Sunday, 22 July 2018

Day 46

Today’s blog starts as I was getting ready to sleep inside Chappie outside the hotel. Some ladies and their children appeared at the hatch of Chappie and asked what I was doing. I was more than happy to put on an impromptu talk about my journey. 

I would say that last nights sleep in Chappie was probably the best of them all. A combination of a good body temperature, knowing that I was in a safe place, being very tired together and a constant hum of motorway traffic helped massively. 

I was woken up at 0700 by a lady holding a baby peering in to Chappie. I packed Chappie up and decided to have an omelette in the hotel restaurant. I was the only one in there and I got served very quickly. I used Google Translate to explain to the waitresses all about my journey. As has been the case so often in this journey their faces were one of amazement. 

I set off running at 0900 and there was a definite spring in my step. 

I passed a police checkpoint after a few miles. They were pulling cars and lorries over. I ran passed the control room expecting stern faces but enthusiastic waves were exchanged. I really shouldn’t have expected anything else based on my previous experiences in Ukraine. 

The road was very busy and, again, reminded me of the A1 back in England. I was very excited to see the occasional sign for Kyiv. 

Stobbsy, who was on my Australia and Europe support teams, wouldn’t have been able to cope with this signage. He would probably think it was called “Kanab”. He got terribly confused looking for Turin during the run across Europe. “I don’t know where it is. There are only signs for Torino” he was heard saying. A classic #stobbsytales if ever there was one. 

At the 10 mile point I could see the skies in the distance turning blacker. A quick check of my Google Map told me that there was a gas station 2 miles down the road. I put my foot down and did my best to reach it before the monsoon started. 

I reached the little gas station just in time. 

I’d only been sitting under the shelter for a few minutes and the rain began to lash down. A lady appeared from the gas station kiosk. I thought that she was going to ask me to move on. Instead, she brought a chair for me to sit on. 

I set off running again once the rain had stopped. After 14 miles I passed the sign for the Kyiv Oblast. This would be the sixth and final Oblast after Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Khmelnytskyi and Zhytomyr. 

The film crew from UATV arrived at the 18 mile point. The intention was for them to film the remaining miles of the day right up until I crawled inside Chappie for the night. 

The UATV crew took some really good shots which involved their drone and also from the rear of their van. 

We found a quieter place away from the motorway to conduct an interview. The questions asked by Artur were very good and I was able to cover many aspects of my journey. 

They took various shots of me running over the remaining 8 miles of the day. I could hear the drone buzzing overhead and did my best to run as quickly as I could. I was relieved to reach the Okko gas station after 26.7 miles. 

As it turned out, today was the quickest day since day one. I only did 13 miles and was fresh back then so I’m counting today as the quickest. I was filmed parking Chappie and then buying a couple of cheese burgers! 

There was another interview before the final shot of me disappearing inside Chappie. I said goodbye to the UATV film crew and headed into the gas station to try and get washed. 

I’ve got to say a huge thank you to Artur and the rest of the team for spending a substantial amount of time covering my run today. The filming will continue tomorrow at the city limits of Kyiv and conclude in Independence Square on Tuesday at 1200. 

Tomorrow is the last big day of mileage. There are 28 miles to run to Chappie’s place of storage. Then it’s a final 4 ceremonial miles to Independence Square on Tuesday.