Thursday, 7 June 2018

Day 1 - On the move

I felt quite nervous at the start of the day in the hotel. It was a mixture of nerves about whether or not I would get my buggy back and the fact I would only have time for half a day’s running. I think this morning was also when the size and scale of the task ahead finally sunk in with me. 
Vlad the “fixer” drove me to the warehouse and I was so pleased to see Chappie still in 1 piece. I spent an hour and 45 minutes unpacking boxes and repacking it into Chappie. This was a tiring task in a dusty and boiling hot warehouse. 

It took a further 90 minutes to lift Chappie, who is 3 metres long into a space fit for only 2.5 metres and get the final paperwork done. 

So it was at 1215 that the clock started in terms of getting to the Romanian border on time. The deadline of 1215 on Sunday must be hit in order to satisfy the requirements of Chappie’s release to me today. 
I reached the start point with Chappie at Kalemegdan at 1235. It was great to see the British Ambassador, Denis Keefe, at the start line. After a hearty handshake and a few photos I was on my way. 
I should say “we” were in our really as I was joined by some really friendly local runners. Thanks to Vladan, who was also in attendance, for arranging that. 

We made our way out of Kalemegdan and onto the boiling hot streets of Belgrade. I found this to be a complete shock to the system due to the weight of Chappie, the amount of traffic and the 32 Celsius heat that I was running in. 
I was relieved to make it over the Pancevo Bridge after holding up quite a bit of traffic. A few runners left at this point leaving me with Suzana who I learned enjoys running classic marathons. 

I stopped for a chicken salad after 6.5 miles. I was really hungry at this point having only had 2 slices of toast for breakfast. I ran the remaining 7 miles of the day solo. Thanks to everyone who joined me from the start line in Belgrade. 
Thanks also to the young lad who handed me some warm water (it’s the thought that counts). Thanks also to the man who asked for a selfie and gave me a bottle of coke in return. 
I wanted to do at least 15 miles today but I stopped at 13.5 as the discovery of a seemingly safe and quiet overnight stop presented itself. 
So that’s day 1 over. It’s going to be a warm night and I’m sleeping inside a mosquito net. 
The realisation that I have another 99 days of this has definitely sunk in. That said, my mind is fixed firmly on making day 2 a success. 

End of day 1 thoughts are here.

Goodnight from a field with lots of insects north of Belgrade.