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MEXICAN ROULETTE

SUNDAY 28TH AUGUST. I AM TAKING A REST DAY IN PUEBLA. A REST DAY FROM RUNNING BUT OFFICE WORK CONTINUES :(
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MONTH 10.  HAD 31 DAYS, 6 REST DAYS, 25 ROAD DAYS. 1,176.1KM WERE RUN!
TOTAL TO DATE: 10,904.5KM RUN IN 243 ROAD DAYS
 ANOTHER GREAT MONTH. THANKS TO ANGELES VERDES, SECRETARIO DE TOURISMO, PROTECTION CIVIL, THE POLICE, LOCAL HOTELS, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS,BAJA FERRIES, LOCAL PEOPLE, AND YOU THE READERS FOR ADVANCING THIS DREAM ONE MORE MONTH :)
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PRESS HERE FOR MY REMAINING MEXICAN ROUTE
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Bienvenido a mis amigos mexicanos querido! Gracias por cuidar de mí tan grande aquí en México.
Mi sitio web tiene una traducción al español la posibilidad!
Por favor, sólo tiene que desplazarse hacia abajo y seleccione el idioma español en la herramienta de TRANSLATE en el lado derecho de mi página de blog. Espero verte en el camino! Tony
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                  GOOD MORNING MEXICO CITY…  THE MATADOR ENTERS THE RING.
                                                             
When I started running from km marker 41 on my mind was I would be running into Mexico City today, one of the biggest cities in the world was just 41km in front of my nose. But I only got about 2 minutes down the road when Martin pulled me up to say his boss David was on the phone to say that there were problems down the line as I could only run to km 13 with the Angeles Verdes. After that all escorting is banned in Mexico’s Federal District.
Mexico has 31 states plus the Federal District of Mexico, just as the USA has 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Washington DC.
This was a bit of a shocker to me as I really did not know what to do if I was left at km 13 and now I am out in the middle of nowhere. I would surely have to backtrack several days and forget about Mexico City.
For the first time on the run I was actually stressed. The two maps I had were really useless for finding my way around the city. I guess I panicked and asked Martin to go back to a service station so as I could buy a decent map. So we went back and there were none.
I decided to take a chance and see what was after km 13, Martin kept saying ‘ IMPOSSIBLE, FIN, NO MAS! ‘
I decided to run on. The other patrolman would join us a bit later. A few km down the road we came to junction to get onto the autopista. It was around 5.30am and the traffic was hectic even at that early hour. Martin made the left turn and waited for me to find a break in traffic so as I could run across the road onto the autopista 15d.
It took me ten minutes to find that short break and when I did it was pretty scary stuff sprinting across. Martin was parked in the hard shoulder, so I just slapped his door and told him I was off running again.
So I ran on and on, a nice steady pace, I couldn’t help wondering if all this running was for nothing if I had to backtrack, and what a backtrack this would be. It was surely a mistake changing my route from the coastal route to go right through Mexico City, I thought the help would be with me all the way, always an optimist, sometimes it backfires like now.
I was greedy just trying to knock about 300km off my route.
Then we come to a tunnel, it’s about 400m long, I run it as hard as I can, Martin is holding back too far. I wave him to close the gap as I am always afraid of someone cutting in front of him, that’s why I asked for the second patrol.

                                                              TUNNEL VISSION
I hate tunnels not only because of the increased danger but there is always a risk that an officer will be there to prevent me running through. You don’t always know they are on your route till you hit one, and if you do there is usually nowhere else to go as it’s a mountainous area with no other road and the only other way is right up over the mountain and over the tunnel, which is what I would do if I had to but with Nirvana that’s a different story. So I remind myself of rule number 2… ” Don’t worry about things that are not imminent as you have enough on your mind for the moment. ”
Rule number 1 is simple… ” Keep it simple. ”
I have stopped many people in the past who have tried to make a science out of simplicity.
” Look, I just run, that’s it, nice and simple. ”
We get through the tunnel and stop at a rest area just as Maurice the second patrol man turns up. Maurice confirms what Martin said, that after km 13 there is a no go area. He takes out a half decent map of the surrounding area and then I start thinking I can run through the city solo, just me and Nirvana. I ask Maurice if he will sell me the map but he says no… Then laughs and gives it to me!
Oh! Maurice I could kiss you I joke,
” Hey what about me Tony? ” Asks Martin.
They are shocked and tell me it’s too dangerous to run through the city with Nirvana but I got no choice. I ask Maurice to stay close behind me.
So on I run, I look back and there is no sign of Maurice, I guessed he stopped for a pee, he could have given me a warning I thought leaving me exposed from the back like that.
I saw a sign with the altitude at 3,050m. A couple of days ago I was shocked to discover we were at 2,500m. My climbing was gradual and I actually did not notice the growing altitude.
The traffic is getting heavier and heavier, it’s manic!

