By Steven - Late January 2006. One grey saturday afternoon, on the outskirts of Tirana, I spot some weird, heavily sponsored, French trucks. Amused by the picture of a runner and the text "Paris Tokyo en courant", I stop to question! It happens to be the caravan of Serge Girard, ultramarathoner, on his way to Tokyo, just passing Albania. Although I haven't run in months, my sporter's heart tells me to act, show some hospitality and mark this passage of a fairly unknown, but incredible solitary runner.
Sunny Sunday morning 8 o'clock, day 43 for Serge. I have gathered five runners from the Runners Club Tirana and Telesport Television to make it an event. The race flag handled gracefully by my four year old daughter and flying balloons mark the start of a joyful, improvised day of running. Heavy-legged, two hours later, fifteen kilometers further, 800 meters higher, broadly smiling, the reporter and I are the first to take off our shoes. Sixty year old Sotir, sixty-four year old Vashi, forty-eight year old Ariani and thirty-nine year old Mario go on for three more hours and tick off at kilometer 36, proud and tired. Serge takes pictures with all and goes on for another twenty-four kilometers.
As we drive back to Tirana, sharing one beer can, I keep smiling and feel lucky to be a runner.
N.B. - Have a look for yourself at www.sergegirard.com and when you happen to be near his trail, bring your running shoes and give the guy some company for as far as you can!