Monday, 18 June 2018

Day 12

What an absolute nightmare of a night. The rain poured in through Chappie’s chimney but thankfully I was able to place a bag to catch the water. The interior at the hatch end of Chappie was damp and muddy. I slept with my head on a wet pillow. I say “slept”, I probably had 2 hours of light sleep. I had to move position every 30 minutes or so as my hips give me pain if I lie still for too long. That must be as a result of the sled harness. 

I didn’t get out of Chappie until 0750. I tried to turn around so that I left feet first but it just wasn’t happening. I spent half the night dreaming/thinking about how I would get out into the mud. 

I put my sandals onto the mud and reversed out of Chappie. Thankfully my backside landed right on them. I managed to put my socks on with my feet still in Chappie. I had to put new trainers on as the ones that I’d worn since Belgrade were soaked and full of mud. I packed up Chappie as best as I could placing the soaked items in the basket behind my harness. 

I dread to think of the state of my supplies and kit if I didn’t have the poncho that the army gave me. It’s an essential bit of kit that I use to cover my plastic crate of supplies and box of ration packs overnight. My next task was to tape up the chimney to prevent any more mishaps when it rains.

I set off at 0810 this morning. I don’t mind admitting that I was totally demoralised when I slipped into the soaking wet harness and started running on the E671 just north of Zimandu Cuz. 

The road was very busy and I had to concentrate 100% with every passing vehicle. As has been the case on previous days, a lot of people took the time to wave, applaud, cheer or clench a positive rousing fist in my direction. One thing has been obvious to me so far in Romania. It’s the male population between 35 - 55 (I’m guessing) that do this. 

I enjoyed a video WhatsApp call with my pals from Virgin Money at the 6 mile point. It was good to talk to them in these strange circumstances. 

I continued to churn out the miles and watching and assessing the passing traffic helped pass the time. There’s no way that I can safely listen to music so I try to do all that I can to help make the miles go quicker. I’m up to spotting ‘45’ in the car registration game!

I rested at the 12 mile point, in Simand, having worked hard all morning. It was possibly the quickest morning so far. The rest stop was an Ideal Shop and I bought a bottle of Cherry Coke and some ready salted crisps. I’d only managed some biscuits out of the ration packs for breakfast. I wasn’t hungry at all. I was soon on my way again and the quicker pace continued all afternoon. There were short rain showers here and there and thankfully my waterproof had dried out. 

I found a bike track on the southern outskirts of Chisineu-Cris. This town was the scheduled end point for the day. I hit the middle of town and the bike track ended. I started running on the road in busy rush hour traffic and was ushered to a bike track on the opposite side by a policeman.

I hit the end point for the day after 20 miles but decided to continue running as it was only 1630 and I had plenty of energy left. 

There was a cheap and cheerful hotel at the 20.5 mile point and I had no hesitation in asking if they had a room and a secure place for my buggy. Thankfully they did which means that I don’t have to spend tonight in a damp buggy. I’ll attempt to dry it out during tomorrow’s break as it’s set to reach 30 Celsius.

Despite the huge low of last night’s damp and muddy sleep and pleased to put in a good day of running today. My feet continue to be in a state but there isn’t the kind of extreme pain that I’ve experienced on previous tours. Another positive was that I was very pleased to see the first sign for Satu Mare today. I’m still on schedule to reach there by Sunday. 

Tonight’s task is to watch the England match (with Romanian commentary) before at least another 20 miles tomorrow.

I’ll leave the final word to Donna today:

Isn't technology great?! I can split the screen for the footie while updating this blog. I also mean the power of WhatsApp and Find My Friends of course! These canny little apps have enabled me to keep in close contact with Mark while also keeping an eye on his route. We've been able to discuss each element of the route for the day ahead and I've been able to do a quick reccy to see what kind of towns/villages and amenities (albeit limited) that lie ahead.  

Using these apps has given me more reassurance around Mark's health and wellbeing.  From a safety perspective I can track his exact location at all times. Safety isn't really something that we've dwelled on too much just recently though. I say this with reference to the amazing people that Mark has encountered to date travelling through Serbia and into Romania. Mark's mentioned the wonderful hospitality that we experienced 2 years ago in Europe and honestly, you couldn't wish for more. If a random guy started running through your town with a buggy in tow would you invite them  into your home for a BBQ? 

We received a lovely message today from Danijela (the BBQ family) with this picture from the children. How sweet. 

I'm more than confident that Mark's road sense is top notch. Having driven through Italy last year I have no clue how he came out of there unscathed back in 2016 - madness! So, safety, health and wellbeing are all good. My stress levels have simmered a bit! The only concern that I have right now is how critical Mark is of himself. The comparison that he made in yesterday's blog around mileage on previous runs - I mean, come on! That was without having a buggy that weighs 120kg+ and there being no support team on hand to help with food and digs - there is absolutely no comparison. Remember, there are no rules around days/mileage - these are simply targets that Mark has set himself so I'm pleased with the recalculation of around 20(ish) miles per day. 

These last few days have confirmed that Mark is more than capable of this and with the shorter mileage comes the shorter day. This means that he can focus on food and feet. Not together of course - you've seen the pictures! Yesterday threw a bit of a spanner in the works though. Torrential rain. This wasn't part of the plan! Unfortunately Mark's previous training runs weren't really tested against all of the elements so the leak from the chimney was a new one! Nevertheless, the bag seemed to ease the impact. The temperature and humidity should hopefully help to dry things out thoroughly over the next few days, so fingers crossed the rain holds off.  

Onwards and upwards!

If you can spare a few quid for a donation, it would be hugely appreciated. You'll have watched/read about just how much blood, sweat and tears Mark puts into these runs. The sponsorship is where the magic really happens and ensures that St. Benedict's Hospice really can make a difference to lives: