Feb 8, 2013

Distance today = 54.51 km; Total distance = 16,196.12 km; Location = Almorox – 40 12.647′ N, 04 23.799′ W; Start time = 0926, Finish time = 1804


When running around the world, one can’t expect the conditions to be favourable every day, and they certainly weren’t today. I had to contend with a fierce and cold headwind all day long. It really sapped my energy and made it very tough.

I decided to head north to Avila rather than north-east to Madrid. There were several reasons for this. Firstly, I don’t like running through a major metropolis. Secondly, I wanted to see Avila, possibly the best preserved walled city in Europe. We haven’t been there since 1986, and we’d been in Madrid with Libby as recently as 2009.

Finally, Madrid is one of my antipodal points for the run. This means it is on the opposite side of the Earth to somewhere else I’ve run – in this case, Wellington in NZ. It is an accepted convention in world running that you pass through two such points. However, there is a tolerance allowed, and Madrid and Wellington aren’t really exactly antipodal to each other anyway. They miss by about 50 km. By going to Avila, my path will precisely coincide with my course on the opposite side of the Earth when I ran through the NZ towns of Otaki and Levin. Although Madrid would have sufficed, passing through Avila is even more accurate – an added incentive.

So, I headed north toward Avila, but unfortunately it was a day on which a strong north wind should begin to blow (yes, I know, another song cue). And the region was very exposed, with few trees and lots of high plateaus. At least the wind eased a little toward the end of the day.

I am seeing hundreds of rabbits through the Spanish countryside – lean and athletic looking rabbits. This could be a good omen, as the mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs begin their pre-season this week with a game against the Papua New Guinea national side. I should be finishing my run this year in time to see the boys playing in the Grand Final in late September – I hope.

We discovered a wine in a restaurant in Toledo that deserves a mention. It’s called Torre de Galate, and is a blend of tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon grapes. I rated it as an 8 out of 10, which, at ten euros per bottle, was exceptional value for a wine purchased in a restaurant.

PS The tracker continues to update sporadically, usually finishing for the day around lunchtime. My real position is about 30 km further north than it is showing me.