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The prologue - evaluation

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

The run

We have run through Tunisia, from north to south in addition to the desert, the bulkhead and some oases. For the run we needed 27 days. But our stay here was a little longer.

At the beginning there was a viral infection, which prevented us to start running already one week earlier. We were able to train lightly at the end of the week, but long sessions were out of the question.

Even when we could finally start, we had to keep our stages shorter than planned. Towards the end of the prologue, a 30 kilometer unit per day then proved to be practicable.

These stages are also strenuous, depending on the form of the day, but have no negative effects on the form of the next day. Neither the legs, nor the cardiovascular system are too much stressed. Nevertheless, having to run, especially at the beginning when the end is not foreseeable, is difficult for the psyche. For me, there was also another problem.

My very different heart rates on similar runs are either due to faulty technique, or are due to fatigue. Against this speaks that on the last two days, when the cumulative effort was highest, my average heart rate was lowest at about 115 bpm. However, perhaps I have always had the differences (between 110 and 155 on average), but they have not been noticed due to lack of technical means. At least I don't feel any different, and even with recorded highs around 180bpm I can still talk calmly. A phenomenon that I still have to observe.

The logistics of the company and the implementation of our communication ideas take up far more space than we thought, and we are simply too tired or flat for some tasks that we thought could easily be done on the side. You can't always fit another handkerchief into a suitcase. When it is full, nothing works anymore. (For mathematicians n+1).

The logistics

We carry our clothes, medicines, blankets, food and supplements, drinks, technology and communication in the bus. When we stop in the evening, we have to clean out some of it and pack it again the next day. This includes cooling our refrigeration units and doing laundry. We need, at least occasionally, accommodations with freezers and washing machines. Because of this, we have already taken to booking overnight stays for two days, and driving ourselves back or forward to the next start. This also helps mentally. A daily change brings more stress.

Plus grocery shopping, cooking, or finding a restaurant.

Over dinner we can then discuss, and share our information via Facebook or Instagram. Occasionally we are guests of people we have met along the way and then talk about their activities, wishes and thoughts for the future. Ideally, this results in a post on our website written by them.

Afterwards, Mareike again briefly summarizes her impressions of the day for herself, in order to use them later as the basis for a publication. Personally, I hope that the little information on Facebook will be enough for me to recall the pictures later.

In the morning we weigh ourselves as the first activity (weight, fat percentage, muscle percentage, water balance). The data obtained, and the data of our tour such as distance, altitude difference, speed, pulse, sleep time, stress and other factors can then be viewed online by the team of the University of Paris.

We meet with this team once a week via video to exchange observations and impressions that go beyond mere data. The entire run and its influence on the body will be scientifically evaluated later.

We are sure that part of the logistics can be done by teams on site. So whoever wants to join us is welcome. We still have some times open.

The communication

Communication is at the heart of our business. Understanding people and cultures. Running is not an end in itself, even if the importance of sport as part of our active life is an important element of our message. Running, and the direct contact, help us to know our environment better and more intensively.

We not only want to talk about our encounters, which we do via the social channels Facebook and Instagram, but also via our blogs and photos on our website, but also try to let our contacts speak directly and unfiltered. You can find the relevant articles in the blog under "Voices and People" at

Of course, our questions are already filters, but they are open to many interpretations.

We are interested in the lifestyles, desires and ideas of our encounters.

In addition to our own channels, we also inform the media about the progress of our company. This information should not only go through German media partners, but should be scattered internationally as far as possible.

This is a mammoth task, both in terms of content and time. Therefore, we try to work with teams and individuals who share our interest and take on some of the tasks in their country.

The more the meetings are reported, the more it helps mutual understanding.

It became clear to us after the prologue that it is not only interesting to let the intellectual and artistic elite have their say, but the population in a broader sense.

The personal reports then result in a carpet of different thoughts and life plans. What this carpet will look like is the result of our tour, and not predictable. This open approach prevents the stabilization of one's own image.

In the weeks of our prologue we have had to realize that we cannot keep up the frequency of our own descriptions. As a result, our own blogs do not appear regularly, and certainly not with the frequency that was planned before the start of the trip.

