Jackie Chan!

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Good morning folks

I trust you had a mightily fine weekend and this finds you in sterling form.
Here is your weekly wrap/round/roll-up of the week in Lima, a city where chaos is right at home.

A steady week, nothing bonkers, bar the majority of punters…

The last weekend of October/start of November always make me think of 3 things:

1) My Dad’s birthday.

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2) The Melbourne Cup (happy memories of 2004!)

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3) The KIMM (Karrimor International Mountain Marathon)

OMM runners will head to the Tweedsmuir Hills for the 2015 event(Image courtesy of Grough).

 

What is a Mountain Marathon?

What is a marathon to start with? I hear people say they ran a (5km) marathon at the weekend.

Technically a marathon is 26-&-a-bit miles (or 42-and-a-tiny-bit kilometres).

However, a mountain marathon is different.omm

It normally refers to a 2-day event where you have to run over the fells, carrying all your gear, food and clothes (two days running and an overnight camp), in pairs, navigating from checkpoint to checkpoint, in a location that is kept secret until the last minute (to prevent recces/gaining any advantages beforehand).

The LAMM (Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon) held in June in Scotland was my favourite. The location being revealed just one day before. Then the organisers would take you to another place by bus/boat/train. I ran it 3 times (with different partners) and loved it.

The KIMM (now called the OMM: Original Mountain Marathon) was a different story…

Held on the weekend the clocks go back, a bit bigger the LAMM and with worse weather, a bit of a serious challenge.

It’s a cross between running, orienteering, mountaineering, camping, heavily tinged with pain and suffering!

As you have to carry all your gear, it’s obviously easier to have lightweight gear, but fickle autumn weather can be cruel, so if you’re skimping it you are going to suffer, especially at the overnight camp, on a night when you really don’t want an extra hour of night!

At the start you’re given a map and a list of grid references (map and compass, pre-GPS!)

I scrimped and saved and bought what was the lightest tent at the time. A French-made “Sup-air” something between a pale blue parachute, a crisp packet and a wind tunnel, weighing in at around 800g. Food was usually a Beanfeast, supernoodles, porridge, flapjack, chewy bars, tea that tastes like coffee/coffee that tastes like tea! Clothing was the lightest you could get away with.

The 2000 KIMM was in the Lakes, my home turf, but not my home patch. My mate Les and I had entered the “A” class (one below Elite) and bit off more than we could chew. I’d been faffing around trying to get my pack as light as possible and inadvertently had replaced my jacket with a pair of salopettes (thinking I’d packed a heavier, but more waterproof-waterproof).

On arrival at the top of Black Combe in a storm I pulled out my leggings and then another pair of leggings, NO JACKET!!!!

blackcombefromwestshoreBlack Combe looking moody and broody, it always does! (Pic courtesy of DPphotographer.co.uk)

I cut a headhole and two armholes out of a Leeds City Council binbag and forced on…

Never in my life have I seen/felt rain like that day. We were out late, well past darkness and still looking for the final checkpoint somewhere on Harter Fell, but alas, it wasn’t found so we were automatically disqualified, but still had to endure the overnight camp, which was a swamp by the time we arrived, with any sheltered pitches long gone. It was an endless night and we trudged back to the start the next day, blisters, chafing and all.

borrowdae(Pic courtesy of OMM)

But, as soon as the photos pop up on the website, you forget all the pain, suffering and misery and enter the next year! The things we do for fun :-)

Nothing like that exists out here (yet), but I already have a goal for 2017.

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El Misti is a 5825m (19,111ft) volcano in Arequipa, Southern Peru. I saw it once in 2004 and promised myself to run up it one day. I can’t get time off work this year, but it’s on the calendar for 2017 :-)

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Halloween and Dia de los Muertos.

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Monday was of course scary night (followed by a Bank Holiday on Tuesday for “Dia de los Muertos”, think of the start of James Bond “Spectre”).

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At work they threw a small party for the nippers of the teachers. As I work in a small centre there were only 4 kids, and then 2 of them couldn’t make it, so it was just Valentina and a young Count Dracula.

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They went trick-or-treating round the classrooms and did quite well in the sweets stakes. The Little One loves a fiesta, but always thinks that there will be another fiesta the next day!

