09/03/12 or 30/06/04

by mphcrawley

First of all, thanks to Tom for not only setting up this blog from Durham (the internet here probably wouldn’t have handled it), but also for inadvertently upgrading my iphone to one with better photographic capabilities.

I have now had 6 days in Addis and I’m just about getting used to the altitude and the various time differences. Ethiopia is three hours behind England but also seven years behind due to a calendar that includes a short thirteenth month (legitimising their claim to enjoying 13 months of sunshine a year). The clocks here are also, confusingly, about six hours fast, as most Ethiopians start measuring time at sunrise. It’s just as well we’re more or less on the equator or this would be almost impossible to keep track of. Luckily, so far nobody has seemed overly concerned by the time (apart from our coach, Mersha, who carries two stop watches with him wherever he goes. This has nothing to do with time zones – one watch is for the Ethiopians and one for the British). On ‘hard’ training days we are picked up at anything from 5.15 am to about 6.15am depending on the roads and the whereabouts of the other athletes to be training that day. I have so far had two of these days, on Tuesday and Thursday, and I’m pleased to report that I seem to have acclimatised about as well as could be expected in that time.

The other athletes in our group are mainly focusing on the half marathon and have PBs in the region of 64 minutes, all of which are set at altitudes of about 2,000m. Luckily I have our guide, Gudisa, who is happy to run with me, and another ‘farenji’, Richard, so I am not as completely left behind as I otherwise would have been.

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At the track yesterday for my second day of ‘hard’ training.

I went for my first run on my own this morning in the forest near our flat. We’re living in an area called Ayat to the East of the city, which seems to be where most of the construction work is concentrated, and you have to weave your way through several building sites before reaching the forest, where the trails are fantastic. There must be hundreds of new blocks of flats and hotels being built here at the moment with the strange consequence that most people shout ‘China!’ at Richard and I when we run past. No prizes for guessing where all the money comes from to finance these projects, then.

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Gudisa, our guide, drinking a coffee that he roasted, ground and brewed himself. This process takes over an hour but is well worth the effort.

That’ll do for a first post, I’ll try to put some more photos up as soon as possible…

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