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Das dacht ich mir

 

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 Schiffbau   

Bern / 18-06-2011 

"Wenn du ein Schiff bauen willst,
so trommle nicht die Männer zusammen um Holz zu beschaffen,
sondern lehre sie die Sehnsucht nach dem weiten, endlosen Meer"


(Saint Exupery)

 Die Schweizer Solarlücke   

Bern / 13-03-2011 

Leserbrief zum Artikel „BKW reduziert Inland-Projekte für erneuerbare Energien drastisch“ (11.1.2011) publiziert im Bund vom 15.1.11

In Deutschland, der energiepolitischen Sonnenstube Europas, wurden im vergangenen Jahr Solarstrom-Anlagen mit einer Gesamtleistung von rund 8 GW installiert, welche dieses Jahr rund 7000 GWh Strom produzieren werden. Deutschland wird somit 2011 über 2% seines Strombedarfs mit Sonnenenergie decken.

Würde die Schweiz mit demselben Elan die erneuerbaren Energien ausbauen, hätten wir alleine im vergangenen Jahr die doppelte Leistung des Kernkraftwerkes Mühleberg in Form von Solarstrom-Anlagen installiert, die jährlich immerhin 700 GWh Strom produzieren würden. Es ist daher anzunehmen, dass es die BKW mit etwas Willen tatsächlich schaffen wird, bis 2030 jährlich zusätzlich 600 GWh Strom aus erneuerbaren Energien zu produzieren.

Während wir zuschauen wie Deutschland mit einem energiewirtschaftlichen Marshallplan die Energiewende vollzieht, wird in der Schweiz das Potenzial der erneuerbaren Energien kleingeredet und gewartet, bis wir unsere Solaranlagen in Gaddafis Wüste bauen dürfen.

 Plädoyer für eine christlich-islamische Ökumene   

Bern / 03-12-2009 

Sehr geehrte Kirchgemeinde

Zuerst einmal möchte ich mich herzlich für das klare Eintreten der Landeskirchen gegen die Minarett-Verbot-Initiative bedanken. Leider hat es nicht ausgereicht.

Aufgrund des schweizerischen Abstimmungsresultates zur Minarett-Verbot-Initiative vom vergangenen Sonntag sistiere ich hiermit per sofort und bis auf weiteres meine Mitgliedschaft bei der evangelisch-reformierten Landeskirche. In einem Land, in dem Minderheitsreligionen per Verfassung diskriminiert werden, möchte ich keiner religiösen Institution angehören, welche die Mehrheitsreligion vertritt. Mein Gewissen verbietet mir, mich als Christ am Unterhalt von Kirchtürmen zu beteiligen, wo Muslime keine Minarette bauen dürfen.

Ich habe diesen Entscheid bereits im Verlauf des vergangenen Jahres für die Eventualität der Annahme des Minarettverbotes nach reiflicher Überlegung gefällt. Allerdings ging ich die ganze Zeit davon aus, dass die Mehrheit der SchweizerInnen diese Ohrfeige an unsere islamischen Brüder und Schwestern ablehnen würde. Mein Entscheid ist denn auch rein politisch und hat nichts mit meinem Glauben an Gott zu tun sondern viel mehr mit meinem Glauben, dass eine Welt in Frieden nur möglich ist, wenn sich die Mitglieder der verschiedenen Religionsgemeinschaften mit grösstem gegenseitigem Respekt begegnen, unabhängig davon wie der Glaube an Gott ausgestaltet ist. Die schweizerische Bevölkerung hat diesem Respekt eine klare Absage erteilt, und damit meiner Meinung nach einen grossen Stein in den Weg zum Frieden gelegt.

Die Sistierung meiner Mitgliedschaft in der Kirchgemeinde bedeutet nicht eine Abkehr vom christlichen Glauben oder meiner christlichen Identität, sondern sie ist als Solidaritätsbekundung gegenüber der islamischen Gemeinschaft in der Schweiz zu verstehen, und als ein dringender Aufruf an die Kirchgemeinden, deutlich sicht- und hörbar gegen diesen Angriff auf die Religionsfreiheit in der Schweiz zu protestieren.

