I wasn’t sure if India might finish me before I finished her…
To say this leg of my journey was difficult was an understatement. I started on the beach in the world’s largest city, Mumbai, and fought my way out of the 13 million inhabitants, most of which seemed to be on the roads. At one cross roads I counted the waiting vehicles; there were 23 stretching across the width of the road. It was scary; running through traffic like this took so much concentration which left me mentally drained before I had a chance to tire physically. I counted between three to four squashed snakes on the road every day; I didn’t want the same fate as them, one of the reasons why camping in India wasn’t an option.
As I left the city and made my way into the more rural parts of India, I was eaten alive by the mosquitos, I counted 187 mosquito bites on me in 38 hours but it was the soaring temperatures that finally got the better of me. I ran over 350 miles of India successfully in temperatures between 31 and 36 degrees, only suffering with mild heatstroke. This I managed, and even took the opportunity to use my Blue Peter skills by adding shade to my buggy in the form of a parasol. However, it wasn’t long before the temperatures rose to an unbearable 38-40 degrees in the shade, it was relentless, extremely humid and it barely cooled down much at night. This was when I was faced with severe heat exhaustion. I felt sick, confused and very weak.
This set me back two days, I had no choice but to lie under a fan, with a sheet soaked in cold water on me to try and cool my body temperature down. At this point I took the decision to start running through the slightly cooler nights. It took some adjusting to but I literally had no choice.
My time in India was a week longer than the four weeks I had allowed to run across it. Following my two days off with heat exhaustion, I ended up being stranded in the same village for a further three days as I wasn’t able to withdraw any money from the bank. I never carry that much cash on me because it is dangerous, so the morning I had planned to leave, I went to the bank to withdraw money to pay for my lodging only to find it was a public holiday! Having queued for 45 minutes only to be told they were limiting cash withdrawals to approximately £10 per person, I was none too pleased. This meant another day waiting. I returned the following day only to be faced with the bank being closed again as their workers were on strike, once again I had no choice but to stay put as I couldn’t pay for my room. I was itching to get going again and in the back of my mind I knew it was a race against time as I had a flight booked from Chennai to Perth that I couldn’t miss!