Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Running and Volcanic Dust

Since the volcanic eruption last week in Iceland our news has been dominated by stories of travel chaos as pretty much all air flights have ceased in the UK. At least this has had the effect of kicking the general election sideways so it hasn't dominated the tv and papers as much as it would have done.

The volcanic dust cloud has been blown by the current wind direction over the UK and on Sunday a present from Iceland arrived as a fine layer of volcanic dust on cars appeared though it could simply be that I haven't cleaned the car in ages and this is just natural good old fashioned dirt.

What effect has this had on those folk like myself who go out for a run? Seemingly little unless you have an underlying medical health problem. There is nothing in the air that can be seen but if the fine dust particles are capable of stopping the engines on a plane what effect on a runner breathing hard on a run? I am believing that there is no problem at ground level compared to being at 20,000 feet as you would be in a plane.

However spare a thought for those who have been training for the London Marathon this Sunday the 25th of April. Most of them will have trained since January. Many of the entrants to one of the largest marathons come from all over the world and would have been planning to travel around now. However as there are no planes in UK airspace there must be people all over the world sweating over whether they can come to London for Sunday's run.

Heathrow airport in London deals with 67 million passengers a year so in the last week over a milllion people will have had there journey affected just for this one airport. 

If you are an elite runner then according to the Guardian report the organisers have arranged alternative travel arrangements as below:- Olympic gold medallist Sammy Wanjiru's hopes of defending his London Marathon title, endangered by the crisis in European air travel, have been boosted by the news that race organisers have arranged for a private plane to pick him up from Kenya. He will be flown from there to Spain where a second jet will be waiting to complete the journey, if restrictions have eased.

Wanjiru will be joined by other Kenyan athletes on the specially arranged flight. "I have just done my last morning run in Kenya and am about to start my journey by road to Nairobi, where we shall be airlifted to Spain and await further instructions," the 24-year-old told Reuters by telephone from his home in Nyahururu.

An aviation source at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport said a Gulfstream jet from Egypt would land at the main Kenyan airport to fly the athletes to Europe via a stop in Djibouti to pick up more runners. Wanjiru, who also won last year's Chicago Marathon, said another jet would pick them up in Spain for the onward leg of the journey to London. "Fatigue may affect us during the race and my agent has indicated to me that another jet will pick us up in Spain. I think travelling by road or train from Spain to London may be too long for us," he said. "I have trained well and I am ready for the race. We shall run as a team to ensure we deliver the title with my colleagues."

Other Kenyans expected to accompany Wanjiru on the trip are the world marathon champion Abel Kirui, Duncan Kibet and Emmanuel Mutai, with runners from Ethiopia and Eritrea joining the travelling party in Djibouti.

My five miler tonight was unaffected by dust and I ran well in 41.49


  1. Glad to hear that you haven't been adversely affected, at least as yet. I'm booked to arrive in London this summer and have begun to wonder whether I'll be able to get there!

  2. It's all so crazy! That's good that you haven't been affected but I can't imagine the chaos that is going on in Europe. I'd love to come visit but if this ruined my trip I'd be devastated.


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