World Run II / Reports
The map shows the position of which the pictures for the day are taken (if any). The start and finish markers are placed at the first and last valid registered position. This is not nessesary the actual start and finish position, if GSM or GPS signals was not available.
Distance today: 40.0 km (Accumulated: 26134.0 km)
Elapsed time: 03:46:11
Country: Chile West
Start 09:05am., 10c, overcast/dense mist and no wind, at yellow tarmac-marker "149.100" on hwy.1. Finish 14:15pm., 21c, overcast and l.wind, at yellow tarmac-marker "188.300" on hwy.1 in Tocopilla.
The Beauties and Hauntings of Chile
As I hope you have been able to see at the daily photoseries which goes along w. the reports then its been impressive sceneries of nature right since the first running-steps about 5000km ago at Punta Arenas, at the Southen tip of the continent. Perhaps the last two to three weeks has offered the highlights so far along with the vast beauty of the stages right across the highest part of the Andes Mountains 1.5months ago.
But Southamerica can also show a 'haunting side', which I think the pictures from todays 40km run display a little bit of:
Dense ocean mist covering the ragged peaks of the lower Andes', steep dark cliffs meeting with the pitch black Pacific Ocean on overcast days as today (my supportdriver Alex and I saw a whale out there near the finish of the run, though :-), the poverty at parts of the smaller cities and villages along the North of Chile in steep contrast to the wealthy sectors of the big cities like Santiago, Valparaiso and Antofagasta - Chile has one of the highest "UN enequity indexes" of Southamerica (!); heavy mining industry, mainly of copper and nitrate, which brings polution and demolition to the else unique and stunning coastal landscapes...
But there is another 'haunting' which has touched the run in a much more severe way than the impressive views and grand nature. In Southamerica, so far Argentina and Chile, I have experiensed a very positive helpfullness and almost always a friendly attitude :-) Yet, a surprising side of the mentality of this continent has proven to make huge difficulties when trying to do a run across it: When running across continents step by step as I have done across Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, Africa and now the southamerican continent you get a very close contact and impression of the mentality and 'spirit' of the cultures and peoples. That is one of the main reasons why I do these runs around the world :-) Its basically a unique chance to get a closer understanding of the ways of life on our planet as a citizen of it, but also with my background as a political scientist its a thrilling up-close understanding compared with the statistical and theoritical knowledge that goes with the traditional approach to international politics.
However, sometimes the mostly very positive impressions I get, even of areas which in the mainsteam news or in "high politics" are considered as hostile (like the touching kindness when I ran through the Middle East and Sudan ! Or when running straight across Siberia in world run one); then on rare occations I do get a negative impression - and if I only wrote of the positives, what would these reports be worth ? So, I'll mention the surprise I have gotten from a side of Southamerican or Chilean mentality which I definately didnt expect..
- The mentality of theft !
In the beginning I thought of it as just coincidenses; a shipment of shoes from my sponsor diseappearing in customs; then the next packet with shoes and running clothes - also entering customs but magically not making it out on the other side. Now the third package with runningshoes has gone to the customs officers and not 'the runner' ;-) They must have a longing for running themselves I imagine !
Sadly, ofcourse this creates a severe problem in reguard to continuing the run since its now been 2.5 months of getting the semi-runningshoes that I could find in the local shops. Its not impossible to run ofcourse, but as I guess most runners know its essential to have the right kind of shoes in order to run without injuries. One solution has been to keep the daily kilometres low, in the 25-40km range the last two months, and in that way avoid more longlasting injuries, but this also slows the progress down and at one point or another I need to begin to 'pick up the daily distances' - the last 4 days Ive done 40km of running and we'll see if the legs hopefully hold.
But it also makes one wonder: why does it seem to be a natural thing, when I enquire about "Why ?" the things has been taken. To my surprise it has left the impression that its not really a problem if one takes things, that theft is to some extend 'allright' ! It explains what I first found as a peculiar or curious detail; that the supermarkets seems to always have several security guards at entry and exits of them, elaborate locker-systems to avoid bags carried into them etc. At first a thing which I found was stangely 'overkill' but slowly have become to understand that there is a reason for: That sadly theft seems to be the-order-of-the-day ! Very surprising and a thing I definately didnt expect to find in Southamerica. Though I have to say that what I experiense here in Chile doenst have to say anything about how the mentality or experienses will be in the contries ahead. I chose to hope that is just a little "chilean haunting" in a elseway very friendly contry :-)
By the way you can follow the account of the experienses, joys and hauntings of the world run II also on my excellent supportdriver and cameraman Alex Hamlins blog:
NB: More pictures from todays stage will be uploaded later as well as the reports from the last days. The internet-options are a bit scarse along the remote parts of Northern Chile and I hope you have patience with the updates on this streatch :-)