Als Anregung für einen solchen Protest möchte ich Euch bitten zu prüfen, ob es möglich ist, einmal in der Woche, zum Beispiel jeweils Freitag abends um 18 Uhr, das Läuten der Kirchglocken durch den Ruf eines Muezzins zu ersetzen, um zu einem gemeinsamen Gebet von Christen und Muslimen in der Pauluskirche einzuladen. Eine solche wöchentliche Veranstaltung in Zusammenarbeit mit einer islamischen Gemeinde in Bern könnte als Integrationsmassnahme dem Dialog zwischen Christen und Muslimen dienen. Der öffentliche Ruf zum Gebet durch einen Muezzin ist meines Wissens in der Schweiz weiterhin nicht grundsätzlich verboten. Und auch akustische Emissionen von Kirchtürmen werden traditionell toleriert. Es wäre ein sehr starkes Zeichen für die Dialogbereitschaft der Kirche, gegen die Angst vor dem Islam und gegen die Spirale des zunehmenden und gefährlichen Anti-Islamismus in der Schweiz.

Ich wünsche Euch die dazu nötige Zivilcourage, und hoffe durch solche oder ähnliche Aktionen der Landeskirchen eine Mitgliedschaft bei der Kirche bald wieder mit meiner interreligiösen Gesinnung vereinbaren zu können. Sollte es Möglichkeiten geben, mich in irgendeiner Form an Projekten für die christlich-islamische Ökumene zu beteiligen, wäre ich Euch dankbar um entsprechende Informationen.

Ich würde mich freuen, wenn als Folge dieses unhaltbaren Abstimmungsresultates die Kirche aktiv und ohne Missionsanspruch auf die islamische Gemeinde zugeht, um den Dialog zu intensivieren und diesen in die breite Bevölkerung zu tragen.

Ich danke für das Verständnis und wünsche eine besinnliche Adventszeit.

Freundliche Grüsse,
Benno Frauchiger

 Happy New Year!   

Frauenfeld / 29-12-2008 

"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race."

H. G. Wells

 Der Weg und das Ziel   

Frauenfeld / 24-11-2008 

"Der Weg ist das Ziel" soll einer einmal gesagt haben. Das wäre ja auch gar nicht so schlimm, wenn es nicht immer andere gibt, die glauben, dies wiederholen zu müssen.

Damit das hier einmal geklärt sei: Das Ziel meiner Reise war nicht irgend ein Weg, sondern eine ganz bestimmte Farm (die Central Downs Farm) auf dem Gemeindegebiet von Carnamah in Westaustralien. Genau dorthin wollte ich, und nur weil ich dorthin wollte, hatte ich mich auf den Weg gemacht.

Es gibt aber unzählig viele Wege und Mittel, um nach Carnamah zu gelangen. Aus verschiedenen Gründen, worauf ich hier nicht mehr eingehen möchte, wählte ich das Fahrrad als Hauptverkehrsmittel und nicht etwa das Flugzeug, wie es die meisten Leute verständlicherweise wohl getan hätten. Aus dieser Wahl ergab sich einen Weg, den ich hier dokumentiert habe, weil ich zeigen wollte, dass man auch mit unkonventionellen Mitteln zum Ziel gelangen kann, auf Wegen, die nicht minder reizvoll sind.

Der Weg wurde damit aber noch lange nicht zum Ziel meiner Reise. Das Ziel meiner Reise war immer Carnamah. Wäre der Weg selbst zum Ziel geworden, wäre ich wohl nie in Carnamah angekommen. Denn ich hätte mein Ziel (den Weg) viel früher, nämlich schon vor meiner eigenen Haustüre, erreicht und damit die Übung abbrechen können.

Ein Ziel zu erreichen, ist zwar immer ein Erfolg und eine grosse Genugtuung, gleichzeitig ist es aber auch ein grosser Verlust. Ist man nämlich am Ziel angekommen, kann dieses Ziel nicht mehr Ziel sein, und plötzlich ist man ziellos.

