Passion & Dedication

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Truckers

No matter what journey I have been on or which country that I find myself running in, the trucking community are much the same. Hard-core give it all, take no shit on the road crazy guys and yes, the odd girl in the mix as well. These big steel monsters belching fire and smoke creak, rumble and hoot their way across the landscape. They are the blood running in the veins of a country, carrying the vital supplies to every small village town or city, keeping the...

Where have all the bicycles gone?

I must admit that the song sung by Katie Melua needs to be addressed. She mentioned that there are “9 million bicycles in Beijing and that’s a fact.” One noticeable thing that has hit me like a sledge hammer is that there are hardly any bicycles. The last time that I journeyed along the wall they were like a swarm of bees, everywhere. Adults, children old folks slowly peddled and swerved their way across the countryside. Coming and going everywhere, carrying farming implements, produce wood, basically anything that needed...

It’s all about the rhythm

It’s strange how one needs to find a rhythm in whatever you are doing. No matter what it is, you need to find that sweet spot. When you have it everything just falls into place, it becomes so easy. I feel that perfecting this rhythm, is finding the balance between mind and body. For me it begins with training. Finding this begins with those relentless day in and day out months before and event. Getting up every morning at 4:30 to the confounded alarm clock screaming next to...

Just love life

I think it’s often quite normal to wake up some mornings and it feels like the world is about to close in on you and swallow you up. You just don’t have the energy to get up. This morning was one of those days; tired and sore after the hard few days and it was -one degree. The sun was barely up, and we began the grind up a 600-metre mountain slope to get back up to the wall. Step by step we clawed our way up...

Local Life

There is break in the cold snap, the sky has cleared, and the sun beams are radiating warmth into the villages. Slowly the spring blossoms are again popping open, revealing their beauty as the buds turn into delicate flowers. One can almost see it happen as you stare memorised into the thousands of cherry red and silk white blossoms on a tree. There is a distinct scented smell in the air as one passes the blooms. Along the edges of the harsh dry, turned soil there...

Not ready yet

William shared an interesting story about the local village where he has his farm house. There was a lot of activity and preparations in the village, one of the elders, now in his 80’s had been ill for a while and passed away. The family were busy preparing for his funeral that was to be held during the coming weekend. This would also give other family member coming from afar time to travel to the village to attend the funeral and pay last respects. The funeral was...

Snow falls

Its late afternoon and the sky has a grey haze hanging low over the mountains, looking threatening as it begins to darken. There has been this afternoon wind that slowly picks up after midday, blowing in from the North West. It is icy and eats right into your bones as you run. There is no respite and no way that you can get away from it. It does not help to put on too many layers of clothing otherwise when you run you begin to sweat...

The ‘Bog’ stops

This is always one of the big challenges that one faces on the road. You never know when you are going to have a call of nature; therefore, there is no planned strategy. If you are out there at the top of the mountain along the wall – wow you have a toilet with a view. The problem is when the wall comes down a valley or runs into a town, or when there is no wall or an area that is too dangerous that you must...

The farm house

William has this fantastic farm house in a village the lies in the shadows of the wall. On my first trip to China, this is where all the planning happened. This is also where I took my first hike up to the wall. I can recall that sheer exhilaration of putting my foot onto the wall for the first time 12 years ago. Emotions rushed into me as here was the opportunity to live a dream of mine and in doing so carry the dreams of...

More than just a wall

If one just looks at the Ming section of the wall in isolation, the building process took over 250 years. At any one time there were over one million people involved in the wall building process each year, so you are looking at 250 million man-years of construction just to build this section. There are many other sections of wall that were built over the 2000 years of wall building. When you are traveling along the wall and have just dragged yourself nearly 1000 metres up a...