"First Lady Cup" fun run

Dili Travel Blog

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The podium Timor style

The excitement around Dili this week has been the “First Lady Cup”.  This is a fun run sponsored by the “First Lady” of Timor, Prime Minister Gusmau’s wife, Mrs Gusmau.

 

It is a 10km run or a 5km walk and the monies raised goes to the local disabled charity.  Part of the fun is that they are amongst those competing in the race, all there on their 3-wheeled bikes with the runners and the walkers.

 

Once again I had expected to be in the mix with the organisation since the start/finish line was outside the Government Palacio and the is Dili’s main road.

 

Think again Chad, you’re only the main traffic dude so you don’t need to know anything!

 

I enjoyed my breakfast as I do every working day and discussed who was going to be participating from our contingent.

Disabled competitor
  We had two runners, Rowan and Tim, plus Kirsty, who was doing the walk with the folk from her community project.

 

I was picked up and we drove into town.  I had heard already, from Nigel who had dropped the three competitors off, that there was some issue with the road blocks not being put in place at 6.30am as planned.  Someone had decided that since it didn’t start until 8am they’d go down and stop the traffic at 10 minutes to.  Naturally they failed to account for the setting up of the festivities, the porta-loos, and the official start/finish rope.

 

But that’s Timor for you, everything just rolls along.  By the time Lim steered our wagon onto the main road the blocks had been put in place and we were detoured around the Palacio.  Being a Sunday morning the roads were pretty empty anyway.  Locals go to church so the only real traffic is the UN vehicles.

 

After we got to the office and checked the e-mails to see what drama had occurred overnight (if any) I grabbed my camera and walked back to the event.  It was about 8.

to the finish line
30am and the first ones should be heading home by now if they’d started on time.

 

My timing could not have been more perfect.  I wandered about for a couple of minutes taking some snaps and then saw Rowan approaching the line.  She was the first of the women so we Kiwi’s were able to revel in her glory –the fastest woman in Timor Leste!

 

A couple of minutes later I snapped Tim crossing the line.  Not the glorious position that Rowan had achieved but as far as I was concerned a better run than I was ever going to do.  We soon became a tight little cluster of Kiwis as the NZ Aid staff joined us. 

 

The whole thing was very exciting and even more so since our girl featured so prominently.

 

I was hoping to stay and see Rowan get her prize but I was meant to be working and you can never assume things are going to happen in a timely way here.  I headed back to the office just after the band started playing.  I was a little bummed about that too, they were pretty good.

The Kiwi competitors

 

Apparently Rowan received her lovely trophy from the First Lady and had her photo taken with the Prime Minister.  The second woman home was a local girl that had won last year. 

 

The first few men were all locals but I was sorry to hear not too many Timorese had entered, most of the entrants were soldiers (NZ or Aussie being the only two forces here) or UNMIT personnel.  Looking at the event being in it’s 5th year though, it’s a terrific thing to have for the country.

 

In a couple of months I’ll be overseeing the traffic plan for the Tour de Timor, a five day mountain biking challenge with a US$50 000 prize pool.  That should put the little country on the world stage in a positive light.

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The podium Timor style
The podium Timor style
Rowan coming in - first woman
Rowan coming in - first woman
Disabled competitor
Disabled competitor
to the finish line
to the finish line
The Kiwi competitors
The Kiwi competitors
The band
The band
Cool drinks
Cool drinks
Goodies
Goodies
2nd placed woman
2nd placed woman
The crowd
The crowd
Mike congratulates Tim
Mike congratulates Tim
Orange is fun
Orange is fun
Dili
photo by: jose28