Racing Frustration And Fascination In West Africa
The road to Guinea-Bissau was fraught with complications, heat and potholes, a breakdown, a forest fire and a gentleman who taught Butter how to sew a dress. Though the next day's run was hot and dusty, he crossed through a kind of "possibly Christian" parade where people hugged him, danced with him and sang in his face. Butter described the days as incredibly frustrating, but fascinating.
If Guinea-Bissau was difficult, it was at least interesting. Ivory Coast failed to impress Butter as much. He had hours of visa problems, and the run itself was just a razor-straight 13 mile road - 13 miles in, 13 miles back.
Guinea seemed to be just about one of the worst places to run a marathon - narrow streets overpopulated with people and animals, burning trash, sewage, dead animals, cars constantly honking at him and almost hitting him.
Sierra Leone seemed to be a huge relief as Butter spent the time with expats relaxing at beaches and local watering holes. On a more humanitarian note, he visited a children's hospital where a woman friend of his is a doctor. His marathon coincided with another one called Street Child where he ran with many expats. It was a welcome overcast and sprinkling day cooling it down. He helped a woman who skinned her knees as well as another one who struggled to finish.
Liberia was also very positive as it was lush, green and only 86 degrees with a slight breeze and "water whenever [he] wanted it". This was in part because he decided to do the run out near the airport, about 30 miles from the capital city.