Well it is 18.38 and I am sat in Heathrow Terminal 5. I took off from Cornwall this morning at 12:00hours, after a tight hug from my lovely Mummy. Touched down at Gatwick at 13:10, got a but at 14:05 to Heathrow which dropped me off at 15:00hours, and here I still am until 21.55 this evening when my flight to Santiago, Chile takes off. A flight which takes about 14 hours, followed by an internal flight and a bus journey all the way to San Pedro de Atacama. To be honest, the journey to get to the Atacama Desert, which I am going to endeavour to run/shuffle/plod my way across feels like an ultra marathon all on its own!
Ah, the delights of the fellow man when travelling today. To be honest I am impressed at the minimal amount of queuing I have had to do here in Heathrow – it is all running like clockwork. Although, the security check officer did look at my hand luggage rucksack for a long time – I assume he was trying to discern what everything in it is as it is packed very tightly and is full. Once again the race organisers put the fear of lost baggage into us and so as much as possible goes into hand luggage. I have every faith that my hold luggage will arrive with me in Chile and make it all the way to the Atacama at the same time. Even so I confess that I have every item that is allowed into hand luggage with me – all bar the food…that is in the hold and I am going to pray to the Chilean gods to not lose my luggage and allow me to take my food into their country! They have very strict rules.
So, some might say that running across 1 desert in a year is mad, and that 2 is certifiable. I know my family, colleagues and friends things I am slightly insane. But with all the delightful news in the UK, and around the world I must confess that I am quite looking forward to going somewhere that I can forget about Brexit and which politician is stabbing another one in the back, NHS pay caps, world leaders practising hitting red buttons, hurricanes and displaced people. I think being in the remote and extraordinary Atacama Desert is going to be just the tonic, even if I have got to run across it.
I was quite pleased when checking in my luggage in Cornwall, that my rucksack for the desert weighed in at just over 5kg – there is very little to add to its contents from my main luggage – so a big thank you goes out to Kevin, Aiden & Matt for lending me some super light kit in the form of a sleeping mat, sleeping bag and spoon! Guys you are legends, my kit will weigh about 1kg lighter than in the Sahara just because of this.
But at this point, the biggest thank you goes out o my darling mummy who has spent the last week sewing 4Desert logo patches and Union Jack patches onto all the sleeves of my running kit – every top has to have flags on each arm! It has not been an easy task, and although they are slightly wonky (you try sewing onto a down jacket a stiff embroidered square patch) they look pretty fantastic.
So there we are, I will be blogging throughout this week, in my build up to the race which starts on Sunday 1st October, and I will post a blog detailing how you can follow the race, send me a message etc. It is a much smaller race, only 104 competitors, so I expect that there will be many stretches when I will be plodding along on my own, and knowing that you are all following the race will give me a big big boost.
I am continuing to run my races this year for MSF (Medicins sans Frontieres) who continue to go and give medical care and support to all those people surviving conflicts and desperate situations everyday. Working in an oncology department at the Royal Cornwal Hospital I see and care for people everyday dealing with a horrible disease – but the care the NHS continues to provide is wonderful and more importantly available – not everyone is that lucky.
Many of you have already sponsored me for when I run the MDS in April, and I am incredibly grateful to you for your support and generosity. If you haven’t yet sponsored me but would like to do so my sponsorship page is still up and running, and you can donate by going to the following link:
I will be so grateful for any donation you can make.
Much love to you all.