stopping to talk to people!  I ran 57km but for most of the day it looked like I would have to finish short and that would mean returning to the spot or run for a couple of hours the next day. I was having none of that and ran after dark finishing around 8pm.


Perhaps a silly thing to do, but it´s done and dusted now.
The run into Cusco was pretty terrifying as I have never seen so many dogs in all of Latin America as I did that night. I stopped at a market place and the dogs were packed into a skip by the roadside scavenging through the rubbish.


They were everywhere, in every doorway, crossing the road in packs. I passed this area several times in tour buses the few days I stayed in Cusco and only because I knew where to look I saw the grubbiness.. Just goes to show I am seeing the world up close and personal, like few others and am getting to know countries better than many iof the locals.
The problem with Latino dogs is they are just left to wander around, left wild and not trained. I lost my Dazer dog deterrent a couple of months ago, there are two waiting for me here in Cusco.
No not for each hand, I will keep a spare in the Heavy Bag.
It´s funny to watch dogs run away, even the big fierce ones when I bend down or even pretend to pick up a stone. They obviously know what that means.
Why are dogs in this culture not trained? Why do people litter so much here? Is it cultural? Lack of education? Or just plain lazy? These are questions I have been asking myself this past year.
Eventually I made my way to the city centre, it´s clean and very much tourist orientated. I found a great backpackers hostel called Pirwa Hostel in San Francisco Plaza. I would base myself there for a week while I checked out the sights I have waited most of my adult life to view.
At the moment there is a festival of Cusco going on every day with parades of mostly children in traditional costumes.

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Monday, June 25th, 2012

Sunday I arrived in Juliaca and expect to reach the Bolivia border Thursday as there are 192km to run. As mentioned before I will take up an very kind invitation by Joss and Ana Woods in Arequipa before crossing to Bolivia in about a week.

The weather forecast for Bolivia is cold and rain. I will be running on the Bolivian altiplano, just like here at over 4,000 metres.

After climbing mountain passes one usually descends to a much lower level and literally get a ” breather ” but on an altiplano or high plain it´s more difficult as I am staying up there all day and sleeping there too. Things are also a bit more complicated as I have a heavy cold!

More information on the Altiplano >> HERE

Latest June 24….   TOTAL TO DATE: 19,478km for 468 road days

24/6 From km 1,261 Huarzh to km 1,312 in Juliaca- = 51km today. Tough day, running in the Altiplano all at almost 4,000 metres. Just like yesterday I had some shortness of breath issues, which is normal for this altitude.

23/6 From km 1,224 toll booth to km 1,261 in Huarzh = 37km today. I got invited to the 25th anniversary celebrations of the community  here in Huarzh

22/6 From Santa Rosa at km 1,176 to km 1,224 at toll booth. Commute to Purcara.  Today = 48km.

