How-do readers! Sam again, weekend is here, it’s time for a progress report on the further adventures of Frodo the running hobbit!
The Journey So Far.
When last I left off, Dan was enjoying the sea and sun while making his way along the coast of Cornwall. That was 6 days ago. Suffice it to say; significant progress has been made since.
Arriving in Exeter shortly after my last post, he is now well on the way to Heresford (if not there already, estimates based on social media statuses can be somewhat difficult to pinpoint sometimes) now, a quick check on Google maps estimates that stint alone to be over 130mi long, impressive as that may be; that’s the shortest route possible – when you take into consideration our runner’s uncanny talent for finding what most of his followers have now come to refer to as “Dan-Shortcuts” this Google estimate can be rendered somewhat redundant, as shown by my mock diagram below.
Having spoken to Dan the other night, my main curiosity lay in how he was surviving the nights, after all, hobbits need sleep too. It would appear he had some stories to tell.
The nights spent sofa-crashing with friends and relatives have proven to be very hospitable and he had nothing but good things to say about everyone he’s stayed with thus far, but not every night has been quite so.. Comfortable it would seem, his experiences in camping have been somewhat entertaining (from my perspective at least).
The first venture into wilderness survival took place in a thickly wooded area, now, on the surface that sounds like the ideal setting; a very rustic, satisfying night’s sleep under the stars and sheltered by the protective arms of the local Ents trees. In reality however, those trees proved to be more invasive than protective, it would appear that there was no room to completely put up the tent and it became mostly a mess of canvas draped over the local surroundings to form a crude resemblance of a functional shelter, enough to keep the rain at bay; but not the cold – and it was cold that night.
Again, from my perspective; hilarious. Somewhat less-so for the unhappy camper himself though.
The next uncomfortable experiment camping in retrospect could probably have been avoided with a little extra effort in finding a spot to set up camp beforehand. It’s almost like he’s not learned anything from all those family camping holidays; always look for flat ground before raising your tent for the night!
Nope, clearly not a man who chooses to follow this method, it appears Dan’s rebellious side was determined that a good night’s sleep could still be found on a slope… So naturally, that night was spent curled up in a ball at the far end of the tent.
“I did not account for the slidiness of tents at the time.” Dan Mayers 2014
The final tale of his camping exploits so far happened during another cold night on the side of a road nearby a local farm; the kind soul of a farmer had actually come out and offered a well-deserved sit down inside and a cuppa-Joe to boot, but after covering some 60 miles + that day, it would appear the favoured option at this point was just to put feet up and get some rest, with the intent of thanking the farmer for his offered hospitality the next day, unfortunately he was not seen the following morning and with a schedule to keep, our runner had to set off on route again. So, I think I speak for all of Dan’s followers in expressing gratitude to this mystery farmer on Dan’s behalf.
Of course, camping aside, I think the most interesting story I acquired from speaking to him was from when he hit the wall.
Now, the wall is something most runners have had experience with in their time, and it is a phenomenon not completely unbeknownst to Dan either, however it seemed particularly difficult to break through on this occasion. The wall appeared some 10 miles from Bristol with his planned accommodation a further 5 miles into Bristol its self.
I know Dan’s faced some tough challenges on his adventures to date, but this and I quote
“Was the toughest moment I’ve faced as a runner so far.”
Which is quite a powerful thought and it really puts this whole event into perspective.
Without the generous gift acquired from a local organic baker in Somerset (picture below) there were serious concerns that he might not have made it through Bristol – certainly not without locating a last minute camping spot for an emergency night’s sleep and a significant alteration to the schedule.