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Tremors…

Last week (and the week afore) there were several tremors here, one of the largest (4.8 on the Richter scale) did worry me a bit. Nature is in charge and it is a reminder of this fact.

As movements like this aren’t common in Blighty it always takes a moment to actually realise what is going on: A deep rumbling, dogs howling, the flat moving, pots shaking in the kitchen and the Nipper saying “My bed is moving!” (Tremors here send the seasons potty, so now summer will probably start a month or two later!)

Due to the movement between (the Nasca and South American) tectonic plates, tremors and earthquakes are always a danger here.

As recently as 2007, 595 people were killed in the region of Ica (4hrs south of Lima) and the 1970 Ancash earthquake killed 70,000 people, burying the town of Yungay, as a flank of the highest mountain in Peru (Huasacaran Norte) was detached by the earthquake causing a catastrophic avalanche/landslide. The town still lays buried to this day

Nowadys the authorities put out occasional messages to the public to “be prepared” and to have an emergency rucksack ready. Some clothes, water, food, basic stuff, in a bag which you could grab and run with. It makes sense (if you were at home, in the middle of the night, in bed, wearing just your grundies!)

Or so I thought…

I mentioned this to a few folk and was either laughed at, or shot down in flames.
“Waste of time” was the general response.

My own personal view is that if (and I hope it never does) a big earthquake hit Lima, it would descend into complete chaos (more than now). Nobody would help each other, and so a pair of my size 13s, a jumper, a tin of tuna and nappies for the nipper, in a backpack would come in useful. Hopefully I’ll never have to test my theory.

A neet oot.

There are times when a night of irresponsible drinking is in order!
Things have been a bit fraught of late and not a lot has been going to plan, so the prospect of a session with my mates here was an unmissable opportunity…

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The venue was Miraflores (look at the flowers) and it entailed a quick 1hr hop across town.
A combi with a modified door, which would be best described as trying to get into a moving rabbit hutch or a doll’s house, for my lanky self. A baby asleep across the two front seats, oblivious to the ear-splitting reggaeton around him. Then a re-enactment of “World War Z” whilst trying to get on the Metropolitano. Then swimming against the tide to get off (people getting on don’t let you out). I arrived ready for a pint…

Our regular haunt, Houlihan’s, is having a facelift, so it was to a rather kitsch French bar next door. Crimson flocked wallpaper gave it the ambience of a bygone Soho drinking den crossed with a curry house, but it was happy hour :-)

From there on to a swanky and overpriced bar  (s/16 or £4 in old money) for a 330ml bottle of Cusqueña, with the world’s slowest/slackest service) and then we beat a hasty retreat to a superb little cantina with the best service ever!

An enthusiastic and amiable barman/waiter who kept everybody watered and had a look of a young Jackie Chan. Cheap beer too :-)

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(Pic courtesy of James B)

All good things have to come to an end (2am-ish) and despite the mention of “Barranco” (my favourite part of town, discotheques until dawn), I had the world’s angriest taxista race me home in record time. We got snarled up in a traffic jam and he got out at one  point to give a piece of his mind to a bus driver, tranquilo chico!

Needless to say Sunday was a day spent mostly suffering…

And finally…

I love films and the cinema, we used to go every week (pre-bairn days), but that has changed.
One of my top three films of all time was “Trainspotting”. The mid-90′s were very, very heady days. A good time to be young. Although I never was tempted to try heroin (!) the film struck a lot of chords and the acting was equalled in brilliance by the soundtrack.

Trainspotting-Poster

(I even sent off my cheque for £6.50 to Carlton Athletic Recovery Group for a Trainspotting poster to grace the living room wall of my gaff in sunny Harehills, Leeds 8).

Danny Boyle is a genius. Shallow Grave, Sunshine, Trance, 28 days later, 127 hours to list but a few. The trailer for “Trainspotting 2″  was released this week and it looks like it has been worth waiting 20 years for the sequel!

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Here’s the TRAILER, roll on 2017 :-)

Remember though, just say no!

That’s all for now folks…

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Have an awesomely superb week.

Johnny, Lina and the Nipper

 

 

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