Das einzige was dann bleibt, ist die Erinnerung an den Weg, und damit ein Schatz an Erfahrungen, Begegnungen, Erlebnissen, die uns ein Leben lang begleiten werden, ein Reichtum, den uns niemand nehmen kann, den wir nicht an der Börse verspekulieren können.

Der Weg ist deshalb viel bedeutungsvoller als das Ziel. Das Ziel wird uns irgendwann, spätestens wenn wir es erreicht haben, verloren gehen. Der zurückgelegte Weg aber bleibt.

Darum glaube ich, ist es wichtig, wo auch immer wir hingehen, welche Ziele auch immer wir anstreben, dass wir uns genau Gedanken zum Weg machen, und uns solche Wege suchen, von denen wir etwas gewinnen können, und an die wir uns gerne zurückerinnern.

Die Aussage "Der Weg ist das Ziel" wird der Bedeutung des Weges gar nicht wirklich gerecht.

--
Ein Flugzeug besteigen und wenige Stunden später in einer ganz anderen Welt ankommen, ohne dass man Zeit gehabt hatte, einzelne Bilder von der Strecke dazwischen in sich aufzunehmen - das mochte er nicht, und es verstörte ihn.

(Pascal Mercier, "Im Nachtzug nach Lissabon")

 Frauenfelder 2-Stundenlauf   

Frauenfeld / 31-08-2008 

Sponsoren gesucht!

Am 20. September werde ich wieder einmal am Frauenfelder 2-Stundenlauf mitlaufen. Das heisst, während zwei Stunden laufe ich für meine Gesundheit und für das Wohl von anderen (ca. 28km). Ihr könnt mich dabei unterstützen, indem ihr mir eine kleine Spende für jeden gelaufen Kilometer zusichert. Der Erlös geht an den Verein "Right to Play" und den "Familienentlastungsdienst Thurgau".

Mehr Infos zum Lauf und zu den unterstützten Projekten gibt es beim Frauenfelder 2-Stunden-Lauf

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 The Road Not Taken   

WA / 20-01-2008 

two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
and sorry, I could not travel both.
and be one traveller long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth.

then took the other, just as fair
and having perhaps the better claim,
because it was grassy and wanted wear,
though as for that the passing there
had worn them really about the same.

and both that morning equally lay
in leaves, no step had trodden black.
oh, I kept the first for another day!
yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost, 1916

 The Rock   

Carnamah / 02-12-2007 

If you look at my itinery across Australia you might wonder, why I chose to travel all those dusty, corrugated roads. Am I punishing myself for something? Am I masochistic? Or am I simply crazy?

Well, I leave it to others to judge whether I am crazy or not. Most people think I am. But I reckon I am pretty normal, apart from the fact, that I have recognized the bicycle as a fully capable and equally respectable means of transport among all other options of transport mankind has to offer.

However, when it comes to energy efficiency, the bicycle stands high above everything else ever invented. Cycling is even more energy efficient than walking when comparing the muscular energy needed per kilometer. Only sailing is possibly more energy efficient than cycling, but it is not very practical when travelling overland. As one of my main focus in life is energy efficiency, I opted for the bicycle to travel to and across Australia.

When I came to Australia, there were basically two places I wanted to visit before going to Carnamah. The Kimberley Region, because it had always been praised as particularly beautiful, and Uluru (Ayers Rock). After arriving in Darwin I took pretty much the shortest way that allowed me to combine the Kimberleys and Uluru on the way to Carnamah. Only from Leonora I took a bit of a detour to see Lake Ballard, Kalgoorlie, Wave Rock, Richelle in Merredin, Perth and to participate Rottnest Marathon before finally heading up to Carnamah.

The reason for visiting Uluru was not so much touristic, however. I had already visited it 15 years ago. As a group of over 100 exchange students, mostly from Scandinavia, we were travelling around Australia with three buses for three weeks. Some of us climbed the Rock, and I decided to join in. On top of the Rock, in a patch of eroded sand, there was a little fragment, that fit nicely in my hand. I picked it up, looked at it, and took it with me. It was not particularly beautiful, but it was part of Uluru, displaying the typically rusted red colour on one side, being rather boring grey otherwise.