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Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
June 21st means I am one year in Latin America, one year since crossing  from California to Baja,Mexico :)
Total 19,342km for 465 Road days.
Thurs. 21st  54km From km 1,122 Marangani to Santa Rosa, km 1,176. Climbed over a mountain pass 4,393 metres above sea level. Shattered last 3 km today, crawled into town as after descending there was another climb to almost 4,000 m!
Wed 20th From km 1,084 in Tinto to Marangani, km 1,122. 38km today.
Tues 19th.  44 km today finish in Tinta. From km 1,040 in Quiquijana  to km 1,084.
Mon 18th.  45km today From km 995 in Oropesa to km 1,040 in Quiquijana
Sun 17th 27km today.  From km 968 Cusco to km 995 in Oropesa.
A couple more good days took me to Huancayo where I took a couple of rest days to catch up on he blog – that was a ten hour rest day in an internet cafe. I also watched my team Leinster become European champions for the third time :)
I also sent the Heavy Bag onto Arequipa where an English man called Joss and Ana, his Peruvian wife have given me an invite to chill out in a few weeks time.
A couple of days later Joss told me the Heavy Bag arrived. It´s becoming a very effective system, sending on my 20kg supply bag of shoes and spare gear ahead.
Hopefully it will not get lost in the future, I could have two smaller bags going I suppose, but it´s so hard to do everything. I also use it as a backup in case I ever lose or have my atm cards stolen as I usually send at least one of my four cards with it, just in case. Same with my equipment and photo backup - I got spares – I guess one can never be too prepared.
I ran on, sometimes the roads were really bad, jagged rock and gravel. I felt much of that road in my joints. Sharp cluster thorns the same as I encountered in Nebraska get blown onto my shoes, socks and running tights. They are very sharp. I remembered how Nirvana got so many punctures there from them. The solution was a blue gue a tyre shop sprayed into her inner tube.
Here there were days when I had to wade across small streams or make my way across stones at the side. Some days there were as many as a dozen such streams.
Now I was running at a lower altitude, around 3,600 metres. It was cold first thing in the morning and as soon as the sun dipped behind the mountains. Now I am not looking for the shade on the side of the road as I was a month or so ago, at this time of the day I am looking for the warm sun.
 Every day is a race to the next hospedaje or hotel. I just can´t contemplate getting caught out with no tent or sleeping bag. That is my decision door to door, the purist way to journey run, with just a 3 kilogramme pack on my back.
Running through a dusty village one day a woman came out of her house and gave me four potatoes.
The Peruvians are wonderful people.
As I run I am always checking where is my next water location. I usually just have one litre extra as it is rarely very far. There is no point in me carrying too much water, after all a litre is about a kilo in weight. Mostly I have more than enough in the two bottles in my hands and whatever I have in my pockets, that´s the plan, pockets to distribute the weight and keep as much off my back.
Next day, a 50km day I get stuck when I finish in a small village called Mantacra. It´s almost dark and there is no place to stay. I get talking to a man and ask if there is a priest. He brings me over to a house.
The pastors name is Isidor. They tell me I can stay with them, I am so relieved but they leave me outside the house talking to about a dozen children. I am giving them English lessons.


It´s really cold and I am very tired but managed to struggle through till I am called inside. There are two women there called Alisa and Albertina. They serve me chicken soup and then a chicken dinner, which for once is delicious and hot.

Alisa and Isidor

We talk for a while before they bring me next door to a shop which has little or no stock. In a corner they have sorted a mattress and blankets for me. It´s about eight o´ clock so I settle down to sleep.
Next morning around five thirty I hear whistles out in the street. I get dressed quickly, a nice early start. I say goodbye to the family and am surprised to see about twenty young boys and girls from the age of about four upwards out running. A middle-aged man is also running and blowing his whistle. They are obviously a running club, the man is their coach.


It was a nice, brisk morning. I ran with the children for about ten minutes till they turned off up a road towards a tunnel.
Next day, May 24th was a tough 57km day. I finished in a village called Anco. On the way a man called Jorge stopped me and gave me four large mandarins and another couple of lads stopped their car and gave me an energy drink, nice people in this area.


In the restaurant I suddenly felt nauseous. My head was swaying from side to side. I felt I had a temperature. I was almost falling into my bowl of soup. After about ten minutes it passed and I felt better, not sure what this was as I am well acclimatised to altitude.
Well if the problem yesterday was due to over doing it, today I ran 65km to finish late in a large town called Huanya. More oranges were fed to me by lads on a scooter, if it wasn’t for these roadside offerings I would not be getting my daily fruit intake as most times I buy junk!


I met a German motor biker from Hamburg called Edgar. He says he selects a different part of the world and rides for about three or four months every year.


Says it costs about the same to ship a bike over here as a flight. He was complaining that Spanish speaking people are the only people in the world that don´t speak much English. Motor bikers are not my favourite travellers. I see them almost every day, mostly Germans who rarely even wave as they zoom by. Its easy to spot them in the distance. They stand out from the local bikers as they ride decent bikes, have leathers, helmets and proper pannier boxes. He is also complaining about how far away the hotels are, I tell him to try running to them! On a motorbike one can be out of  almost any discomfort zone, almost anywhere in the world in just a couple of day, easy or what? Too easy for ultra runners!

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Monday, June 18th, 2012

At last I have caught up on the blog as far as Cusco!

I want to call this very long blog ” The Long Road To Cusco ” as it was about 1,300km from where I left the desert coast road.