NOW I AM THINKING I WILL CALL IN ALL THOSE AMERICAN PRAYER LISTS I AM ON!

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We are on the inside lane of a 12 lane highway, 6 lanes each direction. By now we are about 22km out from the center. Martin is in front, he is driving too fast, I am constantly shouting, waving for him to slow down. He does but then he is too slow, I don’t complain but Maurice flashes for him to speed up. So he does and so do I back to to about 12-14kmph, a little too fast for me at this time of my life and 10 months on the run. And when I do catch up he assumes I am ok and capable of going faster!
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It’s amazing the traffic is moving this freely despite this volume, I can see the shocked faces of motorists as they drive by. I am running as hard as I can and all the time screaming and calling him all the names I can think of! My biggest fears are potholes, and there were a few I went into and was lucky not to fall or twist an ankle. I looked to the left and just couldn’t believe the sheer volume of traffic.
Then a horrible thought crossed my mind… I hope we don’t have to make a left turn! I will have to get out into the 3rd or 4th lane of this 6 lane highway! I think I would just lie down and die first!
Sure enough that’s what happened but it was not as bad as I expected as Martin and Maurice blasted their sirens and flashing lights and after vehicles held back they just drove over at about a 30 degree angle, me in the middle trying to keep the angle the same, and all the while looking out that I didn’t get a smack from somewhere. Eventually they straightened up and on we went. Now I was in the middle of the 6 lanes! And Martin was still continuing to speed. I just flung my water bottle in the back of his pickup and went for it sprinting as hard as I could.
RUN LIKE HELL  > PLAY  It was terrifying stuff as shocked motorists sped by on the inside and outside lanes. No time for listening to my music now, no I wont be bouncing, singing and dancing my way to Mexico City. If I fell now I was history. Blood on the tracks.
I took out my camera knowing if it fell it was history, still I had to get some of these crazy photos! I took about 20 blind shots pointing the camera in all directions and got about 3 or 4 really good shots with my terrified look, and even fake smile!

IS THAT A SMILE? IS THIS WHAT I DREAMED ABOUT ALL THOSE YEARS?

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For some reason the two lads pulled over on a hard shoulder at about km 17. There was a series of phone calls going on. I was hoping the Tourism Secretary would sort something for me to get through the city. Instead someone on the phone kept telling me he had a hotel room for me and wanted to know where I was, I was shouting into the phone that I was at km17 on HIGHWAY TO HELL >  PLAY  and just wanted to get out of the city as fast as I could get into it. I told him my only concern was not the hotel but keeping the run continuous, but don’t think he understood. The lads were saying it was too dangerous to go on further, too dangerous for them as they could get a smack. Too dangerous for them! I thought, what about me! Selfishly I begged them to go on to km 13 and they did. I think it was down to about 3 lanes now. We were stopped there for about half an hour.

IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?

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Eventually we got going and as usual there was no slowing Martin down. I think the problem was he couldn’t see me as Nirvana was in his way as he looked in his rear view mirror. I should have asked Maurice to take the lead. It was just as well I had the two of them I thought. I continued to sprint, in and out of more potholes and dodgy manhole covers. Sometimes Maurice let a huge gap develop.

CLOSE THE GAP MAURICE!

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 The last thing I needed was someone getting in there especially with Hard Foot Martin in front then I would be on my own in the middle of the road like a matador in a bullring surrounded by carnage!

I RAN OUT OF NAMES FOR HARD FOOT MARTIN!