For many years this piece of rock was sitting on my desk or on a window board, sadly collecting Swiss city dust, rather than the red dust from the desert where it came from. As the years passed I realized, that this piece of rock is part of something bigger, something beautiful and something sacred. And I realized, too, that it really belongs to where it came from, it doesn't belong on my desk. It looked lost there. And long before knowing how and when I would visit Australia again, I decided that on my next visit I would bring it back.

For almost 15 months I carried it with me, safely wrapped up into a silken cloth, on the red bicycle across Europe and Asia and halfway across Australia to its red centre. While some people believe that it brings bad luck to take a piece of Uluru, I was convinced that this piece of rock would not play any bad tricks on me. I knew, that this little rock wants to go home. Therefore I was almost certain, that it would rather help me to overcome all sorts of difficulties along my way, rather than putting any unnecessary obstacles in it. And I was certain, too, that it would particularly support me, as I had chosen to bring it home with a minimum irreversible impact on our mother earth, which also means with the least possible impact on the world's mineral ressources.

When I finally reached Uluru, I celebrated my rock's coming home by walking it around Uluru (about 10km) before heading off into the head office of the Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Park. Through the Central Land Council in Alice Springs I had arranged to give it back to a member of the Mutitjulu (Aboriginal) Community, who are the custodians of Uluru and to whom the Rock is sacred. Sean from the park administration introduced me to an elder of the community. She was thankful for me bringing it home and asked me to put it back to where I took it. But because this meant climbing the Rock again, she then decided to take care of it and put it together with the other travelling rocks that had returned home. I was not the only one to bring back a piece of Uluru, even though I was the first to bring it back on a bicycle. Every year, the park receives up to 300 fragments of Uluru from people who had taken them as a souvenir, and over the years realized, that this was the wrong thing to do. The park authorities call it the „Sorry Rock Phenomenon“. Most people send their fragments back by mail, others bring it back on another visit. While the local Aboriginals do appreciate when people return those travelling rocks, they would obviously much prefer, if people didn't pick them up in the first place. It is mostly impossible to determine their original position, and even if it was possible, it would not necessarily be good to put it back there. The energy of those fragments would have been transformed during their travels, which might disturb the energy characteristics of the different sites on the Rock.

A conciliatory view of the „Sorry Rocks“ is that those travelling fragments are an expression of a reciprocal get-to-know-each-other. While hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world come to visit Uluru every year, look at it, walk around it, and sometimes even trod on it, Uluru takes a chance to travel around the world, too, in order to see the places, where all these people come from. While the world comes to Uluru, Uluru goes and sees the world, too. But just as the visitors of Uluru do not wish to perish on it, I believe that also Uluru does not want to perish somewhere out in the world, but eventually return home. The fact that so many parts of Uluru do return, might also just mean, that this rock is more alive than we think.
From this perspecitive, it might as well be, that it wasn't me, who chose to pick up that piece of Uluru 15 years ago. Instead it could have been that piece who chose to travel with me and see the world, knowing that sometimes in the future I would bring it back home. Who knows? However, I don't accept this view nor my young age to be used as an excuse for taking it. There is no excuse, I should not have taken it in the first place. I was wrong. It was an unrespectful act. And I am deeply sorry and hereby wish to apolgize for doing so.

However, as much as I feel sorry, I also feel thankful. The Rock had made me venture across some of the most remote areas of Australia, along some of the most fascinating roads. Roads that I would never have taken, if it hadn't been for this little rock insisting in going home on my bicycle and leaving me with an extraordinary experience and a lot of fantastic memories.

And I learned one lesson, too: It is easy to carry a piece of rock around the world on a bicycle to bring it back where it belongs. But I wonder how much more difficult it will be to put back all the carbon we are burning, once we fully realize that the atmosphere is just not the place where it belongs.

Thank you Uluru!

