May 6, 2022

The video below is worth watching, illustrating the smallest room we stayed in during the entire world run. It was tiny.

By this time in 2013 I was running in Bulgaria, accompanied by our friends, Debbie and Barry. They travelled with us all the way from Sofia to Istanbul, with Barry running roughly 100 km in total with me. We had a lot of fun during that time.

I’ve made an appointment for next Monday to initially deal with my long term heel problem. I expect to simply get a referral from my GP to an orthopaedic surgeon. At least I’ve made a start.


May 3, 2013


Distance today = 50.05 km; Total distance = 20,373.32 km; Location = Pirot – 43 11.950′ N, 22 33.545′ E; Start time = 0846, Finish time = 1750


My heel felt great when I started out this morning. However, a big mountain pass of more than a thousand feet caused a bit of a relapse. It was probably the worst thing I could have done for the heel. But, once down on the flat, it settled down again, and wasn’t too bad by the end of the day.

The terrain at the moment is very different from the flatness of the past two weeks. We are definitely in the mountains, with some snow still visible at the higher peaks. It’s the part of the mountain range which forms the border between Serbia and Bulgaria.

There are freeways pretty much between every main region of Europe now, except for the stretch we’re in at the moment. However, this is being remedied, and we could see where the new section of freeway is being built. It’s a holiday here for Serbian Easter, and there was a guard watching over a big earth-mover that’s creating the new freeway. Carmel happened to take some photos of me with the machine in the background. For some reason, this was a no-no. The guard came racing up in his car and pulled in front of us, blocking our way. He made it clear there was to be no photos of the earth-moving equipment – I have no idea why? I thought he was going to try to confiscate the camera, but seemed happy with an apology.

There were a few drops of rain today, during the early afternoon. They were those big lazy drops you get when the clouds can’t make up their mind if they want to rain. In the end, it didn’t, and the heat came back. However, it looks like we are about to have a thunder storm now – night-time is fine by me. It’s actually the first rain since Portugal, although there’s been lots of snow. And certainly the first precipitation of any sort for about a month.

Tomorrow I run into Bulgaria. Serbia has been great, but all countries must come to an end on a world run (except for the last one, of course).

PS Another great win for the Rabbitohs, this time 26-12 over the Broncos in Brisbane – always a hard one to win up there.


May 4, 2013


Distance today = 50.18 km; Total distance = 20,423.50 km; Location = Dragoman – 42 54.718′ N, 22 56.563′ E; Start time = 0819, Finish time = 1718


Reached my 16th country today – Bulgaria. I had a pretty good time on the road, through great countryside, and even managed about 10 km on a freeway that is under construction – no cars.

It was a day of total uphill, the first time I’ve had that since the Andes, though obviously not to the same degree. I thought the high point would be at the border, but it just kept going up.

I finished in the town of Dragoman, a nickname for Drago Radovanovic, known in English as Charlie Cugaly (sorry, an ‘in joke’).

From there, we commuted to Sofia, where we met up with friends, Barry and Debbie. They will be travelling with us till the end of the European leg in Istanbul. Must go now, as we’re heading off to dinner.

Tomorrow I’ll head back to Dragoman to run into Sofia.


May 5, 2013


Distance today = 42.13 km; Total distance = 20,465.63 km; Location = Sofia – 42 40.741′ N, 23 18.734′ E; Start time = 0913, Finish time = 1617


Today was mostly good, although the heat and uneven surfaces got to me a bit near the end.

Carmel, along with Deb and Barry, dropped me at my starting point at Dragoman, and I was on my way. I passed Slivnitsa at the 10 km mark, where a monument and plaque informed me this was where the Battle of Slivnitsa took place during the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885. Sadly, many young men lost their lives in that very spot. These are the pieces of history you could only ever find out about on a world run.

One thing that has been reinforced to me is that time moves on. As I mentioned the other day, the camping ground in Nis, scene of the 1986 fancy dress party, is now gone. As I crossed the border yesterday, I passed a spot where, in 1986, while we waited in an incredibly long line to be processed, PT and I kept the large crowd amused with our acrobatic antics with a Frisbee. This location now has a building on it. And 12 km on the Bulgarian side of the border, there was a restaurant with an outdoor verandah where we had our last meal in Bulgaria in 1986. I passed this too – the restaurant is now in ruins. Time marches on, and not always for the best.

The road was nice and smooth early on, but as the traffic picked up nearer to Sofia, I had to do more and more running on the shoulder or sidewalks, all of which were very uneven. This is always tough, especially with a sore heel. But I managed to get through a short day, with an early finish.

I now have just 560 km to Istanbul. I am certainly looking forward to getting there, and having my first rest in four months.


May 6, 2013


Distance today = 50.54 km; Total distance = 20,516.17 km; Location = Ihtiman – 42 28.365′ N, 23 47.537′ E; Start time = 0835, Finish time = 1722


The temperature only reached 27C today, which made the running much easier. A cooling breeze helped even more.

The run out of Sofia, like any big city, was less than inspiring, but it didn’t take too long. Although I am probably not technically allowed, I ran for about 10 km on the freeway, as it provided me quite a sizeable short-cut. No-one stopped me or gave any impression I was doing anything wrong, so maybe it is allowed.

Later I was running on a road alongside the freeway. Hardly anyone uses it now, and the vegetation was beginning to reclaim the road – sometimes the road was only about half its original width.

Barry ran the last 6 km with me, which helped pass the time. The last few kilometres are always the hardest, so it’s great to have them pass quickly.

Happy 25th birthday to Hannah for tomorrow – have a great day.