Politics and Camping

We are secretly camped beside a farm that was forcibly removed from a white Zimbabwean farmer and given to black Zimbabweans. Robert is jumpy. Acting on his advice, we are cautious.

The redistribution of farmland was set as an objective by President Mugabe in 1980, when Zimbabwe gained independence. 20 years later the process had barely started. In 2000 government supported land seizures were enforced by armed gangs of young men, these were often unexpected and violent and farmers, their families and staff were sometimes injured and killed. The most recent land seizure in the area was in 2008, just 6 years earlier. That is why we are hiding behind a thick hedge.

Robert warns us that these people can be aggressive and may think that we are trying to steal their land. He also assesses the camping spot as likely to attract a lot of snakes. Everyone is wary when we hear cars passing, becoming silent and switching off torchlights. To add a little extra adventure, I have a stomach upset in the night and 3 times have to make a dash into the darkness. Given the situation, I wake Woocash to keep me company, which he suffered with surprisingly good humour. We are happy to get off the site as quickly as possible in the morning.


Number of Days: 53

Total distance run by Emma: 2204 km, 1370 miles

Daily average distance run by Emma (including rest days): 41.6km, 25.8 miles

Distance run today: 41.13 km, 25.55 miles

With the Chief’s Permission

As we cannot find a secluded area to camp in. We stop outside someone’s house and Robert asks them if we can stay. It is fantastic having Robert with us. He knows how to approach people in a polite and respectful way: the rest of us are learning to cup our hands and clap them whilst saying “Wakadini?” which means “How are you?” in Shona. Zimbabweans are delighted and laugh at our childlike stumblings.

The homeowner tells us we must ask the Chief’s permission first. Warily, we drive on to the Chief’s house. He turns out to be a very welcoming man and insists we stay on his land. I think this is for our safety and the safety of his community if we turn out to be the bad guys.

We are settled under a beautiful tree and given a large bowl of fresh nuts as a gift. Robert tells us that we must return the gift with a plate of food. I hope they are going to like my cooking. Of course, they are too nice to say anything other than it was delicious.

Emma was up and running before we could take the photo with the Chief and his wife.


Number of Days: 52

Total distance run by Emma: 2163 km, 1344 miles

Daily average distance run by Emma (including rest days): 41.6km, 25.8 miles

Distance run today: 54.09 km, 33.61 miles

In the centre of the chant

This moment lifts my heart.

I am running with Emma and as we come round the corner of a hill I see a class of children let out to play. Before they spot us I can see their skittish joyful runs around their school and then they see us. Excited shouts pour out as they race towards us and surround us. Emma wants to run free, so I slow down my pace and hold my arms out, guiding them to run in line with or behind me. Unsure how to entertain them, I encourage them to sing. One of the girls looks uncertainly around her and then takes the lead with confidence. My senses are overwhelmed with their energy flowing through their voices.

I could tell you many things about this day, about crossing the Tsetse fly border or the moment the team spirit was broken when something was said that took away trust, but this is the moment I want to remember, to share with you and show how wonderful visiting Zimbabwe and meeting Zimbabweans can be.

A headmaster kindly let us camp in his school. The toilets were full of spiders!


Number of Days: 51

Total distance run by Emma: 2109 km, 1310 miles

Daily average distance run by Emma (including rest days): 41.4km, 25.7 miles

Distance run today: 53.41 km, 33.18 miles

Hiatus in Karoi

We are not meant to be here already. Emotions have swirled us up and now we have transported here to take a break and discuss ourselves, or rather each other.

With perfect metaphorical timing there is a huge storm in the night, puddles form inside the extension tent. Across Zimbabwe there are power cuts and flooding. I am struck by how fortunate we are to have not been camping in the bush as, when rain comes in the tent, Emma and Mike can swiftly put up another tent under shelter on a dry surface. In addition, the next day we are able to lay our wet things out flat in the sun.

Karoi, itself is a lovely town. The market sells the most delicious honey any of us had ever tasted. And we make someone’s day when we buy lots of our fresh food supplies from them. We find an electrician who helps to fix our inverter which we are using to charge all our phones, cameras and other electrical items. At night, there are no lights along the streets, our torches pick out a snake crossing our path, gliding along focused on its business. I’m glad we didn’t step on it that would have been bad for it and us.

We sleep, eat, and take a break from each other before we meet for some honest discussion. I contact two wise people in my life for assistance. After two days, we think we have solved the issues. The team is in good spirits and singing songs as Woocash, drives rollercoaster style, back to where Emma finished running 2 days before. Stopping only when we come across a bus crash to donate food and water to the shocked passengers on the side of the road – they had been there for hours. We arrive just before the sundown, in time for us to set up camp.


Number of Days: 47

Total distance run by Emma: 2056 km, 1277 miles

Daily average distance run by Emma (including rest days): 43.7km, 27.2 miles

Distance run today: 33.48 km, 20.80 miles


On days 48,49 and 50 Emma did not run, her daily average distance on day 50 was: 41.11 km, 25.54 miles


Bush Fires


Crackling bush fires start and grow around us, flickering high above our heads. We are parked in the middle of the dusty track waiting for Emma and Mike, Robert assures us that the fire cannot cross the road. I hop out to take a video of the fire, which suddenly swerves closer to me and Cleo, the car. I quick step back to Cleopatra and my video instead of showing the magnificent flames soaring above us, shows a crazy swerving shot of the inside of the car, as Woocash swings her around and out of harms way. Darn it.

We wait to make sure Emma and Mike get through safely. The fire swiftly dies down and makes a fool of our concern.







Number of Days: 46

Total distance run by Emma: 2022 km, 1256 miles

Daily average distance run by Emma (including rest days): 44.0 km, 27.3 miles

Distance run today: 57.60 km, 35.77 miles