“So close you can almost taste it” Natasha Bedingfield’s words have never felt so appropriate. Emma is days away from finishing. We are maybe 250km from the coast.
The first sign Emma is ill is at the end of day 84. Emma is in tears when we arrive to collect her and Robert in Balanga. We don’t know what is wrong. Robert is worried that it is something he has done or not done whilst he was cycling in support. Mike, being closest to Emma, takes responsibility for her care. Emma goes to bed without eating.
I know its possibly wrong to be thinking this at this moment, but as Emma was ill, she wanted to sleep in the Roof Tent, which has a comfier mattress in it. This meant Woocash and I slept in Mike’s tent. We couldn’t squash Robert in too. Its okay though, there was no rain that night so we put up the extension tent for him. Back in the tent, I couldn’t sleep for looking up at the stars, the bright sparkling sheer number of them across the sky was excitingly beautiful.
Due to not being able to camp where Emma stopped, Emma has a shorter nights rest than usual and has to be up at 3.20am so that we can drive her back ready to start running at dawn. Mike swops with Robert and goes on the bicycle. We are all hugely concerned especially as she has not had any food.
That day Emma ran a whopping 59km whilst ill.
At the end of the day, Mike calls us as Emma has gone as far as she can. She’s very tired and isn’t speaking again when we pick her up from the centre of Montepuez.
Robert, Woocash and I have found a beautiful Mission with extensive grounds, 6km out of town. The Padre has said that we can stay. We assure him we will be gone by the next morning.
We rise at 3.45 am but Emma says she cannot run that day. She has had to go to the toilet throughout the night and has barely slept. Emma has been ill before but this is the worst I have seen her yet. It’s a relief that this time she has chosen to rest. She is frustrated.
Yet again, I am struck by the timing. For the last 9 days we have been camping in the bush where we have to dig our own toilets and risk wild animals if we need to get up in the night. But here Emma can rest more easily. Its not perfect for a poorly Emma. Snakes and scorpions can still be present at night and the toilet, although pre dug, is a drop toilet. There is however, a place to shower and hand wash clothes. And solid shade on clean concrete around the sides of the building. It is an oasis from the dirt and humidity of the road. It feels like someone is looking after us again.
Having made sure Emma and Mike have everything they need and can call us in an emergency, we head to Montepuez for much needed fresh food and supplies.
Day 84 distance run: 66.22 km, 41.14 miles
Day 85 distance run: 58.85 km, 36.56 miles
Number of Days: 85
Total distance run by Emma: 3765 km, 2339 miles
Daily average distance run by Emma (including rest days): 44.3 km, 27.5 miles