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INTO SOUTHERN MEXICO

  The next day was Monday. I ran out of Puebla in my brand new 17th pair of shoes for the run. I was very tired, not sure if it was the stomach bug but I still managed 47km on the way to a town called Acatzingo. It rained hard about an hour before my finish. Icy cold rain and I couldn’t believe my luck when I ran right up to a corn cob bar-b-q stand by the side of the autopista! First I heated my hands on their grill, pulled out my gloves and had a delicious corn cob with dripping cheese.

Earlier as I ran through a road construction stretch of motorway of all things a guy on a tricycle come cycling up selling ice cream to me and the workers :)

On I ran into this town and on the way in I noticed there was a company called Century Camper. Actually they sold camper shells for pickups in a very big way. There must have been about 500 highly polished silver campers by the roadside. So I went up to what I thought was their office and asked if I could sleep in their dirtiest camper!

It turned out that I was in a different office, an office called DIF Estatal Puebla, Transformando Familias. A family counciling office of sorts.

I hit it off with the staff, especially Ceasar. They told me I could sleep in an open garage they used for staorage around the side of their building. Heaven again! It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

I was too tired to blog, So I just listened to music for a couple of hours. Ceasar told me he would be back to unlock the gate at 9am, so a lovely 10 and a half hour sleep!

Despite that lovely sleep next day I had an energy crisis, stomach bug? Every km was a battle and it didn’t help that I was running up a very gradual hill almost the entire day.

This day was well up there with my toughest days, all 38km of it.

From time to time one thing I have noticed is that when running in hilly areas you should expect to be more fatigued but instead I keep asking myself why am I so tired, what’s wrong with me. Though the answer is obvious, I am running in a mountainous area and pushing Nirvana up it, it still doesn’t register, fools me everytime.

Also another phenonom the journey runner,walker or cyclist will tell you that sometimes after such a long time on the road your eyes start playing tricks with you. You can be running up a hill but to you it can sometimes look like you are running downhill. So you ask, why is this so hard when I am running downhill? What’s wrong with me, is this an energy crisis? This fools me everytime… Till I think of pushing Nirvana a bit forward and when she barely moves, I say yes, I am running uphill!

Barmy stuff I know…. If you don’t believe me… I say… Don’t knock it till you try it!

After running through some major roadworks which had one lane closed for nearly 10km I effectively had my own lane as there was little construction activity on it.

Towards the end of the day I came to a junction and changed from route 15d to route 135d. I noticed the construction site yard just off the highway on the way into Cuacnopalan.

WHO IS GOING TO TRY TO STOP ME RUNNING HERE?

I had hoped to be able to sleep somewhere on the site as I was on a site back in Baja Sur. So after talking to the security guard for about ten minutes and all the while giving me the impression it was no problem he eventually said no that the Boss Man probably wouldn’t like it. I asked him to phone Boss Man but he seemed afraid to. So on I went for nearly half an hour till I got to the town center.

I have to be honest here, I was getting very negative vibes from this town which has been much neglected. Everywhere I looked were barking dogs, I was a bit afraid as I walked towards the center.

The amazing thing about this run is I never know what is in store for me on a given day and rarely know where I will lay my head.

I had asked the site security guard if there was a hotel he said there was but for some reason on the way into the center I started asking people where the police station was to see if I could sleep there.

I was being directed from the scary corners as I wheeled Nirvana through the grubby streets, I was also aware that many pairs of eyes were focused upon me.

Eventually I ended up outside the city offices in a plazza where a basketball game was in full swing. Cheery faces were everywhere. As I turned that corner there was a compleetly different athomsphere. Gone was the scary eyes in the back feeling, now it was a couple of city officials making phone calls to see what could be done for me.

As you walked out of the city office you had to be careful not to step on the basketball court. Young teenagers having a great time enjoying themselves.

After about half an hour in the office one of the officials, Alfreado brought to a disused office around the corner where I got another long nights sleep on a table.

Next morning while I packed up Alfreado brought me a chicken and cheese taco and filled up my thermos for coffee. I went back to the city office to thank my newest friends, including the lady mayor whose’s name I never did get.

So after many more photos and an aborted attempt, due to a poor signal to get on their internet I didn’t get going till after 11am.

A little more than 10km up the road I clocked up 11,000km, this last 1,000 coming in just three and a half weeks.

Once again I was very tired but not as bad as yesterday but it was still uphill all morning.

There was a lot more really serious roadworks today with long delays for the traffic. They seemed to be stopped for a long time. Though this route 135d is still called an autopista it is really an undivided 2 lane highway. Of course the entrepanurial Mexican vendors were out in force selling snacks and ice cold cans of sodas, how could I resist such a thing after a 20km uphill battle!

I sat on a rock and enjoyed it very much.