 Fliegen   

Carnamah / 20-11-2007 

"Nichts ist schöner als Fliegen" soll jemand einmal behauptet haben. Nun ja, jedem das Seine, und nichts gegen Fliegen. Aber wer auch immer das gesagt hat, eines ist sicher: Er ist nicht nach und schon gar nicht – nein, ganz sicher nicht – durch Australien geradelt.Andere Leute wiederum behaupten, sie könnten "keiner Fliege was zu Leide tun". Das ist schon eher meine Sache. Als gewissensgeprüfter Zivildienstleistender hätte ich keiner Fliege auch nur ein Haar gekrümmt, geschweige denn sonst irgendwelche Grausamkeiten an diesen harmlosen und unschuldigen Tierchen verübt, deren Leben ohnehin schon kurz genug ist. Aber eben, ich bin durch Australien geradelt, und seither weiss ich: Nichts ist eckliger als Fliegen. Und: Australien ist der ultimative Keiner-Fliege-was-zuleide-tun-Test. Ich gab mir lange Mühe. Freundlich wischte ich die Fliegen aus meinem Gesicht, wenn ich sie nicht ertrug. Zuweilen liess ich sie auch nachgiebig gewähren, wenn einmal so ein Tierchen über mein Gesicht krabbelte, oder sich in meinem Augenwinkel verkroch, in der Hoffnung, ich würde mich daran gewöhnen.Das ging auch ziemlich lange gut so, bis etwa anfangs Oktober. Irgendwo zwischen Kalgoorlie und Hyden brachen die Fliegen aber unseren Freundschaftspakt. Zu Hunderten griffen sie mich an, belagerten mich, krabbelten auf meinem Gesicht rum, mit Vorliebe in die Augen. Zuweilen auch in die Nase oder auf den Mund. Plötzlich waren sie so zahlreich, ich hatte kein Erbarmen mehr und startete einen Gegenangriff. Schschtunggg! Und ich reibe mir zwei Fliegen aus den Augen. Sssswiiischpeng! Eine von etwa sieben auf der Lenkertasche habe ich erwischt. Die andern sind entkommen. Ich lasse das Opfer liegen, als Warnung für seine Kollegen. Flllllack! Das war eine Ohrfeige und eine Fliege weniger. Dann rolle ich geräuschlos meine Lippen zusammen und spucke triumphierend das zerdrückte Fliegenkadaver von mir. Selber schuld, denke ich, ich brauche nicht einmal meine Hände. Gleichzeitig weiss ich, dass ich es nie schaffen werde, sie alle in die Flucht oder gar in den Tod zu schlagen. Irgendwie frustrierend, aber es beruhigt mein Gewissen. Plötzlich bin ich froh, wenn es regnet, das hält die Fliegen fern. Plötzlich bin ich froh, wenn ich Gegenwind habe, das hält mir die Fliegen aus dem Gesicht. Aber drehe ich mich um, so sehe ich eine schwarze Wolke hinter mir: Fliegen, die keinen Sitzplatz mehr auf meinem Rücken oder auf den Taschen erwischt haben. Und sie scheinen nur darauf zu warten, bis ich irgendwo für ein Picknick anhalte.Das Kopftuch, das ich in der Wüste um Mund und Nase gewickelt hatte, als Schutz vor Sonne, Staub und Wasserverlust, wickle ich nun um Mund und Nase als Schutz vor den Fliegen. In die Augen kommen sie trotzdem noch, damit muss ich leben. Und beim Picknick werfe ich das Tuch gänzlich über meinen Kopf und schiebe mir das Käsebrot vorsichtig unter dem Tuch zum Mund. Lege ich mich hin, nur mit dem Tuch über dem Kopf. Sollen sie doch auf dem Tuch rumkrabbeln, aber bitte nicht in meinem Gesicht!Immerhin, denke ich, als ich kurz ausserhalb von Perth, im Yanchep Nationalpark mein Abendessen koche, Fliegen stechen nicht und beissen nicht. Doch ich war noch nicht ganz mit dem Essen zu Ende, da waren plötzlich alle Fliegen weg. Stattdessen werde ich nun von kleinen schwarzen Tierchen belagert, die beissen. Fliegen und Mücken arbeiten hier im Schichtbetrieb, oder aber es kam unbemerkt eine kleine Hexe und hat kurzerhand alle Fliegen in Mücken verwandelt. Am nächsten Tag sind es wieder Fliegen. Und weil sie noch nicht gestorben sind, fliegen sie heute noch. zzzzzzzzzzzzz.....tätsch.... zzzzzzzz.....

