Monday, 16 July 2018

Day 40

I had a decent amount of sleep in the bus shelter near Korchivka. It wasn’t until I put my head in the hood of my sleeping bag at 0600 that I really slept well. After this time I dreamt of a Chinese baby in a cart attached to Chappie. I was dragging them both up a mountain side. Work that one out dream analysts! 

I was woken by the sound of footsteps. I peered out of the rear hatch and an old man was glaring at me from half a meter away. I said hello and he moved away to wait for his bus. He came back and I explained about my journey. In astonishment, he put his head in his hands. I knew that the old man and me were good at this point. 

A few other passengers arrived and they boarded the west bound bus at 0715. 

I packed up Chappie and set off at 0800. After enjoying writing last nights blog and the prospect of a much needed shower at the end of today, I felt determined and it showed with some quicker than usual miles. Chappie felt lighter than usual and I think eating more calories the day before also helped. 

I’ve passed a few of the structures in the image below recently. I must try and find out what they are called and their purpose. 

A farmer pulled over in his tractor and I told him about my journey from Belgrade to Kyiv. Cue one more look of astonishment. 

I reached Antoniny just before noon. It looked like a nice place with numerous lakes of various sizes. 

After 11.5 miles, I arrived in the main square at noon and bought a couple of hot dogs. They were very nice and it didn’t take long for me to eat them.

I was asked for a few photos from the locals which I’m always happy to oblige with. I’m still puzzled as to the level of interest in Ukraine but it does help to make the journey a lot more bearable. 

I got talking to a girl called Vira. She’d previously worked in London so her English was excellent. We talked about my journey and also about our respective jobs. 

I set off again at 1300 and felt quite tired in the midday sun. I got stopped for a few photos down the road and exchanged enthusiastic high fives with the children in the picture below. 

A man that I’d previously met in Antoniny stopped to present me with a bottle of Pepsi. I saw him later in the day to receive a bottle of Sprite. 

As the afternoon went on I got slower and slower. My feet were very sore. With 4 miles to go I took my 3rd painkiller of the day. I reached the outskirts of Starokostyantyniv and was greeted by a family with some berries. I ate a handful and we took some photos. Also present was a young lad from the Ukrainian army. He asked me if I needed food or water. I said that I had everything that I needed. I’ve still got a ration pack from the Ukrainian army. 

There was a slight climb into the town centre and by this time I was in a considerable amount of pain. There was only one thing for it - to put my foot down with a bit of AC/DC. 


The next mile was decent. I chose a track by Faithless next - “We come one”. After that, mile 28 was the quickest of the tour so far at 13:00. It would have been quicker but I was concerned that the contents of my basket would drop out. I wound the speed down to the finish line and stopped running after 29.5 miles. 

The finish line was a hotel where the shower that I’d been dreaming about all day was waiting for me.  

A young lad named Tolia was there to greet me and he was able to translate to the hotel that I had a bag of laundry that could do with washing. To my utter joy the hotel were able to take that on. Thank you to the Sluch hotel for that. Thanks also to my contact Lena and her mother who did the booking and sent some lovely food to my room. I ate the lot. 

What a day! I’m pleased to say that things are going to plan. I now have 3 days to run 86 miles to Zhytomyr. I’m so looking forward to a rest day on Friday after what will be 11 consecutive days of running. It seems like months ago since I left Kalush.