This weekend I organised a 'fun run', to support the Linda Norgrove
Foundation ? she was an old university friend of mine killed in
Afghanistan a year ago, and her family and friends have set up a
charity in her memory. They held a run in Scotland this weekend and
we did a one here to support it. I just asked the guys, and they all
readily agreed. It's wonderful to discover you've got friends who'll
do that. Only in Scotland they're running 10k and we're running
500metres. But I promise you, it was tough enough. I tried it a
couple of weeks ago and it was my limit, I thought my chest would
Running here is a bit of a challenge ? our blood oxygen is pretty low
? around Hb saturations of 89-91% and that generally drops to 81-82%
on maximal effort. And the air is so cold and dry ? around minus 50
degrees centigrade just now - it?s is tough on the throat and chest
to breathe hard. And the snow is very soft underfoot, very hard going
to run in.
Many of us have been training together in the gym for months, and this
was our only time to go head to head ? there was certain to be some
pretty earnest competitiveness. Although I?ve put everyone through
some hard exercise inside, I had no certain idea what would happen
when we raced outside. So, we played it safe. There is just no
physical way you could run 10k here. The best thing would be to do a
short, fast race. That way we stay close to the base, and we stay
within sight of everybody else the whole way through. I got out a GPS
and wandered round the station looking for a good course, and I found
it?s 250 metres from the base up to the summer camp. Perfect. Run up,
round a St Andrews flag I planted up there and back to the start line.
So that was the plan, but I wondered how on earth could I persuade
anyone to do this. But it turned out that I didn?t need any
persuasion ? I asked, and everyone agreed. I was pretty amazed, and
really glad, to discover that everyone in our frequently fractious
crew was so ready to turn out, just because I asked them to. Of
course I played it a bit smart. I know well who would like to run,
who would be willing to run, and who would definitely not. So I
approached those guys and straight off asked them to help me run it ?
safety guy, photographer, filmer, race starter/timer. Everyone was
doing something they were happy to do. So we had ten runners and four
support. You know, I think it might be the first time of the whole
year that all fourteen of us were outside joining in something
together. Ilann won it by a long way as we knew he would, so I had
to have a second prize for everyone to race for, which Alessandro won.
Remarkably, I think everyone enjoyed themselves.
It turns out that the charity got people running on every continent.
So, although we didn?t directly raise any money I think we helped the
charity make a bit of publicity. I think they?re going to put up some
photos and video clips we sent them on their website, if you?re
interested. You never saw people so exhausted after taking 2 and a
half minutes to run 500metres.
Concordia station 75°06'06''S - 123°23'43''E
Local time UTC + 8
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