And relax

1641 km! I can’t believe that we have made it this far: That we bought and fixed up a car, shipped it to Namibia, sourced kit and connections, Emma started the run and is still running and we are still all alive. A lot of me never thought this would happen. Really, truly, but I have a fear of failing and that fear drove me to make it possible. You don’t have to believe to succeed but you do have to work hard. I am not sure what is motivating Emma.

Emma runs, Mike cycles and the rest of us drive into tourist town. A kaleidoscope of colour, noise, little shops, glamorous tourists and backpackers, touts and cars. For the next 3 nights we shall be sleeping in beds, beds I tell you, with mattresses. We are all exhausted and could do with time apart. Emma is obviously much more tired than the rest of us and happy to be off her feet. I am giddy at the thought of not thinking about the rest of the team or cooking.

First, however, is the goodie bag Mum has brought from the UK. We unpack presents and letters for Emma. Emma is overwhelmed as she hears all the words of love and admiration from her friends. She’s not the only one.

There are also shiny new shoes kindly donated from family and friends, which were hugely appreciated. Then it is time for each of us to take turns soaking in the tub and getting as clean as we can, dirt has become ground into our skin. Emma and I have a lovely relaxing dinner with my Mum and leave the guys to their own devices.

Number of Days: 37

Total distance run by Emma: 1641 km, 1019 miles

Daily average distance run by Emma (including rest days): 44.3 km, 27.6 miles

Distance run today: 49.82 km, 30.95 miles

Border Crossing #4 Zambia to Zimbabwe:

We emerge from our overnight hiding place in the bushes excited to be crossing into a new country.



In Livingstone we bump into my Mum. I mean I knew she was in Zimbabwe but, I was in the midst of fussing over something, when she pulled up in a taxi behind me. She had brought us cold drinks! Cold drinks. That needs saying twice or even thrice. There is nothing as gorgeous as a cold drink when you are sticky and stinky and have been sweltering in the hot sun for days. When I drink cold water in this state, it tastes like honey.

A sign in Livingstone – I think this is a complex issue, people with more knowledge can perhaps comment.

Livingstone itself, is a busy border town with everything we need. Money changers and diesel. I am worrying about Emma as she has been in a lot of pain but when she arrives she is in good spirits, particularly for seeing my Mum. Variety is an essential spice for Emma. I have no idea how she runs for hours a day.

Mum’s taxi driver knows of an idyllic place for our picnic lunch under a huge tree, where elephants like to hang out, and up a riverbank from crocodiles. The taxi driver is the son of a chief in the area and has extensive understanding of the local animals. I consider the impractical idea of taking him with us.

After lunch we head for the Zimbabwe border. Visa requirements for UK citizens are $50 and for Polish citizens only $30. I joke to the Immigration Officer:

“You like Polish people better than the British.”

“No,” He deadpans back, “We like you better, you pay more.”

The immigration officers, as always, are intrigued by Emma’s achievement, friendly and helpful.

The border is stunning. We stand at the top of vast cracks in the earth cutting down to the river below.

And then we are in Zimbabwe, a completely new country for Mike, Emma and Woocash, Robert’s home, and my history.


This day to be continued tomorrow …



Fetching water


To be honest, I just love this moment and wanted to share it with you. I don’t even know why I like it so much. Possibly, I like that we are helping people out, or may be it’s the whole male only moment of men working together with boys to resolve a mechanical problem and all from different countries – the boys from Zambia, Robert from Zimbabwe and Woocash from Poland. I think that must be it.


Did you notice the wooden pump? And the yellow containers are to be filled with water at the bore hole and then they cycle home with them. Many people don’t have bicycles and walk several kilometres a day to fill up. We often fill our water from the boreholes and don’t even need to purify it, which I find amazing as it wasn’t like that when I visited 20 years ago. But we rarely carry it more than a few yards to the car. Living as we do now, longing to be clean, makes me appreciate the easy availability of fresh clean water in the UK.

The scorched scenery in the first photo will be from fires that are set deliberately.

