Who would have thought that mini toothpastes were an essential factor in Run Europe??My brain is completely consumed by the tiniest of details in finalising the plans for Run Europe. I can honestly say I didn’t anticipate just how much effort would be required.
First there are Kit Decision!
A huge amount of research, compromises and mind whirring around for months on kit choices. And yes I’m sad to say that when these arrived today I was very happy! I finally made decisions last weekend, thanks to the help of a great friend and sounding board. I’m very happy that after checking and rechecking the weight I have managed to fit a tent, cooking equipment, 3 days of food, drinking essentials, change of running clothes, camp clothes, waterproofs, sleeping bag and mat, Garmin In-reach Explorer, power charger and cables, medical kit and basic washing gear in at just over 7kg, with 2l of water I’m still well under 9kg. I started running with a 5.5kg bag this week and will slowly increase so my form and body get used to the extra weight and hopefully avoid injury on the run.
Then there are the Support Team Decisions!
Although this is a solo run and I am completing all the planning and organising myself, not to mention the run; we all need a helping hand. I’m not the best at asking for help, but I know there will be dark moments and times when I need a sounding board, encouragement. or advice. I need to have total trust in whoever I am contacting and there are also some practicalities such as the ‘drop bags’ that I need help with. So I’m very, very grateful to two friends, who have more experience (and possibly sense?) than me, who have agreed to provide support. Knowing that Kristian and Rupert are there if I need them is a huge comfort. I have insurance with Garmin InReach Explorer for total emergencies too.
Next there are ‘Drop Bags’
As I will be running over 6 wks I cannot carry 6 wks worth of food, medical supplies etc. So I have packed up ‘Drop Bags’ and these will be mailed to my rest day hotels in order to replenish key essentials and have a few items of clean clothing to wear on rest days which I will then leave behind. These drop bags are not critical but they will make it workable for me and I’m sure I will massively look forwards to each week. These include 2inch squares of bamboo facecloth, mini toothpastes, coconut oil pots, tiny bottles of sunscreen for each week. Although I could buy them en route, the weight would quickly build up.
Then there is the Route!
This has been an ongoing challenge for months and months and months. Tonight I have finally completed my spreadsheet with the start and finish for every day of the trip. Phew!! There is still a lot of detail to sort out but I know the order of events and most importantly I know the start and end points.
Week 1 July 20th Unfinished Business – ‘Unfinished’, because I will complete the Sauerland Waldroute that I had to leave due to sub zero temperatures last time. I will pick back up in Eversberg and follow the trails before heading north, finishing the week in Uestze, Hanover. I will enjoy a rest day being spoilt in Hamburg, by a very generous work colleague Gabi. Knowing I have a friendly face at the end of my first week is fantastic and takes a lot of pressure off, as if needs be I can reorganise with local support.
Week 2/3 July 27th Polish Discovery – Although I’m looking forwards to finishing crossing Germany, I am hugely excited about crossing the Polish border at the end of my second week as I reach Lubochow Gorny. I will continue through Poland towards the Baltic coast during week 3 crossing some incredible forest trails.
Week 4 August 10th Russian Roulette – This section needs some final planning but I will cross from Poland into the Russian outpost of Kallingrad at the end of Week 4. Its a little tricky due to the nature of my travels and visa requirements, but I will finalise this week and will be rewarded with some amazing coastlines by this point.
Week 5 August 17th Lithuania Birthday – As Lithuania celebrates its 100th year of Independence, I am celebrating my 50th birthday year, so I’ll be sure to find time to relax here. There are multiple Unesco World Heritage sites to run through, explore and wonder at.
Week 6 August 24th Latvia – My final week as I continue to run along the Baltic coast north towards a quiet beach town called Jurkaine in Latvia. This will be my final destination where I will rest and enjoy a couple of quiet days holiday, before travelling to Riga and back to the UK.
All together run Europe from Schiphol to Essen to Eversberg and now on through Germany, Poland, Kallingrad, Lithuania and Latvia will be approximately 2000k. I still have masses to do, finalising daily routes, campsites, wild camping locations, hostels, hotels, language cards, etc etc etc etc …
I leave in 25 days – Yikes!! Wish me luck!