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EL CONQUISTADOR

 

 
 
 
 

 

Melon in my hotel room for breakfast and a coffee stop in a service station got Mangan’s head, stomach into gear at 6.40am. How things have changed, now I call this a very late start!
Mayor Martin and his assistant also called Martin called for me. The mayor would wave the start flag and Martin would run all the 29.5kms to Ciudad Constitucion from Ciudad Insurgence. Don’t you just love those names, I’m sure there was a great battle fought here at some time.

Two police officers escorted us all the way. We were supposed to stop into the mayors mams for a coffee but 2km beyond the house Martin told me we didn’t stop because she was still in bed, smart woman!
We were clipping along at a nice pace, stopped a few times for drinks and to give Martin a breather. He is the only runner in the area and in 1984 posted the envious time of many club marathoners, a great 2.29, always just a dream for me at 2.38 :) I had 229 as a pin number many years ago! In addition he has a 10k pb of 28 minutes and ran a 60km in a startling 4 hours. Nowadays Martin just runs the odd 10km training session. His competitive career ended due to injury. So we put the boot down more and arrived at our destination in a little over three hours on a beautiful 4 lane highway.
On the way into town a temperature display read 33 degrees C. How things have changed, four weeks ago I was sweltering in this heat, now I found 33 comfortable :)
In the plaza we climbed on top of a monument for photos. The daily newspaper headlined with
” NO MAS CORRUPTION ”
The city buildings were at the plazza and the two Martins had to go to a meeting at eleven o’clock. I hung out trying to find out the name of the hotel Pablo the Tourism Secretary had sorted for me. I rang his phone but it just rang out, so I left a voicemail. I need to check my emails. I spotted the shoeshine man who was messing around playing terrible rap music on his computer between shines!
I asked him if I could log on my netbook and for his security key. As obliging as ever he went across the road to a shop and got it for me, I figured he had a shoe cleaning deal with the shop owner in return for wi fi!
Sure enough there was a mail there for me from Pablos secretary, Marcella. Pablo is very busy now and out of town. He had made an arrangement with Elizabeth, the owner of the wonderfully named, Hotel El Conquistador, on Nicolas Bravo. I tell you there was definitely some kind of a major battle fought here, I don’t have time to check it out on Wikipedia.
Thank you very much Elizabeth and Pablo. Because I finished so early today it almost seemed like a rest day.
I said goodbye to the officers, they will return to the hotel at 4am for my 52km ramble to Santa Rita.
I have now been running in Mexico for over a month now. Still another good two months to go. I have decided I will go to Cabo San Lucas, or Lands End after all. Pablo is trying to fix me up with a flight to Mazatlan on the Mexican mainland.
My first 3 countries of the world run Canada, USA and Mexico all massive countries. By the time I get through Mexico I will be 11 months on the road for just three foreign countries! Next up will be another half a dozen small countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. I plan to zip through them in a little over a week average for each. Then It’s Columbia and South America, I can
hardly wait for that one!
At 4am Jose and Alfredo showed up to escort me to Santa Rita. As I ran in the darkness with the patrols headlights showing my way I got bitten by a couple of insects, not sure what they were but don’t think they were mosquitoes, probably an ant of some kind. For a change I had been wearing a thin pair of running tights. Gotta change back to my loose fitting desert pants tomorrow.
We stopped for refreshments at a restaurant before Herman and Ben relieved them.
Today I noticed less and less cactus as we leave the desert area of the peninsula.
I am definitely not a desert fan. It’s nice for the first couple of days but after that it is a bit of a sameness, just like the prairies. Besides, it’s oppressive and threatening. I much prefer mountains, you go around a bend or more precisely up a hill and often the vista changes so dramatically. Mountains, especially with snow or with a clear blue sky are breathtakingly beautiful. Many times the houses blend in so well to give an alpine feel.
I cant say I have seen many beautiful houses in desert areas. After another break. Herman and Alfredo were relieved by Ben who told me he was an administrator in the police station. I think he said he sees this as a way into the force. He was using his own vehicle for this last 14km segment. It seems everyone wants to have their turn to escort me!
It was now starting to heat up and with about 3 more stops i made it to my place for tonight.
