Just briefly – full story to come:
After my successful second Channel swim (non-wetsuit!) on Sept 3rd (16 h 50) – 25 years after my first one –
and some rest we made it from Calais via Brussels to Aachen (arrived Monday, 6th, afternoon) – about 300 km or more biking (some detours) and 2 marathons and are safe and happy back home in Heidelberg. It was easier than expected (or feared) but took a bit longer for several reasons. A great event, though, and a great training experience for the final big one before my 60th birthday, hopefully!
Here some impressions:
with Mareike at Oye-Plage past Calais on the way to Gravelines
Hondschoote near the Belgian border
at the Peace Tree in the Leopolds Park at the European Parliament in Brussels
Start of the 85 run behind Tienen, 60 km behind Brussels, after about 3 hours of rest
First marathon done! I cannot believe how easy it feels!
Run-walking into Vaals
End of Vaals Netherlands - beginning of Germany!
I had not intended to carry the World Harmony Run torch all the way through the city to the Europe Square (Europaplatz), but my friends made me
"Dead" between the "WELCOME" flowers at Europaplatz
The last leg: driving back to Heidelberg
Collateral damage (without the blisters the whole thing would have felt unreal - too easy, no other pain at all!)
Many thanks are also going to my friends at the WAVES Restaurant in Heidelberg for their superb vegetarian food, and to Europcar Heidelberg, Mr. Plitzko, wo was extremely helpful again in providing us with a support van.
‘The fullness of life lies in dreaming and manifesting the impossible dreams.” – Sri Chinmoy
Fotos of the swim
Link to all reports of September 2010
Some weekends in June left little room for swimming – such as the weekend of June 13th/14th (where Germany won 4:0 against Australia!), where I was in charge of the World Harmony Run route between Bingen and Trier.
One of my favourite projects, to which I am also dedicating my swimming and triathlon, this year in support of UNESCO and the International Year of the Rapprochement of Cultures.
Sister Christophora, running from the monastery of St. Hildegard of Bingen to the Germania
We had a very inspiring meeting with the nuns of the famous monastery of St. Hildegard of Bingen, where the artist nun ran with our team and carried the torch to the Germania monument (Niederwalddenkmal), while I was walking the distance with a 86 year old nun, who was told by a doctor 6 years ago that she will have to be in a wheelchair soon. So now she has two new and very effective doctors, she says: her left leg and her right leg. Here she is – beaming (her name, sister Candida, means the one radiant with light):
Sister Candida, monastery of St. Hildegard of Bingen, with the UNESCO-emblem in the back
In the evening we stayed in sponsored hotel rooms overlooking Bad Kreuznach and watched an amazing soccer play. Next day we met over 700 school kids in 4 schools along the route to Trier (city of lots of UNESCO sites) and Luxemburg.
Satellite tracker of our pilot boat Anastasia, 4 person relay Sept. 30th
International 4 person relay
We did it! Finishing time 13 hours 21 min. (1 min. slower than our 6-person relay in 1989) on a sandy beach in silver moonlight just off Wissant. A great team effort with lots of grace and a bit of drama: during her second hour Zuzka looked absolutely miserable like she was going to die, eyes pleading ‘take me out here’, trying to swim hard and not able to breathe properly any more. ‘Marylin Bell’ was one of the mantras that would help her do lots better the third time.
I was so happy to be the last swimmer and touch French ground again (after last years experience) and the last couple of hours took me back again to my solo in 1985 where I landed almost at the exact same place in similar conditions – calm, peaceful night, not cold at all, starry sky, but this time with a flood of silver light from an almost full moon.
Viktoria, who has swum in Iceland in sub 10°C waters, came with Dave on the dinghy and brought the World Harmony Run torch to the beach. Last year I only held it at my start in Dover ! We quickly took some photos with the two of us holding the flaming torch, grabbed some pepples or rather sea shells and hurried back. On the way back to the pilot boat, the dinghy almost went under with our weight and I had to swim back to the boat, this time against the waves. It seemed as if someone up there wanted to tell me the relay was definitely not the end of the story …
Abhejali swimming into the light
On French sands with the World Harmony Run torch (Viktoria took it on the dinghy and brought it to the shore)
Back in Dover Marina - Eddie, our pilot, his crew, observer Irene and the relay team
The flags are flying from the Ridge: Czech Republic (Zuzka and Abhejali), Germany (Vasanti) and Iceland (Viktoria)
More details and photos to follow on this webalbum.
For fotos of the World Harmony Run visiting schools in Dover in June this year click here.