Jan 27, 2012

Distance today = 49.66 km; Total distance = 1385.11 km; Location = Tukino Ski Field Road –  39 17.808′ S, 175 44.456′ E; Start time = 0814, Finish time = 1515


One of the great things about running around the world is that you know it will throw up some surprises from time to time. Today I learned that New Zealand has a desert. Nothing to compare with the Sahara, but a desert all the same. It is a dry treeless region in the shadow of the Mount Ruapehu volcano (2797 m), and I ran to the high point on the road that skirts the mountain (1085 m). It was quite an interesting run, and I hope to have a video uploaded soon. I expect this to be the highest point I will run to until I get to the Rockies.

Today I also encountered my first real rain of the run. It got very cold as I approached the town of Waioura, and the combination of being wet, cold, and with a strong wind whipping stinging rain in my face, it was the most miserable moment of the run so far.

I went into a diner in town, and could not get my money out, so numb were my fingers. I ordered a large hot chocolate, and held it in my hands for a several minutes before drinking it. The nice lady behind the counter went out back and brought me a towel to dry myself off with. After a mussel pie I was feeling a lot better, and finally ventured out to complete the day’s running on the desert road. I know I will get worse weather somewhere along the way during this odyssey, so it didn’t really phase me. I was, however, fantasising about a long and hot shower when I was at my coldest.

Just finally – a more philosophical comment. Today I passed two dogs tied up just inside a fence in the countryside. They were on short leashes, and had nothing to occupy them other than the sound of traffic passing by. They were so happy to see me (they went crazy when I went inside the gate, so I gave them both a big pat) that it was clear they were starved of affection. Although they were in good physical health, it was sad to see cases of animals that are abused mentally. Anyone out there with a dog, don’t forget they are very social animals and they need their minds to be occupied and exercised as much as their bodies. Being tied up all day with nothing to do is abuse. This is just one example of the many experiences I will have while running around the world.

Now, it’s off for that much awaited hot shower. And I am very much looking forward to the Thai green curry being prepared for dinner tonight by the wonderful support crew.

PS Many thanks to Fran at the Cafe Telephonique in Taihape for a great discount on a delicious and nutritious meal last night. I awoke today feeling very well nourished and raring to go.