Jan 7, 2012

Distance today = 50.76 km; Total distance = 357.64 km; Location = Evansdale –  45 43′ 00.8″ S, 170 34′ 12.33″ E; Start time = 0844, Finish time = 1626.

What a day! The easiest way to convey the activities is in
chronological order, so here is the sequence of events. It started off quietly
enough, but stay with me – the pace quickens (and I’m not talking about my
running pace, which invariably slows as the day wears on).

Firstly, for those watching the GPS tracker, you may have
noticed my position as being at a town called Mosgiel.  I actually concluded the day before at Outram, about 10 km back, but we stayed in a motel at Mosgiel. I must have
accidentally activated the iPhone app that transmits my whereabouts, as I noticed
it was on when we were at dinner. It, therefore, showed me as being at Mosgiel
(which I was, but I like it to only show where I am while running). However, I
went back the next morning to Outram to start the next day of running, and
passed through Mosgiel a bit later. Sorry if that caused any confusion.

After passing through the most southerly point of the entire
run around the world, I reached Dunedin around midday. It’s a great little
city, with a bustling centre that was full of eateries and other social
activity. I had one of the best pies I’ve ever eaten – steak and mushroom.
Unlike the mushroom pies I’m used to, this one had huge slices of real
mushroom, and lots of it. And the steak was the chunky variety, and lots of
that too. I can’t remember the name of the shop that sold them, but it was on
the north side of the Octagon, a little way down George Street and to the right
as you head north.

I then headed out of town, but stopped at a petrol station
for a drink, turned off my watch, but forgot to turn it on again. I lost myself
what I estimated to be about 1 km of distance. No big deal in the grand scheme
of running around the world, but I think it’s important to insist on a very
high degree of accuracy in an endeavour like this. Luckily, iMaps was able to
tell me I’d lost 1.1 km, and I later double checked with Google Earth, which gave
the same measurement independently. I added this 1.1 km on to what the Garmin
gave me for the day. For added surety, the gap in my course for the day is
chronicled in Garmin Connect (the part of “the cloud” where athletes store
their data), and this can be authenticated by any verification authority at a
later time.

So, from Dunedin, I progressed through the very picturesque
Leith Valley and up a huge hill – more than a thousand feet high – and then
down the other side. The quads were already sore from the very steep downhills
of yesterday, so luckily today’s downhill wasn’t so steep. During this time my
iPhone stopped receiving data, although phone calls were OK. I was getting
quite frustrated, but managed to finally solve the problem by turning the phone
off and on.

I reached my destination of Evansdale just before 4:30 pm,
with 50.76 km under my belt – and feeling remarkably good. However, then came the bad news. The support crew were due to pick me up at this spot, but Carmel called to tell
me the support vehicle had broken down. A garage just up the road had indicated
that it would need an auto-electrician, but none would be open until Monday.
Just what I needed – to be stranded 25 km north of the city, without any way to
continue for a few days.

Now to backtrack briefly. The girls had earlier been
contacted with an offer of accommodation in Dunedin for the night. They had
been around and “checked in” to Heidi and Derek’s – more about them later. So,
they called Derek, and he came out to the broken down car with a friend, Will.
Will and Carmel then drove out to pick me up, while Libby and Derek waited for
AA, the NZ road service (equivalent to the NRMA in NSW).

I was picked up, and we started to discuss options on the
return journey to Dunedin, in a somewhat sombre mood. And then we received the
perfect phone call – Libby excitedly told us that the AA guy had determined
that the problem was the air conditioner compressor. As long as we didn’t use
the air conditioner, the car would be fine. What great news!!!!

Well, we returned to Heidi and Derek’s in a very good frame
of mind. And it got even better. They had prepared a BBQ for the evening, and
we weren’t the only guests. In fact, it was Will’s birthday, and the next day
was Mark’s birthday (he is Heidi’s brother). There also for the evening were
Heidi’s parents, Jan and John, along with Heidi’s sister, Sally, and her
partner Joe. We all had a great evening, made even better by fantastic food,
topped off by TWO birthday cakes. And that wasn’t all – Heidi’s guitar came out
and the singing began.

As you can see, it was a very eventful day, but I’d like to
concentrate on how lucky we were to have Heidi and Derek offer their home for
the night. Not only were we most appreciative of this fact, but they also were
instrumental in saving us from the awful fate of being “up s**t creek without a
paddle”. What could have been a very bad day, turned in to one of the best
we’re likely to encounter on this whole trip. Thanks guys. You were life