Run Across Haiti Day 6 – rest day/trip to Menelas

Today’s been pretty emotional. After sleeping in until just before six :-/, we had a leisurely morning of good coffee and then breakfast. We soon piled into the bus and vans to Menelas, the community Work supports.

We actually started in the community of Truitier near (in?) the landfill near Menelas, where plastic bottles are recovered and turned into fabric by Threads, Works sister company.

Viv took some time to explain the history of work and some of the programs they offer.

Two thousand people live Truitier in/near the landfill. And this is Haiti’s only landfill, which explains why we’ve seen so much trash everywhere – there just aren’t any trash services.

Here are some of the recovered bottles. Besides Threads, HP buys the recycled plastic for ink cartridges.

These are some of the homes either on the landfill property or right next to it:

The community came out and knows why we are there and spent time with us:

Right across from the landfill, Work is helping to build this classroom to help support the community:

From there we drove the few minutes to Menelas, where we got to see the home of Giordani and meet his family. He took the time to explain how Work has helped him. He will graduate this year and become a tap tap driver. He used the money he earned on last year’s run to build a new foundation next to his current sheet metal home, which currently sleeps 11!

This shows the tight quarters:

This shows his home, bathroom, and the new foundation:

After that, we went to the local school, went to the roof, and were able to see the entire area, which gives a sense of the scale. Rather than look at the problem of poverty and say it’s just too big to solve, Work solves the problem one family at a time in the community they have chosen to support.

Before we left, each runner and crew was given a pin from someone Work supports, in the outline of Haiti, with our running route marked, and a heart over Menelas.

Tomorrow we start early for what looks to be a tough 28 – we drove all of it today on the way to Menalus. Then we’ll have about 12-13 hours at a guest house, before we take off on the final 52 at midnight.

Photos from Duy Nugyen:

Run Across Haiti Day 5

Today was another 5 a.m. start, with 20 miles of rolling pavement (and sun after ~ 7:30!), but the destination is something we’ve all been looking forward to – the resort Wahoo Bay! That, and the fact that tomorrow is our one rest day. Much needed for all of us.

I started at my usual conservative pace, coming in to the 10k near a large group. From there we started to spread out, and I ended up on my own for most of the day. From around mile 13-14 on, I really felt a lot of fatigue in my legs. Expected after 100+ miles over 5 days! I finished in a little over three hours.

I didn’t take quite as many photos today, but here they are.

(Insert video of me finishing)

(Insert video of Ange finishing)

 

Here are some shots of the resort. I’m sure I’ll take more later and will updated this post then.

This is the first hotel where I’ve actually seen other guests. The beauty and cleanliness of this area shows how much potential all of Haiti could have with the right economic development, clean up, etc.

Shots added later, some Duy Nugyen, some me.

Run Across Haiti Day 4

Haiti Day 4

We all knew today would be tough. Thirty four miles, mostly exposed once the sun came up, and extremely hot. By the end, I was calling it “trail runners hell” — 34 miles of pavement in the sun, with one small hill, having to dodge and avoid cars/motos most of the way, especially in the busy towns.

I ran the first 10k with Josh, and we talked music and HRCA and many other things.

I spotted a couple of abandoned wrecked cars, hoping this wasn’t a sign of future carnage on today’s run for the team.

At the 10k, I picked up with Jalyen and Jacque for a few shared miles. I saw this cemetery which reminded me of the one Kelly and I saw in Barcelona.

And also this mural on a random wall.

At the 15k, I picked up with Dan and Ozzie and we shared at least fifteen miles running in a strong pace line. This section was the infamous rice paddies, which truly seems to go on forever. And this is when it started to get really hot – still with 30k to go!

Long and flat and straight and hot:

The three of us eventually separated, with Dan in front, then me, then Ozzie.

Here I am at the top of the lone hill around mile 29:

The town was pretty busy and I found myself walking some – but I might have used the busyness as an excuse! I was so ready to be done! After about 3 miles in town, I got to the finish where Dan, Matt, and Jase had come through ~10-12 minutes before me.

I sat in the gutter and immediately these guys came out to say hello:

Jase and I opted for omelettes and fries, which took a long time to come out, but they hit the spot!

We are in a pretty nice hotel, and like most of the hotels we’ve stayed in so far, we seem to be the only guests! We are able to climb the 4 floors to the roof for this view:

Tomorrow is another 20 miles, when we reach Wahoo Bay, which I’ve heard is really nice. We’ll then have a rest day from running, but we will go in to Menalus to meet the some of the families that Work is supporting.

Photos from Duy Nugyen:

Run Across Haiti Day 3

Today was another 5 a.m. start with a 20 mile rolling net downhill in front of us. I tried to take it out easy and for the most part succeeded. At least I felt easy, but many of the miles were 8:15-8:30. We were soon greeted by the sun and some beautiful vistas.

