Day 6 (Matt)

December 3, 2017

After finishing day 5, Mark and I got to our guesthouse and waiting excitedly for Kirsty and Erin. Not only were we looking forward to seeing them but they were also bringing takeaway pizza from Siem Reap and after nine consecutive meals of vegetable fried rice, we couldn’t wait!

As they arrived at Heng Heng guest house Erin was overcome with emotion, she says that it is because she was so proud of what Ferg had achieved but I secretly think it was more likely that she was slightly shocked by their room at the guesthouse. Luckily the car they arrived in had already left by the time she saw the bathroom!

It didn’t take us long to start attacking the mountain of food that the girls had brought with them and I can’t explain how nice it was to be eating something different. The meal was only slightly ruined by Kirsty who was acting like a cat on a hot tin roof, every time she saw a mosquito she would jump up and chase it around the room until it had either been squashed or had disappeared from view. The fact that there were thousands in the room didn’t stop her one-woman crusade to make sure the room was mosquito-free before bed. When sleep time came, Kirsty felt she had not been successful in her mission and decided the only thing she could do was to cover herself from head to toe in clothing. Socks, long leggings, a jumper and a towel were used as protection from both mosquitoes and the slightly stained bedsheets!

After a “cracking” night’s sleep, we were ready to set off on day 6, and it was a day I had been looking forward to all week. Not only did we have our families there to support us but the route was also all around the area where TGF carry out their amazing work. For us, it was going to be a day of reflection as it was the last long day and also we would be able to see where the money we had raised was going to go.

The first 20kms went by really quickly as we chatted to the girls about all we had learnt from Bota during the week and showed off some of TGF’s work. At the 20km mark, we came to a big dam that has been built by a mainland Chinese construction company where we had agreed to meet all of the TGF trustees, staff and my Mum and cousin. It was great to all be together but the longer we stood around chatting, the more difficult it was that we had to do another 20km more in the heat.

As we headed off for the second half of the day, Kirst very kindly said she would run and chat with me. Delighted to have the company to take my mind off my aching body the first 700 meters was fantastic. After 700 metres, Kirst went very quiet and once again I was having a one-way conversation with myself. She then flagged down the charity pickup truck and hopped in the back. It was only then that she could carry on the conversation we were having before about what Christmas presents we need to buy family members!

Having the pickup truck there was great as it gave me a chance to spend some more time with Sam, Brian, Rob and Charlotte who all work in various roles for TGF. It was great to get to know more about them personally and hear their views on where the money would be best spent. It also reconfirmed the reasons why we like the charity so much, and that we could actually talk to the people who make all the decisions.

The last 10kms were a struggle in the heat, with every step my legs were screaming for me to stop, but I kept thinking of my favourite quote. “Challenges are what makes life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful”.

We have nearly overcome this challenge, it has definitely been interesting, if not fascinating, and spending the day in the TGF area really has made us appreciate how meaningful it really is.

As we came to the end of the dirt track road and hit Highway 6, we only had 300 or so metres back to the TGF office where we would finish the day. As we got close we could see all the staff and supporters waiting for us and it was pretty emotional to realise that we had ticked off the six long days of our challenge but also it was so nice to see that what we were doing was so well appreciated.

On arrival, we were given fresh coconuts from the villages and cold towels before a decent photo session. We then didn’t waste any time in getting into the support vehicle and heading to Siem Reap to the Sofitel so we could have something to eat and shower, but more importantly for Ferg to see his boys.

A massage this evening and dinner with all the family and a very early start for the Angkor Wat Half Marathon tomorrow morning.

Matt

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