Monday, 23 July 2018

Day 47

The problem with sleeping in a gas station car park overnight is that I didn't get a great deal of sleep. There was a constant coming and going of loud lorries and cars. Also, the tyre place that seemed to be open until after midnight meant that I found it very difficult to nod off inside Chappie. On the plus side, it was a safe place to sleep and that is the priority over a decent rest.

I set off at 0745 with a target of running 28 miles to the Polytechnic where Chappie would be stored for the night. I was obviously very excited with the prospect of meeting Donna there. I spoke to her just before her 0600 flight to Kyiv from Newcastle.

Back on the road and I was quite surprised at how much quieter the traffic was compared to yesterday (Sunday). I was also very pleased at the amount of space that I had in the hard shoulder.    

The hard shoulder kept disappearing whenever there was a slip road or junction. As had been the case with the previous 46 days, full concentration was needed at all times. This was helped by the fact that I couldn't listen to any music due to my 3rd and final pair of earphones failing on me yesterday.

The lack of music or podcasts meant that I was left with my own thoughts. There was very little to look at or listen to other than the long straight road disappearing into the horizon and the loud noise of the passing traffic. This wasn't a good situation to be in and I felt a little impatience and anxiety creeping in. The only solution was to keep moving forward as quickly as I possibly could.  

I rested for 10 minutes at the 11 mile point. As I was about to set off again a journalist turned up and I gave an interview at the side of the road. Afterwards, she said that she would meet me further down the road in about an hour.

The journalist and cameraman were waiting a mile down the road. This time she interviewed me while running alongside. I think we talked for almost an hour and this really helped pass the time and also eased my anxiety. They both drove ahead again.

My instincts told me that once I reached the horizon in the picture below I'd be able to see the skyline of Kyiv.

I reached the previous horizon after 16 miles of running. I could see the journalist and cameraman once again. This time they were situated on top of a footbridge. More importantly, I could see the Kyiv skyline in the distance. It didn't take me long to realise that I still had another half marathon to run before I reached the finish point for the day. I also realised that there was a very long straight road between myself and the city limits. The photos below doesn't do the size and scale of that final approach to Kyiv justice. 

I reached the city boundary of Kyiv after 18 miles of running. If you look close enough you can see the sign below.

The journalist and cameraman were waiting for me at a small Kyiv sign. At first I thought that they'd been pulled over by the police. I gave a final brief interview and continued on my way.

At the 21 mile point near a very large Kyiv sign, I could see Artur the journalist from UATV and his cameraman. Just before I reached them, I got talking to a man called Serge about my journey. He very kindly presented me with a bar of chocolate. He wanted to run with me for a while but I told him that I was being filmed by the crew up ahead.

Artur and his film crew took some shots and an interview was given next to the large Kyiv sign. They planned to finish the job tomorrow when I reached Independence Square in the city centre.  

I eventually reached what I recognised to be the city of Kyiv. I was able to spend most of the time running on the pavement and I had very few problems making my way around the pedestrians. It was rush hour and there were many card and lorries leaving the city. I felt quite safe whenever I did have to join the road as I made my way further towards the city centre.

It was a gloriously sunny end to the day in Kyiv. There was so much activity both on the road and off it. I hadn't seen so many people in one place since I left Belgrade.

After exactly 26 miles on the very straight road I turned around a slight bend. I check the Find My Friend app on my phone and I could see that Donna was less than 1 mile away.

I eventually met Donna and also Michael, who is my Geordie contact in Kyiv. We walked the final 2 miles to Chappie's storage location at the Polytechnic. At this point, all of my anxiety vanished. I was very pleased to make it to the end point for the day after 28.8 very tough miles.

Now there is just the small matter of finishing the run at Independence Square tomorrow. It should take no more than 90 minutes to bring stage five of the run around the world to an end.