Altitude, heat and hoodlums - August 25th, 2013
25th August 2013
Move aside Thames Path with your variety of interesting historical monuments, your traffic free running lane and your shady tree laden shores. I am moving to Johannesburg, city of gold, hills and one of the worst rates of crime on the planet... or so I am led to believe.
Upsides and downsides
Being transferred to Joburg with work presents some good things and bad things with regards to my challenge. Being the eternal optimist, lets start with some of the good things!
- Altitude - Joburg is at about 1,600m. That means there is less oxygen in the air (technically, the same percentage but at a lower pressure), resulting in the benefits of altitude training
- Temperature - South Africa is hot, consistently hot! Despite the altitude, I am going to be benefitting from some good sunshine, hopefully helping me get used to running in the heat of the desert
- Hills - Joburg is hill upon hill. I actually hate hills, but to be fair, they are apparently very good for running form and certainly make your run a little tougher
However, it is fair to say that running in Joburg will present some challenges:
Getting lost: I have absolutely no idea where I am going. My recent Special Forces led training session on 'how to survive Joburg' drilled into me... 'whatever you do, don't go 'here', 'here', 'here' and 'here'. Sadly, I have no idea where those places are yet.
Pavements: Already very clear that not all of these roads have pavements - that's not ideal. Those that do are more like trails
Running at night: Don't. That's a silly idea. South Africa has a drink driving rate of 154% the world average. I also know from a recent project, only about 2% of people actually get charged. After dark, it seems most people are pissed and driving. It gets dark early here... between 6 and 7. Evening runs in the gym then
Traffic: There is lots of it... running in the morning will have to be very early if I even attempt it
Hoodlums: I am yet to believe this... but have been told to be 'very careful' when running with GPS, Ipod and shiny trainers. I find this hard to believe... but as above, I guess it depends on where I run!
At this stage, I have been so busy I haven't even entertained the idea of training yet for the MDS. This is going to be a tough place to do it, but hey, this one is apparently the 'toughest race on earth' after all.
Maps & Tracking
You can explore the full route to the North Pole and follow Paul’s progress with live maps that will plot his position each day as he progresses towards the pole more >
VSO is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries (www.vso.org.uk). The Fire and Ice Challenge is aiming to raise £50,000 for VSO’s secure livelihoods programme more >