Day 24 saw another anniversary of sorts. It was exactly 12 months to the day that Mr Fearon, the surgeon at Newcastle General Hospital, fixed my broken ankle by inserting 2 pins to help the fracture heal properly. In July 2010, Paddy Power made a donation to the 2 charities for the naming rights of my ankle. From that moment it has always been referred to as "The Paddy Power Bionic Ankle".
I appeared on the front page of The Journal, a few days after the operation. It was a picture taken from my hospital bed just before I was discharged. My blog at the time stated:
"The Journal's headline on page 9 was 'Unlucky break is a setback for epic run'. The sub headline read 'But dream of charity trek is not scuppered'. I must admit, that's exactly how I felt when I lay on the floor just after I fell off my bike a week ago. It's also exactly how I feel writing this blog post right now. I'm still coming to terms with the fact that I've undergone an operation to have two pins inserted into my ankle. Without so much money for the 2 charities riding on a successful 3100 mile run next year, there's no way on earth I would have entertained having an operation. I would have let nature take it's course with the risk of the ankle not healing properly. Having that operation was a massive, massive decision for a big wimp such as me. If anyone ever doubted my commitment to raising funds for St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation then surely they must doubt no more.".
It was a very cold start to day 24, at 07:10 Mountain Time, with icy rain pouring into the valley around Marysvale. Thankfully, there was no thunder and lightening forecast!
Apart from Marysvale being the most hospitable place that I'd encountered in the USA (See previous day's blog post), it seemed to be a place with lots of things to do. It was situated at the heart of the Paiute ATV trail for one. Aside from horse riding, fishing, cycling and hunting, I think that it was a destination for snowboarding in the Winter. Perhaps I'll stay longer next time!
Together with the support team, I'd decided on a small change of tactics by running a short distance before breakfast. It was a case of out of bed then start running. My blog from that day states:
"Comedy Jon reckons I spend the first hour of each day moaning, groaning, scratching and complaining. So with that in mind I did all of the above during the first 2 cold, wet, miserable and dark miles. At the 2 mile point normal morning service was resumed as I had my porridge and Wee Kirsty warmed my legs up with a vigerous massage. I was soon on my way into the pouring icy cold rain. I was just glad that there was no evidence of yesterday’s quick finish in my legs.".
Given the damp conditions I didn't really lift my head up to enjoy the scenery. I did manage to spot a dead snake at the side of the road though (pictured below).
It took 5 miles of running in the pouring rain to reach the start of the long winding valley known as Marysvale Canyon. This part of the route was very similar to the previous day. Just as I thought the end of the valley was just around the corner, there was another section to run along.
I stopped to take the photo below. It was the American flag tied to a short pole at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Any small incident like that was enough to give the day a bit of a boost. Running at the side of the road day in and day out would prove quite monotonous at times. Without being able to listen to music on my iPod while running I think I would have been driven mad. So please forgive me if I appear a little too excited at the the sight of a dead snake and a small American flag at the side of the road. Those kinds of were memorable events during the long days of running across the USA!
I met the support team for a bacon and egg sandwich at the 9 mile point and still in the valley. I also took the opportunity to change my soaking wet running clothes.
The sun appeared briefly before I got one final soaking for the day. I hadn't seen too much rain up to that point during the run across the USA. I didn't complain too much.
Marysvale Canyon was very scenic indeed with the Sevier River flowing quickly alongside. The sun made another appearance and was to stay with me for the rest of the day.
I left Marysvale Canyon at the 14 mile point where I stopped again, this time for a tactical snooze. The next section was into a huge expanse of open land with snow capped mountains all around. This section saw some quicker than average miles being ran. It must have been due to a combination of the tactical snooze, the sunshine and the lovely Utah scenery.
Later that afternoon, the support team found some unprotected wi-fi belonging to a church in Elisnore at the 24 mile point. I managed a quick update of my blog and we made time for a quick photo. That's Stephen, Kirsty, me and Comedy Jon pictured below.
Kirsty accompanied me during the final session of the day to Richfield. We stopped running after 30.5 miles. The "campsite" for the night was another Wal Mart car park. I ended my running with the following Tweets.
"Down to 5400 ft. Lovely warm, sunny end to the day here in Richfield, Utah."
"30.5 miles done. The Support Team are off shopping for supplies. Not a bad day."
And this Tweet made reference to the style in which all of us had spent the day communicating with one another:
"Today in the Run Geordie Run RV the team have mainly been speaking in the style of......Alan Wicker."
You had to be there I suppose!
The support team took the opportunity to get some much needed supplies. This was the first time in a week that we'd seen proper commercialised civilisation.
The much needed shower that I had in the RV was interrupted by Stephen knocking on the locked RV door. I didn't know that it was him at the time. There was no way that I was prepared to finish my shower early. This didn't stop him continuing to knock on every wall on the RV to get my attention. I did finish the shower early thinking that something must have happened to the support team. I got dried and changed as best as I could despite my lack of mobility.
I eventually opened the door to Stephen who gave no particular justification for his constant knocking on the many parts of the RV. "You ******* idiot!" I thought.
I struck a deal with the rest of the team that I would build on today's early start before breakfast with another one tomorrow. The deal was to run 5 miles before breakfast. If I was successful, they would buy me a McGriddle from McDonalds as a reward. I went to bed a happy man that night!