D. Thompson's Run the World Challenge - 17. Zambia


 This is the blog entry for GSN founding partner Dan Thompson’s 17th Run The World Challenge run, in Livingstone, Zambia.

It's day 5 so it must, I presume, be Livingstone.

I’m here because Livingstone (in Zambia) sits at the confluence of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. In other words, Luke ‘the ever patient travel agent’ and I figured I might be able to 4 countries cost-effectively from Livingstone.
One of my pet hates is the transfer from the airport when you land in a new country. You’re usually tired from the travel and not sure where you’re going or how best to get there. So the visit starts well when I’m picked up at the airport by Laurent (proprietor of the delightful Tabonina Inn where I’m due to spend the next 4 nights – pic above.)
I remark to Laurent that Livingstone seems to be a pretty, well laid-out town and he tells me that all his visitors say that. In fact, everyone I meet seems to like Livingstone. There are also plenty of nearby attractions – Vic Falls, game reserves, rafting on the mighty Zambezi, and the omnipotent Dr Makusa (pic below) – a man’s best friend.
But I’m not here for any of that. I’m here to run.
My run round Livingstone starts slowly – 6min for the first km – as I try to run through my stiffness from the 4 previous runs. But perhaps because I’d had some sleep the night before, perhaps because I’d only had one flight in the day, perhaps because it was a cool evening, I started to speed up.
Whatever the reason the running was a lot easier than the horror show the day before in Swaziland and I recorded my fastest time in Africa – 52’53”. 4 minutes slower than my fastest overall to date (in Dubai) but still over a minute faster than I managed elsewhere in Africa.
In fact, apart from slipping on a mat outside a restaurant and going ‘a’ over ‘t’, it really wasn’t too painful.
The pain was reserved for that evening in the Armadillo bar as I watched Spurs lose 4-0 to Chelsea.
Spurs spent over 100 million pounds on players last summer and not one of them started the game against Chelsea. In effect, its last season’s team minus Gareth Bale. And we know that’s not good enough.
I’ve never felt so excited before a season and so humiliated during a season. What an extraordinary waste of money it was. Heads must roll etc. Right, Spurs rant over!
Let me finish with another football story which I think says everything about the friendliness of all the Zambians I met. On the final night, I went to a local pub with Saidi (on whom more later) and another couple from the Tabonina to watch the Champions League. The pub was standing room only but somehow three stools were found for us and, within minutes, we were all laughing and joking together – this time thankfully at Arsenal’s expense as Bayern eased them out of the competition.
Livingstone’s definitely right up there as one of my favourite Run the World destinations so far.
Date : 8th March, 2014
Time :  52’53” (Fastest run in southern Africa)
Total Distance Run to date : 170 km
You can read about D. Thompson’s other Run the World Challenge runs at http://www.greatestsportingnation.com/blog and on his Gold Challenge blog.