It seemed like I was never going to get to Haiti. Run Across Haiti® was postponed and then when the day finally came our flight was delayed, leaving us stranded in Miami Thursday- Saturday. After finally arriving in Haiti I took one long, bumpy car ride to where the rest of our team started Day 2 and hit the ground. About a quarter mile in our crew truck filled with Christina, Viv, runners, and crew showed up. It was very emotional finally seeing them. When I ran in after those first 13 miles our entire team was out in the street cheering me in. I’ll never be able to explain how incredible that feeling was.
Today we finished Day 4, (Day 3 for me) and it wasn’t easy. We needed to drive out of Gonaives to start and we didn’t get on the road until after 5 am, which made a lot of us worried about longer time running in the sun. My knee has been bothering me, many other runners are also having knee pain and we started the day together. It wasn’t good odds for having an easy 33 miles. In a lot of ways we lucked out, the sky was overcast for a lot of the morning. The sunrise was a beautiful pink color and the mountains of Haiti were amazing to look at while we ran. Eventually my knee hurt and the sun came out and it became extremely hot and extremely hard to keep going. The idea of hopping into the back of an aid truck and giving up, while seeming attractive, was never an option. I knew I would keep going. I’m extremely grateful for our race crew because they truly carried me in a lot of ways today. They were there to refill my water, give me a snack, offer medical advice and literally rub me down with ice to cook me off. I knew if I could just get to the next aid station I would be ok.
But what continues to be the biggest reason to keep pushing are the people of Haiti, the children in particular. In the car after being picked up from the airport I saw a little girl staring at me in front of her house. I smiled at her through the window and her face changed into a huge smile. While I’m running children scream excitedly from their yards, from fields, from their school. When I turn and wave and say Bonjour they smile so big. Sometimes they tell us to go, but most of the time they just return our “Bonjour” and continue to squeal with excitement that we acknowledged them. The stare from adults sometimes looks harsh, and sometimes looks confused, but when I wave and smile they often respond kindly. Sometimes they yell “Bonjour” to us first. The smiles of the people here keep me going.
Tomorrow we run and then finally get to visit our families in Menelas. I’m beyond excited. This trip has been so incredible already in so many different ways and I don’t expect it to stop.