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Runners of UTGC 2011 in ELT Dogme

Image linked from http://utgc.es/

Today’s dialogue was focussed mainly on EG’s ultra marathon run, a gruelling 176-km trajectory across the central Canarian mountains. He begins at midnight on Thursday, runs practically non-stop until Saturday evening. Before you start counting your fingers, that means he goes through two nights without sleeping. I did ask him once if he could take a nap or something, but his instant reply was that if he did, he wouldn’t wake up!

He explained to me how he had to dress, and the supplies he had to carry with him. Here’s a list of the main things he needs, and some vocabulary he needed help with.

compulsory /kəmˈpʌlsəri/
thermal blanket
one-and-a-half litre
blinking light
mobile phone
contact lenses
dehydration /ˌdiːhaɪˈdreɪʃ(ə)n/
caffeine capsules /ˈkæfiːn ˈkæpsjuːls/
spare batteries
first aid kit
light raincoat
a special rucksack for running, like a waistcoat, without shoulder straps
keep oneself warm
gloves /ɡlʌvz/
experienced /ɪkˈspɪəriənst/
energy cereal bar

EG’s mistakes, typically, are on structures such as modals, comparatives/superlatives, and pronunciation.

modal verbs such as can, could, must, will, would are never followed by ‘to’:

I can run for two nights without sleeping.
He won’t last two hours with that rucksack he’s carrying!

Por is seldom translated to ‘for’, in spite of the similarity in pronunciation!

Tengo que pasar por las montañas.
I have to go through the mountains.

Trabaja por la noche.
He works at night.

Esta canción fue escrita por John Lennon.
This song was written by John Lennon.

Later, the subject of our conversation moved on to the debate between conventional and nuclear power. Here, the structures EG needed to be able to transmit what he wanted to say was substantially more complex. We will attempt this again at a much later date.