May 8, 2016

Yesterday I survived my first game of rugby in more than a third of century. I only played part of the match, but managed to get involved quite a bit. I’m not too sore today either, although my right shoulder is a little painful from tackling. That’s something I haven’t done in a long, long time. And to cap it all off, we won 10-5.

I really enjoyed it and have decided to persevere for at least another game, and probably more. Watching from the sideline I was wondering what I’d got myself into, but once I was on the field and involved it all seemed quite normal. I felt like I was in my 20s again. I know, I know ….. that’s probably why I’m doing this. Anyway, it’s a very different experience for a 55 year old so I ‘m not going to give it up just yet.

What I really like about the whole thing is that, as far as I’m aware, no one in the team (the Woollahra Colleagues 6th Grade) has any idea that I ran around the world, or that I have a previous background as a football player. They just think I’m some old guy who wants to have a run in their team. I’m not going to tell anyone. If I’m going to gain respect from them, I’d rather it was for performances on the field now, not from past achievements.

I’m still managing to do a fair bit of running. This week, despite recovering from last week’s marathon and tapering for the rugby match, I’ve still managed to cover 80 km. That’s more than I expected. This week I’ll probably do more, even with another game next Saturday.

Today’s photo from the world run was taken by me at the top of the Cristo Redentor Pass, high up in the Andes on the border between Chile and Argentina. It was almost at 4,000 metres, or 13,000 feet, of elevation. For those who read my blog that day, or have read the opening chapter of my book, this photo was taken just moments before my near death experience when I almost fell over the edge of a cliff of ice. That occurred just to the left of this photo.


4000 metres


On This Day



May 8, 2013

Distance today = 48.41 km; Total distance = 20,617.02 km; Location = Plovdiv, Bulgaria (8 km east of) – 42 08.798′ N, 24 51.555′ E; Start time = 0835, Finish time = 1710


I knew I was below par before I started today, and it proved to be a bit of a struggle. I’m not sure why, but I awoke feeling tired and knowing it would be a tough one. The roads were very busy too, which made it even less enjoyable.

I was the Pied Piper of dogs again today, with a female King Charles Spaniel following me for about 15 km. She was clearly a stray, which is strange for a KCS, and she only had a basic road sense. I was constantly yelling at her to get off the road, as she would often start to cross in front of oncoming traffic. After not letting me out of her sight for so long, I eventually went into a petrol station to get a drink, and she wasn’t there when I came out. I was glad, as I was a nervous wreck by that time.

I could then relax a bit, which wasn’t easy with the amount of traffic. After lunch with the “support crew”, I ran into the large city of Plovdiv. I recall Plovdiv hosting the World Junior Athletics Championships a couple of decades ago. It’s a reasonably interesting place. I believe it has some connection with Phillip, the father of Alexander the Great.

I met Barry in the city, and he ran the last 9 km with me. The girls then came out and picked us up to commute back to the city for the night. The tracker shows me in Plovdiv, but my real position is about 8 km further east.