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 So I had to keep waving Maurice closer.
I never actually saw km 13 as we veered off onto another road which luckily was where the Mexico DF Angeles Verdes office was. Outside waiting for me was the boss Ricardo, his two men Efrain who spoke pretty good English, and Daniel.
Efrain told me that there was a ban on much of Angeles Verdes normal activities in the Federal District. He said the next time they would be able to help would be when I get to Puebla city about 130km away, and then it would be the Puebla office as that is the next state.
I asked how come I could get help this side of the city but not the other. Different zoning was the answer. Angeles Verdes here only had the one patrol truck, the supervisors.
Then Efain suggested to me it would be best I stayed in the city tonight as they had a hotel for me, I guessed it was him on the phone to me earlier.
Thanks very much for this Ricardo and staff. They told me the hotel was about 5km away and the same direction I will be going out of the city in the morning. A straight run down Paseo De La Reforma and turn left just after Torre Mayor Shopping Center. I have a lot of work on the computer ahead of me tonight,sorting out an escape route. Many days when I finish my run my work is only beginning for the day. About 1 hour each day is spent emailing and re emailing people that don’t bother to respond. This time is compounded when I have bad internet connections, which I frequently do.
They wanted me to go in the patrol truck to the hotel but that would be pointless as I would have to come back here in the morning only to retrace my steps to where I started!
No it would be better to run to the hotel now, and tomorrow I will run straight from the hotel right through the very heart of this monster city.
I was delighted the lads were going to deliver Nirvana to the hotel now as this would save me a 5km push through the busy Mexican capitals streets. I had hoped they would be able to deliver Nirvana to the Puebla office,or at least the Puebla Angels could come here to pick her up, guess I have been spoilt! But they didn’t seem keen on this saying they didn’t have a driver.
The run to the hotel turned out to be about a 7km plod as I was understandably worn out. I stopped and had the most delicious cola in many a month from a street vendor. It was ice cold with slush on the inside.
I ran down the Citys main Avenue, Passeo De La Reforma where the majority of foreign embassies are located. Initially I was not supposed to be running through here.
While in Ireland I had been in contact with the Irish ambassador, Derek Lambe who had been most helpful, thank you ambassador Lambe. It would be nice to stop and pay him a visit, I only realised this when I saw the other embassies, I totally forgot about him. Now I was too stressed and just wanted to do one thing…. RUN! Besides Efian said he would meet me at the hotel soon with Nirvana.
I had to be careful not to trip as many of the street pavements are rising up out of the ground, perhaps as Mexico City is built in a valley and on a lake. From time to time they have to pump water out from under the city.
I collapsed into my bed and thought…
” My God is this what dreams are made of?
” Or nightmares? ”

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5 Responses to “MEXICAN ROULETTE”

  1. Ann Says:

    Great read Tony, but sounds very scary running through all those lanes of traffic. Rather you than me. Anyway that is all part of the dream and the adventure. It was never going to be plain sailing but you are doing great. Take care Ann:)

  2. Greg Havely Says:

    Tony—sounds like tho coastal route would have been less hectic??—Nice coast as well—–MC is a really crazy place—foul air, and loaded with people and cars—but sounds like you are making your way though—-just be careful—one small accident could put this whole thing on hold!!—good running–greg

  3. Andrés Montero Flores Says:

    Hufff¡¡ Tony¡¡

    When I saw your GPS running down Mexico City, I remembered How lucky are you so…Jamel balhi had serious problems in this stage . He was alone, and I knew his city-crossing was easier than you because he had not anything like “Nirvana”.

    That means that You; Tony, are better and more brave than Balhi¡¡ yes, yes¡¡

    Been Honest…..your trip in 300 % more remarkable because your courage and focused mind demand lots and lots of energy.

    Very precious friend Tony¡¡

    We all Admire your job…..is an amaizing and historical sport event.

    god blest your steps, “Super-Mangan” “Mangainner”

    Andrés Montero Flores
    Ahuacatlán Nayarit, México.

  4. stewart cochrane Says:

    THE MANGANATOR!!!!

    great read tony….we continue to follow you daily

    katheryn completed a 110km cycle yesterday around the port au port peninsula…time = 5.5 hrs….
    needless to say she’s a little sore…

    take care

    stewart and bernie cochrane

    pasadena
    newfoundland
    canada

  5. EJ Hrynowski Says:

    Great to see kilometer after kilometer piling up Tony. We have a Greater Lowell meeting this evening, if I’m able to attend I’ll be sure to update everyone on your amazing progress!

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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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