I had been saying to myself how I hadn’t seen any snakes in about two weeks and then I saw four in two kilometers. They were all dead, almost all I see are dead. Not really sure how the ones that don’t get flattened by traffic, but I am too darn busy for an autopsy!

In the USA I was often asked what was my most frequently encountered ‘ roadkill ‘ I never thought of birds for some reason but that’s what I would say, followed by snakes.

A COMMON MEXICA ROADKILL... I DON'T ALWAYS KNOW IF THEY ARE ALIVE OR DEAD!

After that it was very much downhill and easy for another 16 or 17km. I got to a junction and saw that Tehuacan was probably a few km down the road. I don’t need to go there as my next destination is Teotitlan en route to Oaxaca city which is the state capital Oaxaca state, my next Mexican state.

Though it was only 36km for the day and I did not fancy a pointless run into Tehuacan only to run back tomorrow morning I decided to call it a day at the junction where I made for a 24 hour restaurant in a truck stop. No point in going on further for the sake of another hours running, which I can make up anytime I want to, and then have to find a place to stay.

No problem settling down here to sleep as they allowed me to lie my sleeping bag behind a couple of tables down the back of the restaurant. I hope this will lead to an early start in the morning as I am starting to drift back into the late zone again!

Next night I stopped just before the toll booth at Miahuatlan. Another short day, 34km. I arrived at a restaurant where German, the owner of a taco stand suggested I stop there for the night. I figured there was nothing much for the next 50km, so why not? I can run those off tomorrow and hopefully find a hotel. I haven’t had a shower in 4 days now or proper internet access,

On the way today I passed a lot of farm workers working the fields picking corn cobs.

Farm workers work very hard, from first light to last, seven days a week, and often it’s the whole family. They are usually picking fruit or veg. They almost always stop and look at me running by in amazement. Then we wave at each other.

DE DONDE VA? THEY WOULD ASK.

I wait for the predictable. ” Donde va? ” Where are you going.

It’s funny I always find this simple question to be the most difficult to answer. Ultimately I am going to Dublin,Ireland. But that uncompressible for most people I meet, so after a hesitation and my mood I usually tell the the name of the next town, Guatemala, south, around the world but it seems my most understood reply is usually ” Patagonia. ”

I also stopped to talk to some construction workers working on cleaning out the roadside gullies. I asked them to top up my water bottles but when I saw they had only a little I didn’t take it, still it was good of them to offer.

I guess it was a day stopping talking to people. A cyclist called Raul stopped for a chat. He is training very hard for an Ironman in Cancun in a couple of weeks time. He asked if there was anything he could do for me, so I just asked him to send a few emails and make a few calls to drum up a bit of support that has been waning this last week or so.

When I eventually arrived at the tool booth restaurant the construction workers I passed were having tacos. I spoke to two of them Christopher and Mathew. They told me the work is easy, they work from 7am till 3pm and get 3,000 pesos every two weeks. Which is about 300 dollars. After tax I think.

After they left, German the taco stand owner that invited me to stay tonight on the porch came over for a chat. He told me his stand is open from 7am till 9pm, seven days a week.

He used to live in Oregon, USA working in restaurants. He was an illegal immigrant and when he lived there 14 years ago it was easy slipping over the border, only 2 hours walk north from Tijuana but Ticate took 3 days and nights.

GERMAN THE TACO STAND OWNER

When I asked did he like living there, German said he did but Americans work all the time with no time off.

” But you work 14 hours a day on your taco stand here for seven days a week! ”

” Yes but I just rent this space outside the store from the owner. I have a couple of people working for me. ”

I don’t think the girl that worked for him sold a dozen tacos in the 5 hours I sat there till closing.

German told me that Mathew, the construction worker I was talking to earlier owns the shop… Well actually, a consortium of 16 own it.

He returned to Mexico because it became increasingly more difficult to cross the border in the wake of 9/11 and besides his family live here. He also works as an Envangalist pastor in Miahuatalan.

As I sit here typing this now I am looking out from under the sheltered shop porch at torrential rain. I think it was a wise decision to stay here tonight as I suspect there was nothing on the road and I would have probably have had to camp.

Yes I enjoyed my tacos and three liters of apricot juice today.

The next day was very, very tough. 41.6km to the village of Escorial. Almost all uphill, except for about 4 downhill and some on the level. I ran the whole day pushing Nirvana up the very steep inclines. It was backbreaking stuff and sometimes my pace was just like walking.

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2 Responses to “INTO SOUTHERN MEXICO”

  1. Ann Says:

    Congratulations on running over 11,500kms. Enjoyed the update. Sorry to hear you still troubled with the bug. Nearly finished Mexico and on to your next country. You are doing great. Keep up the good work Tony. Take care Ann :)

  2. stewart cochrane Says:

    another great read tony…
    don’t mind those hills!!!
    take care

    stewart and bernie cochrane

    newfoundland
    canada

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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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