Tough times.


 

Quite a tough day today. Spent 5 hours training on my bike and came home to find my knees had swollen up significantly from the cycling. I had been giving it some thought recently to pull out the Iron Man but today’s event has confirmed it. It is with real regret that I have to do this, but for my sanity and health I thought it was best. I’m fully committed to all 12 marathons, but I think competing in the Iron Man maybe one step to far. I would hate to jeopardise the attempt to run 12 marathons and also my preparations for the run in the Congo by putting my body through one of the toughest races you can do. I’m only 26 and have plenty of time to do an Iron Man – I’m sure I’ll do one soon enough and I want to give it all my energy, but for the time being this will have to wait.. I apologise if I’m letting anyone down, but training for the Iron Man and the race itself has put my body under extreme stress and strain. 

Interesting couple of days news-wise. 

I have to say I’m extremely worried about the comments that Andrew Mitchell, the UK Minister for Development, is set to make tomorrow. Essentially it looks like he will outline a strategy to send greater levels of DFID funding to countries where the UK has a direct military engagement – Afghanistan. I’m a massive supporter of the UK troops in Afghanistan. However, I am upset to see the Government commitment to ‘ring fence’ international development essentially mean that DFID money is ploughed into Afghanistan, to make up for cuts in Defence spending. Mitchell will try and justify this policy tomorrow by saying that the Government will reduce aid to countries that don’t need it – China, India and South America countries. But at present DFID spending in these regions is extremely small compared to the amounts spent in Africa. Realistically the axe is likely to fall in places like the DRC – the UK is the second largest bi-lateral donor and spends an estimated £250,000 per day in the DRC on aid. Because the UK public aren’t aware of the atrocities in the DRC and the ongoing conflict this makes it extremely easy for UK Government to slash funding at a time when the DRC needs it. If Mitchell wants to cut spending, then at least ensure that he introduces a coherent response on how he will make up for the lack of funding and give real direction to UK policy in the DRC. 

There has also been increasing tensions within Rwanda in the run up to the election after a series of opposition politicians and supporters have been murdered in recent weeks – placing considerable pressure on Paul Kagame, current president of Rwanda. With the elections set to take place next month, it does leave me feeling slightly concerned about any escalation of violence or stress in the weeks leading up to the election.

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