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J268 - Sunday, July 11: 3km after Hanerau Hademarschen - Sülfeld

74.06km  – 10H37’
Altitude : 27 m
Even if there is no sunshine, it is hot and humid.  A few drops of rain did not cool us off.  Yesterday, I was amazed to see Serge running at a good pace in such heat but last night his stomach was “upset”.  And this morning, from the start, Serge is suffering; slow pace, head low looking at his shoes, face set and with only one thought in mind: finish this day.
Because there is no sun, Serge is not wearing his damp bandana around his neck and does not drench his head, even if the temperature is 30°.  It’s no use trying to persuade Serge to do something if he doesn’t feel the need.
In spite of the fatigue, he remains clear headed and it reassures us.  In spite of the heat, the refueling has not changed: soups (more tepid), full meals (ham, meat, mashed potatoes, pasta, rice, lentils).  He has not eaten fruit during the race since January because they are too difficult to digest and he fears stomach acidity.  He doesn’t eat fruit purees either.  It is difficult to give him fresh, cold food, for a runner who eats neither cereal bars nor energy supplements.  We give him two 500ml cans of Hydranergy4 drink with a slightly lemony taste.  He digests it well, since he has been drinking this since he left (with a 1 months break following his stomach flu)
In northern Germany people smile and are welcoming.  They say hello spontaneously, smile and ask questions in German, even if you don’t understand much.  We find the same warmth that we found in Sweden.  It is surprising to see how reactions to others and to strangers differ from country to country.  You enter a country and right away you feel if people have a cool contact or not.  It is worth mentioning that it is not a question of latitude but rather a feature of social or cultural behavior: Italian rarely say hello, contrary to the Spanish; Hungarians, Finns and Danes are very reserved; Swedes and Germans are easily approached.  I wonder what reaction strangers have in France, since my opinion is not objective?  In any case, we can make the following comment: in France you don’t say hello spontaneously, except perhaps on trekking paths and you don’t easily open your door to strangers who are passing by.  For all this, in Europe, diversity is acceptable.
Our passage through Berlin is being actively prepared, thanks to Peter Bartel, a long distance runner who for the past few weeks has been setting up a well-oiled program which is suited to our runner and which will not make him deviate from his 74 km per day.  A meeting is arranged for the evening of July 15 at Hohen Neuendorf.  We will cross Berlin July 16 and on the 17th we should be in Zossen, to the south of the German capital.
Every time I choose an itinerary on the 1/500,000 scale map, I’m obliged to adapt it when I look at the 1/300,000 scale map, because this one shows me bridges and ferries, as opposed to the first, which shows roads as continuous lines without taking into consideration ferry crossings.  Because of this, tomorrow we are to cross the Elbe River at Lauenburg and again at Wittenberge, whereas I had hoped to take a more direct route.  The kilometers are adding up and Serge will have to make a hop by car one morning in order to arrive on time north of Berlin on July 15.  Berlin will also signal a change in the support crew.  Eliane and Bérengère will leave us.  Our unflagging Eliane has been with us for 2 months, whereas Bérengère’s boss is waiting for her back at her job.  And René will stay with us for a while after Berlin but the holidays are approaching!!!
Who is going to arrive in Berlin to replace Eliane and Bérengère?  Surprise, surprise because I have been really talkative today!

Town : Stüfeld

GPS : N 53.48’32.7° E 010.12’97.4°