 Rottnest Island   

Carnamah / 07-11-2007 

It was six o'clock in the morning, Sunday morning. The streets were wet after a short drizzling rain. The morning sun ellbowed its way through the clouds which were rushing across the island chased by a strong southwesterly wind. Already the day before the strong wind had the express ferry from Fremantle to Rottnest Island jumping and bumping across the water. My hope for this wind to cease today was in vain.

Suddenly there was a shot. And we started running. We were about 150 runners setting off for the Rottnest Marathon, 42,2km. First, the course would take us a couple of kilometers towards and past the Kingston Barracks, where many runners had stayed the night before, and back to the Thomson Bay Settlement before turning onto the four laps of 9,5km around the northern half of Rottnest Island. Rottnest Island, about 11km long and 4,5km wide, lies about 20km off the coast from Fremantle. It is listed as an A-Class Reserve, whatever that means. There are nice beaches, waves, snorkling opportunities and a scenic rugged, almost alpine landscape inland. But most importantly, there is no traffic. No private vehicles are allowed on the island. The main mode of transport is the bicycle (not considered as a vehicle under Australian laws). A good reason for me to pay a visit, and probably my main motivation to run this marathon.
The participants of the marathon all had to spend the night on the island, because the first ferry in the morning only arrives after the start of the run. A somewhat familiar atmosphere for this event is thereby guaranteed. Another good reason to participate.

I started at a leisurely pace, which I thought I would be able to keep up for a few hours. My main worry at the start were my lungs. Only two days before, when I went for a last short 15min run in Perth, I returned heavily breathing, with my lungs blocked asthmalike. I had experienced similar difficulties already for weeks, mostly at night or after some of the few running trainings. But this time it was extraordinarily bad, and just two days before the marathon. I was worried and decided to go and see the doctor in the afternoon, even though then I was breathing normally again. He related my lungproblems to my hayfever, it's the season here now. I admitted, that my hayfever wouldn't help my lungs, but I still was not convinced and agreed to do a computerized analyses of my breathperformance. The results suggested an estimated lung age of 63 years, upon which the doctor prescribed some Cortison and wished me good luck for the marathon. Well, I thought, there are people running marathons at the age of 63, too. No worries, I'll be right.

It took me five minutes for the first kilometer, and I was pleased to feel very relaxed, and that there was no sign of any respiratory or other problems at all. If I can keep up this pace I could get through the finish line after three and a half hours, which would get close enough to my marathon times two years ago. But would my muscles keep it up this long? Would my joints support it?

Again I thought back of my practically non-existing training, which had me worrying all along the week before the marathon, pondering whether I shouldn't rather dismiss it. This marathon, I was convinced, was the most silly and unreasonable thing I had ever done. It's OK to cycle from Basel to Perth, there is nothing wrong with that. There is a commitment to such a journey. It's an experience, an adventure. And there is a message in it. The message of what we can achieve if we commit ourselves to a sustainable way of life, and consequently to sustainable transportation, and if we do what we really want to do, if we live up to our convictions and beliefs. But running a marathon practically unprepared without any reasonable training? What message is in that? There is no message in that except stupidity, madness. So why am I doing this? Should I have renounced on running, because I didn't get the training I intended? Because two days ago 15 minutes running left me breathless? But it's too late now. I have started, I am in it, and I knew, the only thing that could stop me at this point from running another 41 kilometers was my body, my lungs, my joints or my muscles. And I promised myself, that I would listen very carefully to my body.

