Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Gobi March closing ceremonies.
Gobi March closing ceremony
Saturday we run the last 10k of the Gobi March in Kashgar city. We arrived by bus to Kashgar from Upal around 11am to the start line and we started running about 30 minutes later. Kashgar is a remote vibrant city west of the Gobi’s Taklamakan portion of the desert. Of all Racing the Planet races, Gobi March is the race that you come in contact with the most culture, the race happens in areas so remote that not many foreigners will find their way to. For the last leg of the race, every competitor was allowed to run, it was nice to see fellow Canadian Leonard Stranmore who had dropped out on day four because of foot infection, and severe foot pain at the start line again for the last 10k. It was amazing running thought town, we must have been a sight to locals, and the local authorities redirected or stopped traffic for us to navigate the city, the smells, the sounds of people going around their business on Saturday morning, then having 110plus sweaty and dirty runners with backpacks making their way to Kan Mosque. It sure feels amazing having people cheer you along the way. I wanted to run hard the last leg of the race but my legs are so use to long distance that they seem to have a mind of their own thinking that we where going yet again for an other 40k run. I still managed to run in about an hour, crossing the finish line holding hands with 45-year-old Toronto native Louie Santaguida. It was nice getting my medal, especially since there where some days that I struggle just to finish feeling lousy from a nasty virus that made it’s way around camp.
There were about 13 Canadians on the race, three had to drop out. Stefan Danis was the fastest Canadian and 40-49 age group winner and I placed third female after Diane Hogan-Murphy and Shirley Potter both of Ireland, the overall winner was American Eric LaHaie.
The awards ceremony was help at a square across the Mao Statue in Kashgar, I had to give thanks when receiving the award and as usual I had trouble speaking in front of so many people, it feels weird to be recognize for something when I feel that it’s hardly me why it’s not me who needs to be recognized here, there are so many people that has made my journey to all 7 continents possible, I know that without their support I wouldn’t have been there standing receiving an award. There are so many people in the world that are living their lives everyday with so much courage, I volunteered in Calgary for an event hosted by Foundation Fighting Blindness call Comic Vision there I met a lot of parents who just like me are raising children with visual conditions, and some of them are raising them being legally blind themselves, I feel hardly like I am the hero on this story, my mission is to spread the world about these amazing individuals.
I felt a bit sad last night when I left the ceremonies, coming back to a hotel room, too late to call my kids and share the great news I just sat in front of the computer trying to put my thoughts in order, I am glad to be almost done my races, I am glad I am still healthy to run my last continent in less than two weeks, but I am having a hard time finding my place, I now feel this is as much part of my life as it is being at home with my kids, I am sure I can ever go back to an office job anymore, when I started I though I was going to be mentally done with living such a stressful and emotional quest but I have found that it has made me a happier healthier person. My favorite poem is the Road Not Taken by American Poet Robert Frost and his words have never rung so true to me, “two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the less traveled by and that has made all the difference”