Monday, 13 June 2011

Day 43 - All set up nicely for Berthoud Pass

Remember Nick Davison? He's the Geordie ex-pat that ran with me on day 1 in Huntington Beach?  A few weeks ago he contacted his old friend and fellow ex-pat, John Bulman, a police officer in Denver to run with me for a day. John and his partner Carrie arrived at our base camp this morning.  

Carrie went off on a long bike ride northwards while John and I started running up the dirt track away from Hot Sulphur Springs. Today's aim was to get to the outskirts of Winter Park, a really nice ski resort within touching distance of Berthoud Pass. After yesterday's effort, I was left with approximately 23 miles to run today.

Once again, it was a lovely warm start to the day and I started to get an idea of exactly where Berthoud Pass was as the morning unfolded. I knew that it was roughly at the end to the left of the mountain range in the picture below.

John and I managed a half marathon distance before lunchtime and chatting all the while made the miles fly by. Not only did they seem to go quicker but they were actually quicker than in recent times. I found out that John is from Keswick and a Carlisle United supporter. He's been in the USA for 10 years now and his accent is an interesting mixture of American and Cumbrian.

The final session of the day saw us run, as planned, through Winter Park and to it's far outskirts. That was a total distance of 22.77 miles putting me in prime position to tackle the huge winding climb up Berthoud Pass in the morning.

The highlight of the day was when Carrie let me try an energy product that I've never heard of before; a Honey Stinger Waffle. OMG as they say over here! It was delicious and helped me get through the final few miles! Hopefully, Shelli can source me some in Winter Park or Denver over the next few days.

I've got to say a huge thank you to John for his company today. The miles absolutely flew by. Thanks also to Carrie for buying me some new energy bars to try and for keeping Shelli company with some "girly time". Thanks guys!

Make no mistake, tomorrow is going to be hugely difficult as I climb up the long and winding road to the summit of Berthoud Pass. I'm going to savour each step I take up the mountain as I've been dreaming about this section of the run for over 3 years now. The quality and difficulty that tomorrow's route brings doesn't come along too often. I intend to treat that climb as if it's the last few miles of the run across the USA. I intend to commit every ounce of energy I have to reaching the summit in a reasonable time and to the best of my ability. 

As has been the case over the last few days here in the Rocky Mountains, tomorrow's run will be dedicated to the memory of John O'Brien (my Uncle John). I managed to speak to his family earlier this week and also receive some texts too. I know that my Aunty Joyce, Deb and Joanne are keen followers of the journey via this blog and I hope they are as proud of tomorrow's effort as I'm sure my Uncle John would have been.

Aunty Joyce's family and friends made a £500 donation to the 2 charities in lieu of presents at her recent 75th birthday party. Their kindness as well as the numerous donations made by followers of this blog is so greatly appreciated. Not only be me, for giving the run across the USA great purpose and meaning, but also by the 2 charities themselves.

The charity fund has now passed the £38,000 barrier for St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation. Thanks so much to everyone who has made a donation. If you would like add to the total then the following links can be used to donate direct to the 2 charities. Please be aware that every single penny that is donated is so important to the 2 charities. 

(St Benedict's Hospice)

(The Children's Foundation)

Alternatively, a donation can be made via cheque payable to 'The Children's Foundation' or 'St Benedict's Hospice' and sent to the following:

FAO Libby Nolan
The Children's Foundation,
PO Box 2YB,
Sir James Spence Institute,
Victoria Wing,
Royal Victoria Infirmary,
Queen Victoria Road,
Newcastle upon Tyne.
NE99 2YB.

FAO Sylvia Stoneham
St Benedict's Hospice.
Monkwearmouth Hospital,
Newcastle Road,
SR5 1NB.

It's been a great day today. It's all set up nicely for an even greater day tomorrow. Goodnight from the Run Geordie Run Team Bus here in Winter Park, Colorado.