This is a continuation of where I ran on from Violets house, the old lady in the mountains you might remember. Read that posting again > HERE

I also think this blog is too long for one posting so I am going to divide it up into about three postings, all subtitled: ” The Long Road To Cusco ”

I will post these over the next week or ten days… As always with catch up… Photos to follow.. Thanks for your patience.


After leaving Violets house that day I ran on for a couple more days, stopping to talk as always to so many people on that rocky trail towards Acos. It´s funny but few people really know how far it is to the next town or village, some people hardly even know where the places are that I am running towards, everyone just assumes I am going to or from Lima.

One night I stopped at a place called Baños Colpa and it as a welcome change from cold showers I get everywhere. Here in this area is a thermal hot springs area and the local hotel had a hot tub with the thermal spring flowing in and out. The tub was a bit grubby but I still had a good soak for the two nights I stayed there.


I celebrated my 18,000th kilometre just before a mountain pass that was 4,780 metres above sea level, just about 16,000 feet. I wonder will this be the highest climb of the run, I think so, pity about the 220 metres, 5,000 would have been rare climb.


Next morning I had a very late start as the commute service was not the greatest. The collectivo, a battered mini van arrived around 1pm. There was only one space left, and that was on top of the roof! This was perhaps the most dangerous thing I have ever done in my life, to travel on the roof of that mini van as it drove over that rocky, narrow road, with little room to spare.


The edges of the roads were soft and just one wrong turn of the steering wheel and the whole van would have tumbled down the mountains. I was that desperate to get going, I just jumped up on the roof beside another man while a cop car looked on.


Eventually after an hour and a half of chugging through the mountains we made it to km 117 where I had finished yesterday, just 33km up the road.

That day was a disaster. A tough 13km only, mostly due to the late start. I was running towards a copper mine, a place called Chungar. There mine was partially on the main road and the heavy equipment drivers always honked and waved. One or two stopped to give me oranges and water. I decided to try my luck and see if I could sleep on the compound, so approached the security guards who went to great trouble to track down the human resources manager, a man called Luis.


Luis told me that health and safety laws prevented him from allowing me to sleep on the compound. He told me to wait, so I did and was freezing as I stood there waiting. Luis eventually came back about half an hour later and told me there was an accommodation trailer just outside the compound and I was welcomed there that night. I reckoned he was checking out my site. Luis sent someone off to the canteen to get me some food. I think it was supposed to be for my breakfast as well as dinner but I as so hungry that I ate it all before having a long hot shower.

I have been told that many of the mines here in Peru are owned by foreign companies. It seems that Peru doesn’t have he expertise to operate them and is loosing a fortune to places like China that come in and plow away much of the countries riches. It may surprise many people to know that Peru is in fact a very rich country, with so much natural resources, gold, silver, nickel, gas, petroleum, it´s just mismanaged.

I had run into the compound that night and finished at km 130 which was at the security guards hut. Then I was driven around and around, so I didn’t know where I was.

Next morning Luis and the big boss patiently drove me around for ages as they were not sure where my finishing marker was. They brought me to a different km marker 130 but I knew for sure it was not where I finished as my km 130 was right at a security hut and this one wasn’t.


Eventually I learned that that was another older road as the road had since been rebuilt. Fair play to the men, once they understood my mission statement they ere very patient and in all spent a good half hour bringing me a further kilometre back out of the site to km 129 and I ran the extra kilometre.

Just outside the mine I saw another altitude sign, it was around 4,600 metres above sea level.



That day was a lovely Sunday morning. I ran on some trails and mountainous rocky roads, up and down some switchbacks across fields full of shy llamas.


It was a glorious day. I finished with 41km in a small town called Santa Barbara de something or other.

There was just one hotel, a small grubby place adjoining a restaurant.


I heard the old lady saying she could not rent me the room as she had no water. It was freezing outside, ” Stuff the water I said.. I will just camp in your hotel! ” Well not exactly camp, I just treated it as though I was camping.. No water, so what, it beats the alternative of sleeping outdoors. There is never any heating in these places, so as soon as I finished my dinner it was to bed fully dressed under the standard two blankets.



