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GUATEMALAN DUBS SUPPORTER!

OVER THE BRIDGE AND INTO GUATEMALA

AFTER MORE THAN 3 MONTHS AND ALMOST 4,000KM IN MEXICO THE ROAD LEADS TO GUATEMALA

Road day 269 ended with me running into Guatemala after almost 4,000km in Mexico. Just one decent days running short of that grand total.

Not without the Mexican immigration trying to squeeze another visa fee out of me! I stood my ground and refused.

He said I didn’t have a receipt for my visa and didn’t like it too much when I asked him how I got the visa without paying!

I told him to go read my blog from the 3rd week in June and how I was worried I might get kidnapped in the town of Tecate as I made my way to the bank to pay the $25!

He made me wait over an hour while he emailed Tecate!

I don’t know why Mexico doesn’t just scrap the visa fee, just like Guatemala, a much poorer country. I felt the reason for getting the tourist to produce a receipt is to stop their immigration officers from pocketing the money. Why hassle the customer?

So only 21.8km run to the Guatemalan border town of  Tecun Uman. I celebrated by having a lovely chop suey in a Chinese restaurant.

The next day was also a bad day only 27 as I sheltered from the rain too long, better get used to it Tony, it’s monsoon time in Central America. I also missed my last bus after the run to my hotel and paid for a second hotel.The busses usually finish around 5 or 6pm due to robberies.

 This commute business is expensive but not as expensive as paying for a vehicle, expenses and a driver.

 Lots of crazy drivers and potholes. Things haven’t changed since I was here many years ago.. I wonder are they the same pot holes.

Some of the construction workers dont even have high-viz vests or safety equipment. The construction companies are so poor they don’t even have the red cones. Road lanes are closed off using a series of painted rocks and cut off-branches. Sometimes when they go home in the evening they leave the branches out on the road.

Another day I had to abandon the day as they would say in football, only 10.5km run.. I started at Puente los Ninos after a late start. The rain steadily got heavier and heavier and heavier. To my left in the hard shoulder were some of the drains I mentioned in another blog. Rebar protruded out of some of these meter deep uncovered drains. The road was flooded, ankle deep. Getting mega splashing was the least of my concerns… Abandon match. It is early afternoon. I find a hotel and start stitching extra pockets onto my cycle top to best distribute the weight around my being. I get the great idea that the pockets should be made from a cut up high-viz vest. I tried to count the pockets I got and loose count, no exaggeration, at least 20! It weighs a ton, especially when wet, It’s also loosing it’s wick-away properties, but it’s a monsoon, so worry about that some other time… When Tony gets a crazy idea, he has to do it!

Back on the road next day, what did I have? Do I have to keep talking about it? Lets just say… Guatemala is as green as Ireland and guess why!

LOVELY IRISH RAIN!

Oh.. I got stopped by the cops.. I have noticed they are up and down the road these last few days. Then they park and wait for me to pass till another comes the opposite direction.. I also ran the full 43 with my backpack today, very hard, gotta lose some more of it.

Anyway back to the cops.. I had been told this area as I run towards Escuintla and towards eastern Guatemala is very dangerous… Mucha violencia!

Next day I stopped the cops and asked were they looking out for me and I was told…. ” Si. ”

Then on the police radio in their patrol truck just as I happened to be standing there… I heard… ” El hablar Inglese? ”

THANKS FOR KEEPING AN EYE ON ME!

This is not exactly tourist area and I would imagine it was the first time the question ” Does he speak English ” was ever uttered over their airwaves!

Before I entered Guatemala, I emailed the government asking could they give me an escort, got spoilt in Mexico!

They ignored my email but it seems their undercover operation is not exactly discreet!

I felt great an with the help of an early start ran almost 64km.

To slow me down the next day the rains washed away a bridge. There was no sign and as Guatemala is a poorer version of Mexico I reckoned they couldn’t afford it. I should have known better as the road suddenly became quieter, Ah! well 2km each way without any credit and a long detour over a rough road. A week later when I am in El Salvador. I heard this border crossing was closed due to flooding, so I was lucky to get through. I understand there was also some serious flooding, damage and deaths.. So my thoughts are with those people. 

I thought of the man I met who was actually wearing a Dublin shirt! Did he know that Dublin are as the Americans would call it ” The World Champions ” in Gaelic football from a few days back!

He told me his name is Hector ( I never met a Hector till I came here and it seems to be a popular name!) His wife works in Dublin as a maid I think he said… It puts things, the flooding and all on a different level when I think of the Dubs shirt.

Hector and his friend Armando know the people that own the Super 24 gas station. There is an armed guard on duty with a rifle and a belt full of cartridges. That’s not unusual here in Central America as there is so much so much crime. Almost every half decent business have armed guards. When they change shifts I have seen them get off the back of their friends scooter with their rifle in hand. I have seen them in fast food restaurants and travelling in the back of beer and coke trucks! This is one of the reasons the buses finish so early as the conductor collects the money they are often targeted.

A GLORIOUS DAY!

  I am allowed to sleep with the mosquitoes around the back on some cardboard. I will cross into El Salvador tomorrow. I am just about out of Guatemalan money. The currency is called something like Quetals which sounds like the Spanish for ‘ Hi ‘ I have been spending a week asking how many hi’s does something cost! 

Anyway as I was saying I am all out of ,as we would say in Dublin… ” How ar-yes ” I discover they allow me to use my credit card and have a gorge… I over did it…. Read this carefully, you will never ever see this ever again,! You did what Tony? I left food behind! :(   Sin a shame!

Well not exactly food, it was a half gallon of water.

Speaking of gallons… Petrol and diesel are sold in gallons and costs about the same as in the USA. It’s the same throughout Central America.

I am now out of the two countries most people were worried about…. Yes this gigs gonna happen!

I LOVE STOPPING AT THE ROADSIDE EATERIES AND TALKING TO PEOPLE

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3 Responses to “GUATEMALAN DUBS SUPPORTER!”

  1. Ann Says:

    Ah Tony,

    That is certainly a first to leave anything behind you. Ah well not to worry, guess the water was too heavy to carry. Hope your credit card won’t pop up again and again saying “Hi” when you least expect it,also that the mossies won’t eat you alive. Another great read. You never loose your sense of humour no matter what you face. Fair play to you. Take care Ann :)

  2. Ann Says:

    I forgot to say “UP THE DUBS”

  3. Serena Says:

    Tony Mangan leaving food behind!! What is this run coming to??!! Another great read. Congratulations on conquering another country! Stay safe, Serena

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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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