May 9, 2013

Distance today = 51.29 km; Total distance = 20,668.31 km; Location = Gorski Izvor – 42 01.134′ N, 25 15.012′ E; Start time = 0904, Finish time = 1732


As is so often the case, a good day followed a bad one. Today I had a lot more zip in my legs, and this translated into a more enjoyable run.

It was a reasonably flat day, but it was entirely on a busy road. All the same, I wasn’t bothered by the traffic, but it would have been even better if the road had been quiet. The rural scenes were, once again, a highlight of the day. Bulgaria is a very fertile land, with great agriculture. In fact, Carmel and Debbie were today given fresh cucumbers by local farmers, and yesterday they received a massive bunch of parsley. The locals love it when they pull up to meet them, and are only too happy to present them with a gift of fruit or vegetables – wonderful hospitality.

Just harking back to Plovdiv, however, where we stayed last night – this is a city worth a visit. Some brief history: it was first settled about 7,000 years ago by the early Thracians. It was conquered by Phillip, father of Alexander the Great, in 342 BC, before coming under Roman rule. Barry and Deb visited a Roman amphitheatre this morning, which was only rediscovered and unearthed as recently as 1972. The city was almost destroyed by the Huns in 447 AD, and has since been ruled by the Ottomans and Bulgars. It has one of the longest histories of any city in the world.

Later this afternoon, Barry ran the last 7 km with me, during which, we engaged in a deep discussion about one of the great movies of all time – Jason and the Argonauts. We have both rated this movie highly since first seeing it the 60s. The discussion was prompted by the sad news of the death of the movie’s genius animator, Ray Harryhausen – one the real pioneers of the art of animation. Who can ever forget the scene where Jason fights the army of sword-wielding skeletons.

My milestone for today is a unique one. My daily running average, since Feb 14, 1983, is now 11 km. Some days have been longer, many have been shorter, but I have now run the equivalent of 11 km every day for the past 30 years.