Emma continues her incredible achievement in a lot of pain. We are almost at the border and almost time for a rest. She keeps pushing herself to get there sooner. Mike is always by her side.


Number of Days: 36

Total distance run by Emma: 1591 km, 988.5 miles

Daily average distance run by Emma (including rest days): 44.2 km, 27.5 miles

Distance run today: 53.55 km, 33.27 miles

Fire in the distance


Alarmingly, we see wild fires less than a mile away. However, people, cows and dogs are going about their business without looking at even those fires that are near straw huts. So, we do what everyone else does and ignore it.

Robert explains local people start fires to flush out small animals, which are caught for food. I guess Zambians are as experienced with fire as the Swiss are with snow.

With fires around, I am not keen on camping beside the road. Luckily, we are allowed to camp here under this fantastic tree which makes Cleo look like a toy truck instead of the Landcruiser with extra suspension she really is.


Robert swiftly disappears to chat up the locals who are having a meeting about development in the area and receive some tasty meat and sadza, which I am very happy about. I still haven’t mentioned to the team the possibility we could run out of food as we don’t have any Zambian money to buy any. Why bother them?

In the night the wind gets up.

Advice Moment: When travelling in a windy place, do not take a roof tent. The wind sweeps between the layers of the tent and struggles desperately to get out, crashing the fabric up and down. At moments, shaking the whole car, I dreamily wonder if we will take off. Fortunately, Cleopatra is a big girl and all the kit inside and us on top, adds up to over a tonne so it would have to be some wind to fly us into the sky. In future, I think twice about putting a tent under a massive tree.

Nobody gets much sleep.

Emma slowing up for Robert 😉 … Truthfully, though, Emma was in so much pain it is phenomenal that she is moving, much less running more than a marathon

Number of Days: 35

Total distance run by Emma: 1537 km, 955 miles

Daily average distance run by Emma (including rest days): 43.9 km, 27.3 miles

Distance run today: 55.71 km, 34.61 miles

Robert Returns

In constant pain, Emma with a determined gait, still covers phenomenal distances. We try running with her to provide support and variety for her day. Before, she would chat happily but now she conserves all her energy and focus on running. It’s hard to know what to do. I do come up with this make shift idea: (video of me cooling her feet).

Peaceful breaks are a challenge. Children come running, their little legs spinning as fast they can as soon as they see us. I feel a sense of obligation as guests in their country but having them watching us closely at every rest stop is not restful. Woocash and I cook as quickly as we can and then move on to meet Emma and Mike but even then, at times, we still have to swiftly pack up and drive 1 mile down the road, as the children come running after us. Emma arrives at her breaks looking stressed from the constant attention. Once a small child had run up and slapped her. I can only assume that the child thought Emma was a ghost or something. I suggest Emma calls us on the radio when children surround her but she doesn’t believe we can help and so never asks. As every metre hurts, the mismatch between the car’s measurements and Emma’s measurements become a significant irritation for her.

We pass road works: a sign says, “Apologies for the 15 minute delay” which makes me chuckle. I come from the UK. I love my country dearly but for sheer politeness Namibia and Zambia are winning. The road itself is good quality.


The main highlight of the day, however, is Robert chasing us down in a minibus taxi. If you remember, Robert is SEED’s Project Manager and is on the trip as our guide, to gain experience and consider expansion into new areas. Having travelled overnight from Harare to Victoria Falls, Robert caught sight of Cleopatra (the car) in the distance travelling in the wrong direction, which confused him (we were returning from a breakfast in hiding) and persuaded the driver to accelerate to catch us. I was thinking who is this crazy driver trying to overtake us until everyone chorused “Robert” as they saw him frantically waving out the window. His cleanliness makes him stand out. Woocash is instantly happier, the two of them have a budding bromance, and the whole team seems re-energised for seeing Robert.



Number of Days: 34 (almost 5 weeks)

Total distance run by Emma: 1,482 km, 921 miles

Daily average distance run by Emma (including rest days): 43.6 km, 27.1 miles

Distance run today: 52.85 km, 32.84