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33 photos from a year running the World - Part 1

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Part 1: Running Central America, Volcanoes & falling foul of the Dreaded Dengue

It's been a year since I flew from London to Toronto and started a journey to explore the 'power of running'. I was hoping to meet people and organisations doing great things in running & sport for community development, as well as finding amazing places & races to run.

I thought it would be an appropriate time to look back and share a selection of images that document the experience so far. Partly because I appear to have forgotten large chunks of it.

Group photo at the start of Beach Strip parkrun on the shore of Lake Ontario

November 2017: Hamilton, ON, Canada

An overnight trip from Toronto to Hamilton to be up in time for Beach Strip parkrun on the shore of Lake Ontario and experience parkrun, Canada style.

Using a guide rope to wade through a river during Del Mar a La Cima

December 2017: Santa Marta, Colombia

Wading through a river during Del Mar a La Cima trail marathon. Mile after mile of relentless, impossible climbs, insanely technical descents and then once you're finally out of the jungle, a few miles along the beaches to sap the last drops of energy out of you.

Group photo at a 21korredores training session

December 2017: Bogotá, Colombia

Training with the awesome 21Korredores running crew at Parque El Virrey

Running along the walls of Cartagena Old Town, cityscape in the background

December 2017: Cartagena, Colombia

Running the walls of Cartagena old town, legs still heavy from Del Mar a La Cima.

Local children listen in during a talk before a running session in Cartagena, Colombia

December 2018: Cartagena, Colombia

My first coaching session of the trip! After discussions with teachers at a high school near the neighbourhood I was staying in, I offered a free, drop in 'running basics' session. It was also my first time attempting to coach in Spanish. Very much out of my comfort zone but had a friend to help me out when I got stuck.

Hurling a creek on Wizard Beach, Bocas del Toro

December 2017: Bastimentos Island, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Jungle trails, beaches and lots of rain over New Year in Bocas del Toro. Jumping a creek on Wizard Beach before the next shower came (and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes).

Standing by the sign at the top of Cerro Amigo, Monteverde

January 2018: Monteverde, Costa Rica

Running to the top of Cerro Amigos (1842m), a climb which included a 300m elevation rise in just 3km and literally ended up in the clouds above the rainforest. Then followed a bone juddering (but most fun) descent.

Team photo at the final training session on Ometepe

January 2018: Ometepe, Nicaragua

Somehow, whilst exploring the possibility of getting some running sessions going in the community, I ended up coaching the village football team. I would spend evenings learning football terms in Spanish and then forgetting them all the following day, resorting to me coaching in 'Spanglish'.

Running a trail that clings to the side of the volcano, a misty drop on the right hand side

January 2018: Ometepe, Nicaragua

Descending from the summit of Volcán Concepción in one of my most memorable trail runs ever.

Running old stone paths in Granada, the sun setting behind clouds at the rear

January 2018: Granada, Nicaragua

Waiting all day for the temperature to cool enough for a run and it still being 30°C at sunset.

Running the incline of Cerro Negro volcano, in the background, hills as far as the eye can see

February 2018: León, Nicaragua

Running Cerro Negro during a two day volcano hike and marvelling at the ridiculous views.

Group photo at a Quetzaltrekkers sports session in León, Nicaragua

February 2018: León, Nicaragua

Organising a sport session with 'Las Chavaladas', one of the local projects supported by Quetzaltrekkers, Leon.

Running alongside a chicken bus during a race in El Salvador

February 2018: Santa Ana, El Salvador

Running alongside heavy traffic on the way to 4th place at the 25km Ultra Mayaton Chalchuapa - the first event of it's kind in the area.

Running up Cerro de la Cruz in Antigua, views of the city and Volcán de Agua in the background

February 2018: Antigua, Guatemala

I had fallen ill on the way to Antigua but managed to drag myself up Cerro de la Cruz. Great views of the city and Volcán de Agua which looms high above it. I was back in bed 15 minutes after this photo was taken.

Running track session in Xela, the track is surrounded by volcanoes

March 2018 - Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala

Trying to push on with training when in Xela (7800ft above sea level) but I was fighting illness the entire time and starting to get the feeling it may be something a little more serious.

Lying on a hospital bed in Peten, Guatemala. Drip in arm.

March 2018 - Flores, Guatemala

Finally discovering why exercise had felt so God awful for several weeks. I ended up being admitted to hospital in Guatemala with Dengue Fever. Anyone who has ever been travelling alone and taken ill will know that this can be a scary experience.

If this selection of photos and ramblings from the journey has whet your appetite, the entire journey has been documented on Instagram (if that's your cup of tea).

In Part 2: recovery, a rush to make it to Boston, returning to Africa and taking on five Marathon Majors.

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