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Sunday, June 17th, 2012


                                                               THE LOST CITY OF MACHU PICCHU.
                                                             THE SUN DIAL
 I expect to run tomorrow, Sunday. I wanted to run today but discovered I had picked up a virus on my camera sd card. I reckon I got this in the backpackers hostel I am staying in here in Cusco.
It was a bit stressful as I could not view these photos also others taken in the last month. I went to a couple of stores before finding a place that was able to retrieve my photos :)
I then made a couple of back ups, one on a disc and the other on a usb memory stick.
I then bought a new sd card for the camera.
That is the reason for dumping all these photos here, I could live with the loss of the others but not these. I had planned to get the blog updated, but once again more delays!
On Thursday I took an excursion from Cusco to Machu Picchu and stayed there that night. Friday I got there before the hordes. The hiking was pretty tough, even for a world runner! Many people in my group thought I would be flying out the front but as I said to them they don´t have 19,000km in their legs and five months in the Andes!
Machu Picchu was a fantastic experience. I can see how the Spanish never found it. It is very remote and remember in those days there were no roads and more jungle.

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Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Greetings from Cusco. I have been very busy visiting the sights here these last few days. Tomorrow, Thursday I will be going on a trip for two days and one night to magical Machu Picchu :) Which I will visit early Friday morning.

As many people have told me they are interested in the area I am thinking of using my Spot tracker around the National Park as I will be hiking for about 4 hours on Thursday and about two hours on Friday morning into Machu Picchu. This of course is just fun stuff and will not be added to the overall distance of the run as it is off my route and just a side trip.

At last after a 29 year wait I will correct my biggest travel regret when I did not visit Machu Picchu  while travelling in South America in 1983!

Briefly, I spent most of that year travelling in South America. In Bolivia I got an unbelievable cheap return flight back to Europe. It was almost Christmas, so I decided to return to Ireland for the festive season and return to Peru in the New Year. I could have made a quick trip to Peru then but didn’t want to rush it. Instead I spent ten days waiting for my flight in La Paz, next door in Bolivia. I never did return to South America, instead I got caught up in the rat race back home in Ireland.

I had always intended on this segment as being a kind of mini-break. I expect to start running towards Puno and Bolivia on Saturday, but unlike the Incas, for me this is not cast in stone!

I have been having a wonderful time here.

Many thanks to the following people for their wonderful support:

Gerry Duffy for sending me on my 26th pair of running shoes. I will start running in these soon. Gerry was able to send them to me to The Cotton Shop here in Cusco because the owner Peter Bohn from Germany was so kind to let me use his address as a pickup point. Thanks Peter and also to Kevin Flood from the USA who was able to get this contact for me. Kevin has been a great help these last few months. He is in a great position to research many obscure requests for me as he has a large contact list here in South America that he calls upon.

Thanks so much Kevin for your tireless work on my behalf.

Also sent here were 2 Dazer´s. Yes I now have 2 new dog zappers thanks to Sir Richard Beresford-Wylie, owner and inventor of Dazer international.
I lost my Dazer a couple of months ago, and that was my second! So Richard was good enough to send me a spare to keep in ” The Heavy Bag. ”

Many thanks to Greg Havely, Phil Essam and Jean Beliveau for their valuable input and advise helping me research my Australian and Asian routes.  These areas have been researched a couple of times already but meticulous planning means I have to keep on top of things so as there are no surprises. 19,000km plus and not a foot wrong is due to this planning which is only ´time possible ´with their kind help.

To my sister Ann Salmon for helping sort out many personal affairs back in Ireland and taking care of my every request without question or quibble!

Thanks so much for the ongoing support of The North Pole Marathon, Ultra Running Ireland, Great Outdoors, Chariot Carriers Inc, John Buckley Sports, High-Five Sports Nutrition, Runaways, Drymax Socks, Dazer International and Dion Networks.
Also Thanks so much to the following people for their kind donations to the world run:
Matt Wade, Karl Heart, Ciaran Carr, Richard Nunan, Gerard Mangan, Feargal O’Shea, Paul Curtayne, Grainne Connor, Gary Condon, Conor Cummins, Anthony Lee, Paul Joyce and also Priva Tarbet.

I hope I have not left anyone out!