My marathon training:
- Early September I went running on three consecutive days for about 20 minutes in Alice Springs, when I registered for the run.
- When I reached Laverton in late September I went running again for 20-30 minutes to restart my training. But it was a complete disaster for my lungs. After running I spent a few hours coughing up and breathing heavily while preparing and eating dinner in the camper's kitchen, such that my fellow camper's seriously started worrying about me. I blamed the cold weather for it. Was I going to get a pneumonia? Being afraid of more complications with my lungs I dropped my training in Leonora two days later and also Kalgoorlie a week later.
- Eight days before the marathon I reached York, where I suddenly realized, that it is too late even for half a serious marathon training. Trying to do the best I could, but not too much, I went running for 30 minutes on that Saturday.
- The day after I reached Fremantle: 45 minutes on Monday and 20 minutes on Wednesday, and I was going to run a marathon on Sunday. I felt ridiculous.
- Finally the last bit of cosmetics, the already mentioned 15 minutes in Perth on Friday.
To run the marathon I would have to rely completely on my general level of fitness and endurance I gained from cycling.

While telling myself off on the first couple of kilometers for what I was doing, my thoughts suddenly went 12 years back, when I was living in Perth. One day I wanted to do something for my fitness and decided to go for a run. I enjoyed it so much, that I kept going and going and by the time I got home, roughly an hour later, I had wrecked my knees and my ankles. It took a couple of weeks for my ankles to recover and my knees had been liable to aches and pains for many years after. It was a painful lesson on what can happen, when you go for too long a run without any previous exercice. And I learned, too, that my mind is strong enough to overrule my body. But I was not going to let it happen this time. Again I promised myself that I would listen very carefully to my body and abandon the marathon if needed.

After two and a half kilometers we turned around to head back into Thomson Bay Settlement, facing northwest. A big rainbow is painted on the fresh morning sky. I am thrilled, and somehow suddenly I am convinced, I can do this. And I am happy. What a wonderful thing, running a marathon with the sun rising on one side and a colourful rainbow on the other side. At kilometer 5 I am back in town and entering the first of four laps. I am still on my five minutes per kilometer average, and I still feel good, but it is also still a long way to go. As the road takes me out of town, I pass an alpine lake on my right, with rocks and a barren vegetation on its shores. Further back on Mount Herschel (hardly a hill really) stands a windmill quietly and steadily turning its rounds. It seems as if the windmill keeps us all running around the island. The rainbow now descends right onto the windmill. I should have taken the camera with me. The road leads onto a dam and across Lake Herschel. A strong sidewind drags foam from the lake across the dam. I contemplate the rainbow and imagine how I run for it, trying to catch it.

On the other side of the lake the road climbs up a little hill, then down and up again and after slight bend there is suddenly a white lighthouse towering ahead of me in the far extension of the road. Again I am stunned by the sight. But before we reach the bottom of the lighthouse we turn off to the right into a little wood. On the other side of the wood the road twists around a set of shallow lakes, the Pink Lake, Lake Sirius, Lake Negri and Lake Baghdad. Then the road gently curves up and a sign says „5km to go“. Sounds easy, but unfortunately it's not for me yet. Really there are three laps and 5 kilometers to go. I try to do some maths, 3 x 9,5 + 5 = not easy when you are running and the result won't exactly be encouraging. At least with every lap the maths will get easier and the remaining distance shorter.

Presently, on a loop around Armstrong Rock, the sea comes in sight. Big breaking waves roll onto Rottnest Island, while the wind blows their top back out into the ocean. As I contemplate this fascinating powerstruggle between the elements, I suddenly hear the sound of a bagpipe. Further up stands a solitary scottish bagpiper on the cliff facing the Indian Ocean and sending out his tunes into the universe. Thanks for the music!

I pass the 10km sign (that's for me), 500m further the 20km sign (not for me), then the 30km sign (not for me) and past some holiday houses at Geordie Bay stands the 40km sign (again not for me, it starts getting frustrating). With every sign I do the maths, and I am really getting good at it. Heading back to the Thomson Bay Settlement we now approach the windmill from behind. A big board explains how this windmill saves us 900 tons of carbon emissions every year, powering the electricity grid of Rottnest Island and the desalination plant. At least for once I have a headwind that is not completely useless. As I run down the hill on the other side against the wind I spread out my arms. There are two strategies to deal with a head wind, I felt. Either you swear your head off and end up frustrated because you can't change it anyway, or you joyfully embrace the wind and feel its energy as it massages your face, dresses your hair and airs your clothes. I wasn't in the mood for swearing. I had fatalistically accepted my running here, so I might just as well accept the wind.

