54 years old, originally from Virginia Beach, VA but living in Sierra Leone.
1. What are you doing living in Sierra Leone?
That’s a good question! I sometimes wonder myself! I work for Uncle Sam, specifically I’m an IT manager. This is my seventh assignment, pretty much lived all over the world.
2. What’s the trail running scene like?
It’s really nonexistent. I’m surrounded by tall hills and mountains and there are some crushed gravel paths but they are very steep. You’re either pushing yourself uphill or trying not to slip and fall downhill.
3. What are some unique aspects to running there? Any interesting stories?
Well it’s kind of monotonous as I run on the road. I’m often chased by feral dogs but found out the strobe function on my headlamp keeps them at bay.
I always encounter broke down and wrecked vehicles during the early morning hours (bad roads plus drivers can’t afford vehicle maintenance equals driving fun). I was running down a steep hill and come across a passenger van on it’s side, completely blocking the road (mind you there are no streetlights here, it’s pitch black), no emergency blinkers, just waiting for someone to come down that steep hill and hit it.
I occasionally go running with House Harriers but their routes always go through the slums and it’s quite depressing. I should mention it’s not all doldrums though: there are actually very beautiful beaches and you can relax at a table at the beach with a lobster for around $9.
4. Are there running stores? What do you do for gear/shoes/nutrition?
This is one of the poorest countries in the world, there are very very few stores and even fewer that only sell clothes. People usually buy things from an open market or from vendors selling things walking along the road. When you are stuck in traffic you can buy everything from eggs, bananas, USB chargers, suits, shoes (when I say everything…). I am very fortunate in that I do get mail here and I can get pretty much all I need from Amazon.
For running nutrition I like granola bars and dried fruit (pineapple and figs). Most recently I have been using Tailwind and I’m hooked.
5. What races are on your bucket list and why?
The classic Marine Corps Marathon. My mom was a runner during the 80’s and I was a Marine. She wanted me to run the MCM with her and I thought she was crazy! I only started running three years ago and the MCM keeps slipping through my fingers. I would also like to run the Vietnam Jungle Marathon 70km. I ran the Vietnam Mountain Marathon 70km (now that is a story!) and it was probably the most proudest achievements of my life.
6. Beer! Talk to me about beer.
Buzz kill time, I don’t partake of the Barley and Hops myself but do enjoy a good cup of cappuccino, and there are no coffee houses here 🙁