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: 21.0 km (Accumulated: 35324.0 km)
Elapsed time: 02:00:59
Start 11:30am., 10c, overcast & light wind at green roadsign "Calais 5" on hwy.1. Finish 14:16pm., 14c & same, at cross of Allee Giddens Lane, on Rd.170, Canada.
After a few last km's in Usa I ran across a small bridge, and there it was: Canada. Finally - the last contry in world run two :-)
I have since some months back been looking strongly forward to reaching the border and it seemed like the last 2000km's streatched out endlessly along w. that I got more and more tired and thus each stage shorter and shorter. But now Im here and if world run one's stages in Western Canada and the Rocky Mountains back in 2005 is any measurement then both fantastic nature and people awaits !
Canada is the worlds second largest contry, only Russia w. the extreme and streatched out scenarios of Siberia is bigger; a contry, culture and Nature wich I enjoyed in its full extend and length, West to East, also in world run one. Beeing this big and with a population of 35 million people Canada is at the same time one of the thinnest populated contries areas in the world with some very remote streatches. One of them, New Foundland, is where the finish line waits. And where Vikings supposedly discovered North America centuries before Columbus.
To reach there, at the Norther-Eastern tip of the continent... I need to ask one last favor of my legs and body.
I know that it may seem like there is but a "sprint" left. A bit more than 1½ month or 1700km. Still; with the legs and physique by now seriously worn out, not only by 35 000km km of running (plus various competetions en route', a 6day race, a 48hour race, a 24hour race, etc.); but also a long long time away from home and family, away from having an "everyday"; each day packing my things once again and moving on, running. That, wears out the body and mind as much as the running when its a matter of years, continent after continent.
The contry that I have behind me, Usa, became a very mixed experience.
I think its one of the common lessons of expeditions: what you least expect to be a problem is what will most likely become exactly that. Because you havent build up a mental 'readyness' for problems ahead. The areas wich one expect problems, and prepare logistically, physically and mentally/motivationally for, will be surprisingly easy. No matter how challenging they may seem. This was the case with running straight through the Sahara Desert; through Sudan at a time of political instability, Colombia with the "warnings" it comes with in relation to kidnappings and casual shootings along the road. These areas instead all became highlights of the world run two !
East Coast Usa I more or less expected to be a walk-over', and much similar to what became the case w. Japan in world run one, where I also thought it would be a breeze' after running through Siberia - then both ended up not-so-good experienses and a huge battle not least motivationally to get through.
But I'll start with focussing on the Positive :-) Florida !! Right out amazing support from the running community there. I am still bewildered, in a very good sense, by how kind and energetic the runners where in that part of the contry. At nearly all times there were runners ready to join me, and often quite a few - making the stages a true joy and almost a small running-party. It was a streatch I didnt know much of in ultra-running terms since many of the 'big events' goes on over at the West Coast, especially in California. But at the pace the ultrarunning community is growing here and the extend they are connected with eachother and not beeing afraid or too proud' to welcome foreign runners - then I think we will come to see great events and ultrarunners emerge from there.
After Florida; not quite so. I guess I had company by 4-5 runners on the next 3000kms. I experiensed a very closed running community much to my surprise in an international 'world' of ultrarunning where the lack of a positive welcome is a very very rare thing indeed.
There were some great positive exceptions; mainly the ultrarunning veteran Arpan from the SCMT community who has a big part of the honour for that I got good running through the New York and Manhattan area and the Northern areas, Rae who is 'just' a teenage ultrarunner (though, "just", is said ironically: she is on her way running barefoot (!) across the contry and with an entusiasm I've rarely come across :-); and finally my support-driver Alex' who drove supplies for me during 3 remote months in Chile and while running across the Andes Mountains and who has signed up for the last long stint' driving supplies all the way up to New Foundland. One of those many persons who negates the impression of the stereotypical american: always ready for a discussion of international politics and with an outlook you'd be pressed to find by the average person in most parts of the world; providing lots of oppotunities to discuss the history of the Usa compared with other main cultures today.
But there is another side of Usa wich I got to experience during this run, South to North through the contry. An impression of a contry and a place where "freedom" is a word wich is very often mentioned in the media and political campaigns - yet I saw less freedom here than in the average contry I have have experiensed twice, straight around the world
If you sit in a car and are economical well set', then there are about as much freedom as the rest of the western world. But if not; Then its a tough scenario. As I ran through the poor Southern States, Georgia, South- and North Carolina - I saw not only villages or cities but one area after the next severely hit by the economical downturn. Places that you almost never see a glimpse of in the main media here. Here, the people without a car have a limit of movement and oppotunites that I think we can hardly imagine in Northern Europe: You want to walk or bicycle somewhere, to the grocery, to work, to school ? Not possible. There are no space for you to use, unless you are in a car. And I little after little began to understand why I literally never saw people bicycling along the roads I ran or even pedestrians - there are no room, no pavement, no bikepaths or even a rough shoulder. If you venture into traffic despite that, you will soon find out that the carelessness from the cars towards 'soft' traffic comes close to a feeling of "if it cant hurt me in my car, then I dont care !". A deeply unpleasant mentality once it becomes daily routine to see.
Besides the lack of the basic freedom to move where you want comes that the open ares, forrests, fields etc. wich is part of the beauty of running across the continents of our planet - is mostely not open areas here. "Trespassers will be prosecuted", "KEEP OUT", "Private, STAY OUT" is raughter the rule than the exception to see even at remote areas far from the populated centres. An ironic detail to a contry were once its settlers went to find freedom and lack of restraints. Now you have the freedom to "keep out", to make sure to travel in a car if you want to move, to refrain from drinking in public, to stick to a carefull choice of words and with a strange angst/fear/? towards the police that I rarely see elsewhere. Where did the Freedom go ?
As for the public debate; I was as a political scientist exited to follow the american "caucas" since the process to select the republican president candidate went on while I was running through the contry. After a while where the debates took into serious consideration, even by the main candidates, limiting the womens choice and say' in relation to abortion and conception - left me surprised and disgusted; that we at modern times can seriously get the concept that people are not free to choose in relation to their own body; amazing. And very hard to take serious how at the same time there was inspired talks about bringing "freedom" to other cultures. There more I experiensed, them more I have to say that I sincerely hope that that version of "freedom", doesnt hit other cultures - who may in some areas appear less free, but in other areas are much more free in their daily lives than you feel here.
But its important to understand that this is a generalization. Because at the same time, this is certainly one of the parts of the world where I have experiensed most difference. From the rich to the poor, and from the unpleasant to the good ! So, its vital to keep in mind the many people wich I met and who made a Very Positive impression and impact on the run. Along with old friends met on my West-East run across the contry in world run one.
And a Big THANK YOU to all of them !!! :-)