Back in Thomson Bay settlement, just having completed the first lap, I see Senta standing on the side of the road and a quokka in the middle of it. A quokka is an animal about the size of a big rat but with the design of a fat kangaroo. It is native to Rottnest Island, and Rottnest Island only. It's not a large habitat, but thanks to the lack of any predators they are performing quite well. The quokka sat there happily chewing on something, so I decided to pass it on its right. But just when I came along it decided to move about and nearly had me trip over it. Finally I have completed my first lap, and it was such a scenic lap, that I didn't mind at all to do it again.

The rainbow was gone though, but the wind was still there, and so were the lighthouse, the lakes, the forests, the cliffs, the waves, and also the bagpiper was still playing. With great satisfaction I pass the 10km sign again. That's already done a long time ago. I welcome the 20km and try to visualize the distance travelled and to be travelled on my bicycle computer.

For a little while a man is running in front of me with a blue t-shirt that has „impossible is nothing“ printed on its back. Somehow it fits to my faded red t-shirt, which says „le velo rouge en route vers Carnamah“ on the back. True, impossible is nothing. And maybe it also fits to my running here, my initial worries have faded away. I have been running for one and a half hour now. I start to feel it in my legs, but in a healthy way. My legs felt heavy. They seem to have accumulated an extra kilogram of weight with every kilometer I had run. Running half a marathon would be just fine, I think, I could go for a good sprint now. But two more laps is going to be a very long way still. Near the windmill I passed the man with the blue t-shirt and never saw him again.

When I passed the bagpiper on my third lap, he was still playing. He's doing a marathon on his own, a musical marathon. Just before the 30km mark the leading bicycle, followed by the first runner, passes me. As I would find out later only, the winner of the marathon is Swiss, too. I clap in my hands as he passes and say „good on you“. But I also envy him, because he can go straight for the finish line now, while I still have to do another lap. My legs are getting really tired and heavy. This marathon is decidedly tougher on me than the Triathlon in Bali four months ago.

I was very glad to enter the last lap. Now I would go for the finish line, too. I drag my heavy legs along. My body wants to take a break. My legs want to walk. Just walk. But I know, if I stop running now, it will be only harder to get back running again. And if I start walking, it would take me much longer to get to the finish line. I keep pushing myself. But then there is also this urge for the toilet. An excellent excuse for just a little break. But I would have to get past Lake Herschel to go into the bush. A sign says 7km to go and I weer off into the bush to crouch down and drop some weight. It felt good to bend my knees. When I got back onto the road a few runners had past me, including two women. But before the next drink station I passed one of them again and I stayed on the heels of the other one. As long as she could run, I would, too. A couple of hundred meters before the bagpiper all the runners were given a 1-Dollar-coin. Customs wants it, that we hand it over to the bagpiper. On my way to the bagpiper I hold on tight to the coin, not to lose it, while I grab Johnny out of my pocket with the other hand to get him some fresh air. He will have to help me on the last four and something kilometers. As he looks as fit and cheerful as always, I had no doubt, that he would make it. We drop our coin into the bagpiper's box. Then 4km to go, then 3km to go, then 2km to go and I pass the woman. 1,5km to go and I pass another runner. I know that the other runners feel just as I do. But I have Johnny. The finish line is close. Johnny pretends to be jumping up and down and clapping his hands. At least I imagine so, which gives me the energy to accelerate just a little.

Just before quarter to ten I cross the finish line with a smile. I can't believe it, I did it again. I have just completed my third marathon, a very scenic marathon. It is not my best time, but yet a great achievement considering all circumstances. And it certainly was a great and unique way of seeing Rottnest Island.

At half past ten, Senta (my sister) started for the 5km fun run, which left me just enough time to rest a little before taking over her bag and my jacket. The day before we had met some other Swiss participating the fun run, and with a nice t-shirt on offer for the participants, she spontaneously signed up, too. For not having trained at all (it must be in the family), she did extremely well, too. Good on you!


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