Thanks a million :)

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Monday, June 11th, 2012

Well it´s about time I mentioned something about the Incas, Cusco and the sacred lost city of Machu Picchu!

The Incas are by no means the oldest culture in South America but perhaps the most famous. Previously among others the Huari´s ruled.

The Incas worshiped the sun and moon. There is one theory as that this is one of the reasons they never used the wheel as the shape is similar. For such an intelligent people they were of course aware of it´s existence as archaeologists have discovered wheels on children’s toys.

Another theory is that they just had no use for it as almost all of the terrain was dense jungle combined by steep mountains. Also they had no ” pulling beasts ” as it was not till the 1540´s when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro invaded South America with horses that the Incas became aware of them.

There are reports of the Incas being shocked and mesmerised by the charging Spaniards on horseback. The Incas believed the strange four legged creatures to be from another planet. Some of the roads I am running on now were probably narrow walking tracks laid by the Huari´s or Incas.

They used sheer numbers, perhaps hundreds of thousands of men, women and children and took decades to raise some incredible giant slabs of rocks up mountains using planks and tree trunks.

They were then sculptured and placed with such preciseness that even a blade of grass could not pass between the slabs.

Many of their ingenious engineering and craft skills are unknown as there was no written word.

Peru has always been a seismic disaster zone with major earthquakes coming as often as every fifteen years. The Incas designed their buildings and structures to be earthquake proof by not using mortar. This way a building can rattle and move and resettle without collapsing. Their doors and windows were designed the same way. Even today I see some mud and stone blocks just placed on top of each other without mortar, just some mud between the blocks.

The Incas were relentless in their recruitment drives. Everyone had to serve. Those that refused had to pay serious taxes in the form of barter. Those that protested, often whole communities were uprooted from their safe environment and transplanted to areas far away. The lack of survival skills then led to their demise.

There were few animals, except for an ancient breed of Peruvian, bald and black dog, the three sacred Inca animals the snake, puma and condor. The significance is that one is below us, one on the same level and the other above us. There were no cows or pigs either, just sheep and llamas.

Milk was gotten from the super food quima, though rich in nutrients. The quima crop was so powerful that it raped the soil of future growth till it recovered after fresh nutrients were spread.

The invading Spaniards plundered much of the riches of Peru and most of South America, shipping their gold and treasures back to Spain in ships that were so laden that they were almost sinking. It was Spanish ships that the sea pirates targeted. As one man said to me… Why would they pirates attack the English ships coming from North America, for they only discovered Indians?

It is amazing that the Spaniards never discovered the lost city of Machu Picchu… In fact this is proved as Machu Picchu was found unplundered after the Incas abandoned it in 1572 as perhaps the Spaniards were closeby. I took them a year to get to a close location but still they never knew of Machu Picchu, Peru´s number one tourist attraction.

It is suggested that most of it´s inhabitants died from smallpox.

The Incas chose the site as the mountains around hold a very high religious value to them, and also because of it´s inaccessibility to outsiders.

The city is saddled between two mountains Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, with a commanding view down two valleys and a nearly impassable mountain at it´s back. It has a water supply from springs that cannot be blocked easily, and enough land to grow food for about four times as many people as ever lived there. The hillsides that lead to it have been terraced, not only to provide more farmland to grow crops , but to steepen the slopes which invaders would have to ascend. The terraces reduce soil erosion and protect against landslides. Two high-altitude routes from Machu Picchu go across the mountains back to Cusco, one through the sun gate and the other across the Inca bridge. Both could be blocked easily, should invaders approach along them. Regardless of it´s original purpose, it is strategically situated and readily defended.

The world did not know of the sacred cities existence till 1911 when a local 11 year old Quechua boy led American historian Hiram Bingham to the site. Bingham was working for Yale University as a lecturer. As many as 4,000 of his finds were removed to Yale for ” safe keeping ” Today controversary exists as Yale still holds some of these treasures. In recent years there has been talks of the treasures being returned to the Peruvian government.

In 2007 Machu Picchu has been voted by a world-wide internet poll to be one of the New Seven Wonders of The World.

Due to continual economic and commercial forces which threaten the area UNESCO is considering putting Machu Picchu on it´s World Heritage In Danger List.

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About Tony

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...


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