The Long Road

I’m planning to run across Africa again and this time to double the distance to around 5,000 km. Because of the fairly narrow window weather wise that it is advisable to try and avoid the heat on the one hand, and the winds and rain on the other, the earliest that I can possibly start is May 2018.

I did my first run across Africa from the 20th June to the 18th September 2015 and called it “The 20° South Run” because that was the latitude that I ran across, I’m looking for a new name – any ideas anyone?  I started from the west coast of Namibia at Springbokwasser Gate (couldn’t get permission to run the Skeleton Coast Park bit because of the lions) and ended on the east coast of Mozambique at Praia do Bilene, near Xai Xai.

Prior to that run I was living in Cape Town which did allow for some hot weather training.  A complete change to where I am now living and the weather conditions here, Dorking, Surrey, United Kingdom.  Lots of lovely hills and trails to run in these beautiful Surrey Hills but very different temperatures.

One of the problems that I face now, as was the case the previous time, is the amount of planning and logistics involved. Add to this the need to find sponsors, donors and a support team, with a production crew and wildlife charity organisations on board as well. My experience has taught me that it will be a tough call without having a project assistant beside me, especially when I need to focus more heavily on my training. But, all very doable.

Which brings me to the problem that I’m writing about now. Whilst a 5,000 km run is most definitely a long road, don’t I know having already run 2,600 km (I must be mad), but the road I’m referring to here is the training preparation. In order to be able to do a run like this naturally I need to be running fit and my body needs to be strong and healthy. But here’s the problem – yes, I need to be running fit but I also need to be under-trained at the start, whilst at the same time have a well trained and strong body to be able to cope with the wasting and damage that I’ll be putting it through.

If I’m too well running trained and fit it will all be downhill from there and my legs, and especially my dodgy knees, will not survive 6 months of in effect running a marathon every day.

I do have one huge plus on my side – I’ve been there before.

And today was a test run/walk for me to see if I can work out how to get my running activities posted as visuals using my Garmin and their software.

Jon O’Hanlon