May 9, 2022

I picked up my referral for an MRI this morning. I now have to book the MRI in, after which I should have a much better idea of how my heel problem will be treated. Stay tuned.

The world run memories for today are from Bulgaria – a very interesting country to run across. It’s making constant progress at modernising itself, and I’d like to go back at some stage to see how things are now. As you will see from some of the photos, there was still a bit to do back in 2013.



May 7, 2013


Distance today = 52.44 km; Total distance = 20,568.61 km; Location = Pazardzhik – 42 12.492′ N, 24 17.437′ E; Start time = 0838, Finish time = 1742


A most interesting day – one that could have been mildly disastrous, but it worked out well in the end.

I headed off in perfect conditions, with more cloudless skies and mild temps. Just beyond the town of Ihtiman, I was continuously passed by a convoy of about thirty horse and carts carrying gypsy families. It was one of the more unusual processions I’ve seen on this run.

A little later, I once again decided to take a risk and use the freeway, instead of the much longer and hillier side road. I even ran through a 600 metre long tunnel on the freeway, with no problems.

Not long after that, I reached a road that Google Maps had instructed me to use. Carmel, Deb, and Barry were just behind in the car. Unfortunately, it was one of those almost non-existent roads – way too bad for the car to travel on. I had to call them and tell them to turn around and find a way to meet me at the other end. I’m glad I did, as the road got much worse, eventually disappearing altogether. I had to walk through long grass and scrub, using the blue dot on Google Maps to make sure I “kept on” the imaginary road. Luckily, it did meet a more substantive dirt road, which eventually became the road I was expecting.

The rest of the day was very picturesque, but without incident. The support crew met me with some lunch soon after. They’d had a very tough time getting the GPS to direct them to where I was heading. It kept wanting them to go up the dirt road again.

Later, Barry ran the last 10 km with me and, once again, the latter part of the day passed by quickly.


May 8, 2013


Distance today = 48.41 km; Total distance = 20,617.02 km; Location = Plovdiv (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.


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 of 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.