In La Ciudad, I get an invitation from the local tourism ministry. Word must have got around that my posts are the perfect promotion. After another 46 kilometres through hilly forests, I arrive in El Salto, where I get a hotel and a meal at the invitation of the prefecture.
When I run out of El Salt the next morning, I am accompanied by the local running club, which has brought along a dog called La Coqueta. La Coqueta is a street dog who loves to run and every now and then accompanies the running club on its tours. When the last runner turns back after half a marathon, La Coqueta continues to accompany me. I try unsuccessfully to send her back and so we run 50 kilometres that day and when I pitch my tent for the night, she lies down in front of it.
In the morning La Conqueta is still there and so we walk another 50 kilometres together. In the meantime, the story about La Conqueta has made the news and the closer we get to the city of Durango, the more runners and cyclists join us. At times there are over 100 people, followed by a caravan of honking cars and accompanied by a police car in front. La Conqueta enjoys the attention and the hustle and bustle and so we run into Durango and are welcomed in front of the cathedral. After giving more than 15 interviews, I am put up in a suite on the top floor of the Hotel Casablanca, with a magnificent view over the old town. Forest Gump Real is on television.
In the morning, about 80 runners accompany us, singing and partying. In the meantime, we have found a family in El Salt who will adopt the dog. We run another 15 kilometres together and then it’s time to say goodbye. La Conqueta gets on a pickup truck and is taken the 130 kilometres back to El Salto, where she receives a hero’s welcome with a medal and her own dog house. A TV station does its own feature on La Conqueta, Mexico’s most famous dog.
By now, I am welcomed almost everywhere by the mayor and even a small town like Nombre de Dios still brings 15 runners to accompany me to the district border, where the next group is already waiting. By now everyone knows me here and the cars stop and I have to take selfies all the time. There is a crazy reception in the small town of Vincente Guerrero. People are standing along the street cheering me and there are a few hundred people in the square to welcome me. It is unbelievable.