I saw this mountain top prayer spot. A woman was climbing it and singing. I’m not sure how much of her voice will come through on the video.

We reached a smaller town and this was the first time I’ve seen more children in school uniforms. But then again it is a Monday. However, in much of the rural communities I’m sure not many children are able to go to school.

I had picked it up a bit around mile 10 and came up on Ozzie, Jaylen, and Jacque, around mile 15, and jumped in line for the madness that was to come. We had about 4-5 miles of intense traffic and the moto, bike, car, and people dodging that comes with. Ozzie was dropping some sub 7:30s in, but I wanted to stick with the group as that’s the safest.

We had crew direct us for a few turns which was much needed – there was no way we would have made it otherwise. The four of us eventually came up on Jase, Matt, and Dan, as they hadn’t found the finish. I called Viv as the others took off down the road, and she confirmed that we were heading in the right direction and it wasn’t much further, so I took off after them and a few minutes later we were done.

I’m hoping that today’s effort at the end doesn’t hurt too much tomorrow, which is a ~34 mile day! It will be very hot. :-/

The hotel rooms weren’t quite ready, and this is what all the bags look like piled up.

Now it’s time to relax and recover. Tomorrow is a long long day.

Photos from Duy Nugyen:

Run Across Haiti day 2

Alarms started going off around me at 3:30 a.m., but some people were already stirring a few minutes before that. I had hoped to make it closer to 4, but with all the commotion that wasn’t happening, so I just got up, got dressed, and packed.

We gathered for some final logistics and hit the road.

(I have a good video to insert here once we finally get better coverage, of some Haitians running with us and singing!)

Today was simple — 7-8 miles up, and 5-6 down. We started at 5 so it was dark for a while, but when the sun came up we had some amazing views.

Today was much less crazy with traffic than yesterday!

I settled into a run walk combo on the climb, thinking about the many miles in front of us. And when I hit the down, I was conscious not to go too hard so I wouldn’t crush my quads for the rest of the week.

Here I am with Brittany — a fellow SWAP member (Some Word All Play – runner’s coached by either David or Megan Roche). We both wore our SWAP gear today.

The hotel we are at today is very nice, which is great because I was done just after 7. There are a couple of pools and separate buildings — more like an apartment complex or a resort. It is a little weird as this town is very small town that’s in the middle of no where. All I can figure is they do some kind of retreats here??

A few of us walked into town and then on to a museum, where we met most of the rest of the group.

The walk actually took us through a very nice (by Haitian standards) neighborhood.

The museum was for Toussaint, who led the revolution of Haitian slaves against the French.

I opted to hop in the back of the pickup for the ride back to the hotel rather than walk it again.

Now we are back at the hotel, will have dinner soon, and get to bed early again as we run roughly 20 miles tomorrow.

More photos from Duy Nugyen:

Run Across Haiti day 1

Strava stats:  32.5 miles, 2400′ climb

Day one is in the books.  34 miles, maybe 3000 feet of climb mostly at the end.   I’m guessing the GPS tracked a bit short so this is probably accurate.

One word for today: INTENSE!

Wow, that was crazy. The first mile was calm, but as soon as we turned off the coast into Cap Haitian… cars and people and motorcycles.

And the motorcycles were INSANE! Sometimes 4 people plus all their wares for the market for the day. The motorcycles never let up. They would swerve at you quite often if you were on the road. And sometimes you had to be – there were no shoulders!

Here’s a video I took when I made it through the madness:

And another that Joe took:

Also, I had assumed that with a 34 mile run, we’d leave the city and hit some rural sections. And while there were less people later on, there were actually homes the entire way. (Homes is being a bit generous to many of them.)

We passed through a couple of smaller towns and market areas that were INTENSE.

Here are my favorite shots from the day. I didn’t take many of the people – didn’t want to intrude.  But you can see both the natural beauty and the poverty and chaos.

Here’s one the race crew took of me:

I came upon this amazing church hymn:

 

Families washing their clothes in the river:

(Some of those are out of order!)

We stayed at a huge open air school house for the rest of the day. A lot of locals came and hang out – we had a soccer game (I chose not to play – last time I played I lost an ankle!)

We were all in bed by 7:30. Up a little before 4 tomorrow!

Here are a few from Guy Nugyen…

 

Haiti reading list

The #roadtohaiti has not only been traveled on foot (training!).   I’ve also been reading a lot.  From Mountains Beyond Mountains, the book that helped define my “Why” for this adventure, to “Haiti After the Earthquake,” and now “The Big Truck that Went By,” I have learned so much about this little island country and its difficult and troubled past.  I can’t wait to arrive this Friday and soak it all in.