As a child I loved swimming and snorkling in the Adriatic sea in Croatia when we used to go there on holidays with my grandparents. After so many years, it was a very nice experience to spend the New Year’s holidays of 2014/15 on the spectacular Croation coast together with our team, including friends and a number of English Channel girls and boys from literally all over the world – New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Brazil, Guatemala, Europe… Meditation, swimming (outside temps down to below freezing for a few days, water around 14°C), running along the scenic coast, Peace Run activities in Dubrovnik (UNESCO world heritage) and at the Ston Walls as part of local races, a Song of the Souls concert and lots of fun activities like a swim-run, a treasure hunt and some sightseeing made this holiday quite memorable. Apart from a few rainy and quite stormy days we were blessed with lots of sunshine and calm seas. (We were actually unable to land in windy Dubrovnik even after couple of attempts by the pilot – left and right of me people were using their sickness bags, but I felt fine and protected, surprisingly, with a handful of other teammembers on board. So we had to be diverted to Split, which resulted in a special 3 hour bus trip around midnight down along the moonlit coast to our hotel in Orasac.)
The run-swim (it was too cold to start with the swim and run in wet clothes) at the end of our stay was such great fun – people were even allowed to walk in the water just to get as many as possible to participate. The more adventurous and hardened swimmers chose the long course out to the other beach and back. For quite a few it was pure self-transcendence to get into the chilly water – but they ended up loving it!
Here a few more impressions:
Teammate Angikar Sasa Djordjevic (43), first EC soloist from Serbia in 2010, just finished his 2nd English Channel swim in 18 h 41 min – faster than his 2010 solo. He is now being delivered to Calais for some well-deserved rest before he will get on his bike on Sunday morning. (See his swim route on the left.)
Otto Thaning, new EC age record at 73 (photo credit twitter Lewis Pugh)
Just a bit earlier today a new age record was established: 73 year old heart surgeon Dr. Otto Thaning from South Africa became the eldest English Channel swimmer – breaking the old record by about 3 years in 12 hours 52 min (Otto was scheduled to swim in 2012 at age 72 but the weather did not cooperate then. It is amazing and extremely inspiring to see him come back to fulfil his dream!). The breaststroke swimmer Tony Baley with Anastasia is also heading towards Calais – but still swimming (after 20 hours!). He finally finished after 25 h 56 min!
Victory flags are flying at Varne Ridge
– the Serbian flag for Angikar and the South African flag for age record breaker Otto Thaning, in front of one of the rows of successful Channel swim plaques. Such a special service by Dave and Evelyn at such a special place for Channel swimmers and aspirants – thanks so much!
Update Monday, 8th: As of Monday, Angikar has passed Brussels and covered over 1/3 of his bike route. They had some logistical problems and he took some more rest. Expected to reach Aachen tonight.
Angikar`s planned Dover-Heidelberg Channel Triathlon route – on his bike leg right now (Sunday, Sept. 7)
Update Wednesday, 10th: He finished biking in Bingen late last night and started running at 2:30 a.m. this morning. One Serbian helper had to leave, but now a local helper from Heidelberg ist also with him. At 10:30 p.m. he still has 50 km to go. But the weather is fine and there is a beautiful full moon. Slow and steady wins the race! He will finish on Sept. 11th – the anniversary day of my first EC-triathlon attempt in 2008, when I was pulled out of the water hypothermic. And his start on Sept. 6th was the finish day of my shorter EC triathon Dover-Aachen in 2010. Things are evolving very nicely!
He told me he is carrying the Peace Torch (previously World Harmony Torch) with him and is dedicating every stroke, pedal and step of his “Self-Transcendence Challenge” to peace and the European Peace Run 2014, which will end in the capital of his country, Serbia/Belgrade, on Oct. 7/8th.
Also, he will be able to write a book just about the challenges leading up to the start, and another one about the various challenges en route – like locking up the bikes during van-dinner, misplacing the key and calling the police etc.
Angikar and Peace Torch in 2010 at the start of his 1st EC solo
What gives life its value,
If not its inner cry
– Sri Chinmoy
After swimming to Africa (Gibraltar Straits) in Oct. 2012 and some more Peace Run activites this summer in Europe (UK and Germany), it felt like the time for me to finally join Peace Run Africa, which will be converging from the north, south and central Africa in Arusha on Nov. 6th. Starting Nov. 8th, a mixed very international team will then carry the torch up Mount Kilimanjaro, hopefully all the way up to Uhuru Peak – to the highest point in Africa (5895 m)! I am sooo excited!!! Summit day will be the 12th. Support prayers welcome!
I am aware of the danger of altitude sickness, especially with a short 6 day tour (Marangu route), and we will respect any serious signs of that. However, my father did it (still a smoker at that time) when he was 3 years older than I am now, also Marangu route – so there is hope! Last night watched the DVD “Kilimanjaro – Summit of Freedom” (German, “Gipfel der Freiheit”) – very inspiring and great for some last inner and outer preparation!
I am bringing my Peace Torch from Heidelberg – so the school kids will be even more excited next time, when Africa has been added!
Another highlight or our trip was going to be our visit to Tegla Loroupe and her Peace Foundation and her to her Peace School in Kapenguria, Kenia, which we have been supporting for many years – but for several reasons, the Kenia part was cancelled for now, we will go there later. Peace Run South Africa and Ethiopia are on their way.
Here some impressions from the Peace Run/Harmony Run of the past:
More on: www.peacerun.org/fa
→ Interesting facts on Mt. Kilimanjaro