Monday, September 27, 2010

Exploring Accra

Accra, Ghana
25 September 2010

We spent the day on another driving tour of the city and getting ready for the Accra Marathon on Sunday. We found the US Embassy, the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Center, W.E. deBois center, the LDS temple, and then spent a couple hours trying to find the shuttle pickup point for the marathon and the marathon headquarters (very poorly marked on the third floor of a building in back alley).

I decided to take it easy that afternoon and ended up taking a nap before going to a pre-marathon pasta party with a bunch of expats. A group of about twenty women were excited to run the 1/2 marathon the following day (husbands were going to watch the kids while the wives ran) and only one other guy was going to run the marathon with me. Mad dog is 72 years old from Florida and had run 335 previous marathons in 105 different countries ( holds world record for number of countries).

The Accra International Marathon director was also at the dinner and was already worn out. I had spoke to her earlier at her office when I was looking for directions to the marathon shuttle and her office was packed and she was trying to get all the last minute preparations complete. To add to her agony, several local runners had showed up the day before to demand a refund of their race registration fee so they could run in the Milo Marathon recently scheduled for the day before the Accra International Marathon. According to her, Milo announced their decision to move their marathon to 25 September on the first of the month while her marathon had been scheduled for several months. They also quintupled their prize money so she couldn't compete and she felt obliged to let the athletes compete for the bigger payday. We had seen the Milo buses following driving around town earlier in the day and their awards ceremony on tv where they had claimed over 5000 runners.

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