Francesca, owner of Restaurant Mini Super Los Pinos, Santa Rita and her helper Reyes welcomed me. They filled up my 10 liters of water for me for tomorrow and gave me a bed for the night. It was a pretty simply built blocked room with an insulated ceiling. Insulation here is to keep the heat out! And no furniture or room finishing what so ever. But what does one really need to be happy? Me, not much. I slept from 5.30pm till 1am very soundly.
Just after 2am after a breakfast of left over fish and rice Ramon and another officer arrived.
Today’s run will be a little over 57km. So it was nice to get such an early start. I still cant seem to be able to run fast at this time of the day. Within a couple of km I was sweating, it’s pretty humid and energy sapping. I think I was running around 7-8km per hour. But as I always say, that doesn’t matter, this is not a race but an enjoyable run around the world.
As I was running on the right side of the road in the darkness of the early morning I noticed a cascabel snake on the opposite side. Had I not been escorted I may well have been over there.
We made a few stops as well along the way the most notable one being at a friendly cafe around 7.30 am. One of the people there waved us over. This was a very basic cafe but rich in character. There were really just chairs, I did not see a table and wondered if we were just sitting in the front garden of a family home. I was assured it was indeed a cafe.
The lady got some small dried branches and started a fire to boil the water on a homemade cooking range. This was built from concrete blocks with a cast iron plate below the fire pit. Simple but effective. A few minutes later we were all drinking coffee. The lady would not accept payment, she said to me.
” Why it was only hot water and three spoons of coffee for you three. ”
I ran on a bit more. It was a tough day but I was really enjoying myself.
The Benny and Harry relieved the two officers. They were driving an ambulance.
Being escorted by an ambulance always feels dramatic! Between 10km and 5km to go there were roadwork’s. As the workers work on the road they often scrape away a parallel field for traffic to drive on. The trouble with this for me is these makeshift, roads are pretty rough, full of potholes, uneven surfaces which can propel the ones legs in all kinds of directions, I stumbled quiet a bit, my feet collapsing in soft sand into large holes at times. The going was very tough, I didn’t need this at the end of a hard day but I got through it, thanks to some decent construction workers who offered to fill up my water bottles with ice cold water.
I ran the last 5km to km100. I have been told that that is the name everyone knows this hamlet as.
Arrangements had been made for me to stay at Antonio and Maria’s; Lomcheria ” El Paisa ”
Restaurant.
Soon after my arrival Jose Rocha (brother of mayor Martin Rocha from Ciudad Insurgentes)
and head of the Los Angeles Verdes for Baja Sur paid me a visit. He has been working very hard behind the scenes to make my run as comfortable as possible.
Jose had a plan for me to run the 100km to La Paz in 3 days! He had it plotted out, day one about 27km, day two 38km and day three 35km. I laughed and said I didn’t want to spend 3 days only running 100km! It doesn’t matter even if they are short days the effort of preparing and recovering is more or less the same.
Jose told me there was no where else to stay, so I said tomorrow Saturday I would run the first two days he had planned = 65km but would start an hour earlier at 1am and then have an easy day of 35km on Sunday and hopefully a rest day in La Paz on Monday.
I guess it was understandable as he has to plan for staff to be available out of their normal working hours that he asked me what time I would arrive after tomorrows 65km and what time I would would leave the following day for the 35km and then arrive in La Paz. I gave my best estimates. What a man, he can’t seem to do enough. And he and Pablo seem to be on the phone a lot. I am so grateful to all of these people for their hard work on my behalf, not to forget the huge effort of the police.
Pablo told me that my run has gotten Baja North and Baja South back talking again as formerly the two peninsula states didn’t communicate much. I guess a bit like Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland during ‘ the troubles. ‘
Antonio and Maria fed me, gave me a shower and a mattress in the back of a silver Mazada MPV which had the seats folded down. As I have said it doesn’t take much to make me happy but as a really noisy truck roared by startling me, Antonio is convinced that I am stressed and have a fear of something. He even sat down to ask what is wrong!
” Nothing Antonio.” Just tired after almost 58km!

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One Response to “EL CONQUISTADOR”

  1. Ann Says:

    Ah Tony, turning into an international peace keeper now. Getting North and South Baja back on speaking terms. You will have to consider a political career when your return!! Great blog again. Enjoyed the read. Take care Ann :)

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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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