Art and culture

During our stay in Tunisia, we were able to see several exhibitions, both in public spaces and in galleries and museums. In addition, one is constantly confronted with art in hotels and on streets, squares and traffic traffic circles. In Djerba, we also met members of the state's purchasing commission, which buys works of art by contemporary artists for 1.8 million dinars per year, and travels to almost all regions of the country for this purpose.

To convey the entire impressions is of course not possible and the reproduction of art in the media doubtful.

We were struck by the interest in the public photo exhibition in downtown Tunis, with sometimes impressive photos in response to very specific questions such as: How do we imagine ourselves in this world? What are the possibilities and limits of the world we have built and in which we live? Are our bodies places of power? The individual answers were sometimes very concise.

An exhibition at the Mille Feuilles Gallery of works by artist Faten Rouissi was titled "Correspondances du Temps Present" with large-scale paintings and installations in La Marsa dealt with our central theme of communication. Large-scale color schemes gave the work an idea of vastness.

In the exhibition hall B7L9, the works of Myriam Boulos were on display on the second floor under the title "Fantasmes". In normal bedrooms, she showed the, partly revealing, photos of young women from different regions, who told their sexual fantasies in accompanying texts, in a depth and openness that immediately captured us viewers. Hats off to such courage and the insights into the female imagination.

In the same exhibition hall, on the first floor, there were installations in small huts, surrounded by sand, each showing specific places at different times, or giving places a special meaning.

In the associated cinema hall, a long shot of a beach was running at the time. We sat in the sand as participating observers.

The basic idea that art knows no borders, even if regional influences are always incorporated into it, has been reinforced.


I did not expect much new in Tunisia, but I was proven wrong. The unclear and difficult political situation in the republic, the only functioning democracy in the Arab region, was relatively rarely a topic in our discussions. This was more the case with external observers.

Most of the meetings dealt with the economic situation, mostly not even with the own, and with the plans in the near and medium future. The enthusiasm of the youth was striking, especially the young students. The openness and cordiality with which we were received, and the willingness to give open information about themselves, even about detailed questions of life, was stunning. Perhaps our form of movement helped us in this.

The willingness to help us even at night with a small dental problem would be difficult to imagine in the opposite case.

When we asked an interlocutor if he wanted to visit us alone or with his swim team in Germany, the answer was: "Gladly, if there is no war in your country. A war probability for Germany is seen here rather than with us. I at least was quite perplexed about the answer.

Incidentally, it is thought that this winter many visitors come from Europe, because you can not heat in our country. It is amazing what information in the region, how are received when the media filter and think generalists. Although no one expressed the desire to urgently want to go to Europe, many already had intensive contact or were already there; either because they had studied there, or part of the family lives there.

But when you sit at the table with them in the evening as a guest, Europe is far, and the field and the family very close. Then the air smells of freedom and the stars illuminate the private happiness of the moment.

What results are incorporated into our planning?

We can better classify our running ability. Even if we subtract the influence of the disease, we will not be able to run more than 200 km a week in the future. That means about 800 to 900 km a month.

Thus, our first assumed planning becomes invalid. So we will run the crossing in stages. Either in two or three sections. This is firstly because of the physical effort and secondly because of our other occupations, which we also have to take care of. Our daily bread and the financial possibilities to be able to afford this cultural reportage demand it.

We will have to focus differently and, if we want to maintain our planning, we will have to rely on external help. This help should consist of support teams that can take over certain tasks, as there are: Logistics on site and media and communication support in each country. Anyone who would like to help us please contact us.

Functionally, we will also change some things. The escort bus will be equipped differently, and much of what we thought was important will stay at home.

Basically remains:

We want to continue and finish this project. That was not always certain in the initial phase.

We will suffer and doubt, always lifting ourselves up from our encounters and support from home.

Per Aspera ad Astra.

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1 Comment

Anja Kirig
Anja Kirig
Nov 25, 2022

Thank you both very much for your many and varied impressions.

And thank you for reminding me that the image I have - through the media or existing encounters - of another region, another culture or even another country should always be reviewed, questioned and supplemented. This is why a change of perspective, global communication, is so valuable. And the principles of slow travel are so important for us all. 🌍

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