Day 12 – Florenville to Bertrix
Today was a very scenic route with lots of hills, mostly around the 500 metre mark, I feel like I’m getting to grips with it now and the training has certainly paid off. Getting fully into rural France now which is very exciting for me.
Day 13 – Bertrix to Thonnelle
A great day which started in the medium sized city of Bertrix, slow to begin with but once I got my rhythm back it was plain sailing. Me and Jude stopped for a coffee in a place that can only be described as creepy, I have photo and video evidence to prove it, let’s just say there were chickens and other animals in the dining area and many dead animals hanging on the walls!
Day 14 – Thonnelle to Forges Sur Meuse
This day was straight forward with average weather, the biggest thing was arriving at our hotel that evening to find it was the most unnerving place we had ever witnessed, I could only liken it to an old hospital that was used during the war and being so close to Verdun where 100,000’s were killed made it even worse, so much history here.
Day 15 – Forge Sur Meuse to Villers Sur Meuse
This start of week 3 and I feel amazing, blitzed this one with my second fastest time on the trip of 4hr 11mins, I also got to run through the historic city of Verdun, something I had been looking forward to for months, it did not disappoint me a single bit. I also had dinner there which consisted of Pasta Carbonara, Mexican ribs with potatoes and Chips, lovely, the locals thought I was mad! One thing I notice now is that it is nothing to do with fitness but all 100 per cent mental, I can run for 10 hours but whether I can do a marathon a day is all in my head. I know that I have the strength to do it now.
Day 16 – Villers Sur Meuse to Seichprey
Today was tougher, I find the adrenaline of a new support person and character makes the first day together fly by, the following day however sends me back into a place of being all to aware of how difficult this actually is. The day was good and I definitely was excited to be finally leaving that creepy hotel room, getting hotter now which is good for moral. A few miles from the end we visited an American war monument in Montsec, its on top of a hill and hand carved, it was one of the highlights so far and left us all speechless, if you read this I suggest you look it up online as it is stunning. The monument was built to honour the U.S. Of world was 1 and during the second world war a German sniper was on the hill and the Americans had to shell the monument, the damage is still there. That night we stayed at a B and B and the couple were so nice to us, the man Francois called the French national paper and he came for interviews the next day, very kind people.
Day 17 – Seichprey to Pont St Vincent
Another good day but tired mentally, it has been a tough couple of days getting up and going, the later start today did not help, I find it best to get moving early and bang out as many miles as possible, that way I’m not running in the afternoon so much, nearly the big 20, bring it on!
Day 18 – Pont St Vincent to Charmes
Started in a small place named Charmes, very beautiful around here, not much really happens I imagine but its a totally different way of life that I find refreshing. Had a minor error when I took a wrong turn and ended up 7k in the wrong direction, a long way when you’ve run 17 marathons!
Day 19 – Charmes to Amance
The goal was to get to Amance and managed without any trouble at all. We have stayed at a lovely house the last two days, elderly woman who was very kind, it was full of antiques, would loved to have the antique roadshow around to her place for an evaluation. I also had to ignore the people in the field opposite me firing off shotguns, hunting I assumed!
Day 20 – Amance to Rupt Sur Saone
Today was a fresh week and a new team member so again I was rejuvenated, the day was going well until I looked at the side of the road I was on and I kid you not there was a snake at least 3 feet long and 3 inches wide, I have never seen a snake before apart from in a zoo and I thought that in France you only had grass snakes but this was certainly not that. I considered a Steve Irwin style of move but instead gave it a wide berth. No more dramas today, number 20 done!
Day 21 – Rupt Sur Saone to Prantigny
Today was great, the hottest by far, good news is that I cannot imagine Spain being more that just a few degrees hotter so this is great acclimatisation for me. The day flew in with most of it being along cycle paths which means I can get my head down and zone out, not to much mind you as the river and scenery is totally amazing. I ran into a tiny village and I noticed a lady running towards me, I instantly grabbed one of my event flyers which was translated into French and handed it to the lady, she seemed amazed and I was even more amazed when I told her that I was from Edinburgh she told me that she had lived there for a year teaching at Mary Erskines school, I couldn’t believe it! Who would have thought in such a small part of France his girl lived in Edinburgh for a year, we could have been in the same bar, coffee shop and never have known it. Feeling great and I promise my blogs will be daily instead of in huge blocks, thanks for reading and please keep the donations coming in if you can. Visit http://www.runwithmark.com