Another Tigray Trek?

WHAT?!  You did another Tigray Trek?   Yes we did.  This year it was bigger and better.  We had around 20 Peace Corps Volunteers participating as core runners or on the support crew that went 242 km from Atsbi to Korem, Tigray over 7 days.  Additionally we enlisted PCVs along the way to help coordinate and organize educational events in all 8 towns we stopped in.  We also had a few Ethiopians who ran with us the whole way, and many more who participated in various sections of the run.

I ran for 3 days (doing about 100km) before my Plantar Fasciitis came back.  This year I recognized the problem and knew not to push it.  As I said before, it’s not worth compromising my only reliable form of transportation available to me as a PCV in Ethiopia. I tried walking but after a 7km  that became painful too so I spent the last day taking pictures and cheering on our runners.

I’m glad I didn’t hurt myself (like I did last year) but am still disappointed that I couldn’t run for more of the Trek.  I kept thinking about what I was doing wrong, how my stride could change, or how I didn’t do enough training before the Trek.  I was trying to figure out why my body wasn’t able to run for 40km a day, day after day.  And then I realized that it’s just not a good idea.  I don’t think I’ll be able to ever run 7 marathons in 7 consecutive days.  I love running, but come on, this is a bit ridiculous!  But that’s what we do as PCVs in Ethiopia.  What isn’t ridiculous these days?

At the end of the day, the team made it.  I’m proud, and a bit jealous, of the three PCVs who were able to run the entire route (Hannah, Matt, and Sally).  Despite my own athletic shortcomings I still enjoyed the Trek: I enjoyed the comradery, the interactions with kids along the way, the educational sessions in each town, the beautiful scenery in the mountains of Tigray, and the feeling of accomplishment after our team finally crossed the finish line in Korem.

Here are a few pictures from this year’s Tigray Trek.  And read more about last year’s trek here.

Arthur posing in the epic morning light of the Raya Mountains

Arthur posing in the epic morning light of the Raya Mountains.

2014 09 16 Edit_3

Jaime running in the early morning light near Qwiha.

Matt beasting on some hills near Korem

Matt beasting on some hills near Korem.

Margaret in the pre-dawn light near Qwiha

Margaret in the pre-dawn light near Qwiha.

Hannah leading the pack

Hannah leading the pack.

Group stretching after a long day

Group stretching after a long day.

Beginning the ascent into the Raya Monutains

Beginning the ascent into the Raya Monutains.

Why would you run up that mountain??

Why would you run up that mountain?

Group photo in the Raya Mountains

Group photo in the Raya Mountains.

These hills were insane!!!! Not an easy run.

These hills were insane!!!! Not an easy run.

stoooopid hills

stoooopid hills

Matt passes a washout on the road

Matt passes a washout on the road.

Sally made another friend

Sally made another friend.

Look at all those runners!

Look at all those runners!

We were welcomed into Adishu by all these women.  Dancing and bunna ceremony, then an educational session about HIV modes of transmission and safe sex

We were welcomed into Adishu by all these women. Dancing and bunna ceremony, then an educational session about HIV modes of transmission and safe sex

They didn't have a stereo but used the USAID oil can drum to lay down the dance beats

They didn’t have a stereo but used the USAID oil can drum to lay down the dance beats.

Our assistant driver ran way more than any of us expected. #Beast

Our assistant driver, named 2Pac, ran way more than any of us expected. #Beast

We started most days with a 4:30 wake up and started running around 5:30am

We started most days with a 4:30 wake up and started running around 5:30am.

An amazing sunrise over the mountains near Adishu

An amazing sunrise over the mountains near Adishu.

An amazing sunrise over the mountains near Adishu

An amazing sunrise over the mountains near Adishu.

Weini, one of our counterparts, came with us the whole way, running every day.  Gobez!

Weini, one of our counterparts, came with us the whole way, running every day. Gobez! (Photo by Arthur)

Lots of sheep to run around along the way. (photo from Arthur)

Lots of sheep to run around along the way. (photo by Arthur)

Stretch it out! (photo by Arthur)

Stretch it out! (photo by Arthur)

Lots of sheep to run around along the way. (photo from Arthur)

Lots of sheep to run around along the way. (photo from Arthur)

Not all fun and games.  Rozina battled illness but still rallied at the end to finish strong; running the entire last day

Not all fun and games. Rozina battled illness but still rallied at the end to finish strong; running the entire last day (photo by Arthur)

2Pac and Alonee pushing it at then end of one of the 5km runs

2Pac and Alonee pushing it at then end of one of the 5km runs. (photo by Arthur)

The TEAM!  Just above Maychow.  (Photo by Arthur)

The TEAM! Just above Maychow. (Photo by Arthur)

Chillin on the side of the road (photo by Arthur)

Chillin on the side of the road (photo by Arthur)

This big bird was checking us out.

This big bird was checking us out.

Sally!

Sally!

Matt!

Matt!

Andrea!

Andrea!

Descending the hills to Maychow, past terraces of crops

Descending the hills to Maychow, past terraces of crops

A little dude hanging out watching the runners

A little dude hanging out watching the runners

Jake welcomes Matt into Maychow

Jake welcomes Matt into Maychow.

Jake leading a container gardening session in MaychowJake leading a container gardening session in Maychow

Jake and his counterpart leading a container gardening session in Maychow

Sally makes yet another friend

Sally makes yet another friend

This little baby wasn't interested in the gardening training.

This little baby wasn’t interested in the gardening training.

Jake and Lizzie organized this training and even found community sponsored donations to provide nutritious food to this group of women.

Jake and Lizzie organized this training and even found community sponsored donations to provide nutritious food to this group of women.

Hannah passes our bus

Hannah passes our bus

If you zoom in on that bridge you'll see one of our runners. EPIC mountains

If you zoom in on that bridge you’ll see one of our runners. EPIC mountains!

Hannah running in the highlands

Hannah running in the highlands.

Alonee and Steph dancing with some kids in a small town along the route

Alonee and Steph dancing with some kids in a small town along the route.

Runners approaching Korem

Runners approaching Korem.

Erica brings it in with style

Erica brings it in with style.

The lake near Korem

The lake near Korem.

Chris and his counterpart led another session on container gardening using old tires

Chris and his counterpart led another session in Korem on container gardening using old tires.

Chris and his counterpart led another session in Korem on container gardening using old tires.

Chris and his counterpart led another session in Korem on container gardening using old tires.

Chris and his counterpart led another session in Korem on container gardening using old tires.

Chris and his counterpart led another session in Korem on container gardening using old tires.

The women loved the gardening training.

The women loved the gardening training.

The women loved the gardening training.

The women loved the gardening training.

The session participants pose with some of the trekkers in Korem

The session participants pose with some of the trekkers in Korem.

Sally, Hannah, and Matt ran all 7 days (242 kilometers). Give them a high five next time you see them.  They earned it!

Sally, Hannah, and Matt ran all 7 days (242 kilometers). Give them a high five next time you see them. They earned it!

Our final photo at the finish line in Korem.  We made it!  #BEAST

Our final photo at the finish line in Korem. We made it! #BEAST

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About copelaf

photographer, writer, engineer, eater, traveler, and - occasionally - a thinker.
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One Response to Another Tigray Trek?

  1. adriennh says:

    Reblogged this on eight letter words. and commented:
    Tigray Trek 2014 (8 days, 8 HIV mitigation sessions, and 242km through northern Ethiopia) … Once life calms down I’ll post my own account of this adventure

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