Paul from Zimbabwe sent us these touching statement to the blog

My training is going well but need to get some equipment and finalize travel arrangements – there is a possibility that I may travel to Tanzania by road with the other participant from Zimbabwe Ben Burr.

I also wanted to give you some info about myself and life in Zim as you have asked.

Well as you know I am 50 years old but still try to stay fit although it would be very optimistic to think I could come close to winning this event. However I am still quite competitive and hope to at least win the over 50`s category. I am married with a son and daughter in there 20`s who now live in London and 11 year boy and girl twins who live with my wife and I here in Harare the capital of Zimbabwe. My wife Jackie is a history teacher and teaches in the local girl’s school. I came to Zimbabwe (back packing) from England where I was born and brought up. I have a small business here selling and repairing agricultural machinery.

Coming from England my sport was always football but I retired from playing seriously when I sustained a head injury during a game about 5 years ago. From then I started long distance running. Twice I have competed in the 90 km Comrades Marathon in South Africa. For the last 2 years I have also been road and mountain biking and also doing some adventure racing and triathlons. My swimming always lets me down so am learning to swim properly now and incorporating it into my Kili training.

As for my adopted country as you probably know we have been going through difficult times over the last few years and it gets worse by the day. A large part of the population is starving and now due to the collapsing infrastructure we have a cholera epidemic with over a 1000 dead. It’s a very sad and depressing situation especially as it is caused by our own power obsessed political leaders and in particular Mugabe – yet another African dictator who will sacrifice his own people to stay in power. The tragedy is that the country used to be so prosperous and export food to other countries. However the politicians haven’t destroyed everything yet and Zim retains some of the natural unspoilt beauty it shares with much of Africa and one the best climates in the world. Life is not easy here but as with most countries in Africa we survive in a first world enclave protected from what the poor masses have to deal with. Even so the economic collapse has caused many Zimbabweans to leave the country and my own position is so precarious that I may also be force me to leave. However we all hope for change and a time again when tourists flock to see the wonders of Zimbabwe and maybe you bringing people here as you do to Tanzania.

I look forward to seeing you and the rest of the participants soon
Best regards

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