Firstly, this isn’t a political blog. It’s about running with MS, a small tumour called Nigel and a brain that is ever so slightly out of whack. But no man is an island and recent events have added greater impetus to how I spend the time I have left. All of us are counting down to the end. For some of us that clock is louder and may jump a few steps ahead with little warning.
With limited options ( I can’t drink myself catatonic, I have kids that deserve a semi sane father etc) I have taken to exercise and (hopefully) evidence based nutrition. I get that my kids call me the ‘sugar nazi’ and I look forward to the day when they realise asking them to eat less cake is in no way comparable to Belsen but I digress.
In a week where Trump finally got his little hands on the big nuclear codes and Theresa Maybe outlined her plans for BrExit, a prosaic thought entered my head which may affect the next couple of years of races. We live in a connected world that will become less connected in a couple of years time. I have run in Ireland and Italy and have done the Barcelona Triathlon for a number of years now. Tourist events have always been the most challenging and the most fun. Not speaking any language apart from English there is something magnificently stupid flying somewhere and trusting to luck. It simply isn’t true that ‘everyone speaks English these day’ as I found out to my cost when the Barca Tri had shifted its racking area and I really didn’t know where to go…
But I digress (AGAIN). I am 5o this year and was considering whether I should throw caution to the wind and sign up for the Great Ethiopian Run. It is considered one of the great Great runs, if that makes sense, and it seemed a wonderful late 2017 celebration of my birthday if I make it that long as a viable entity (terms and conditions may change). The problem, as always, is medical insurance. Africa poses its own challenges for travellers and as a man with multiple sclerosis, a Nigel and zzzzzzzzzz.
I know dull, I do go on about it :). Insurance for Ethiopia would be difficult and expensive to cover everything. The risks of running a high altitude race with insurance exclusions seem daft even by my levels of stupidity.
BUT I DIGRESS AGAIN. I got to thinking that maybe Europe was enough for me. Then I got to thinking that maybe Europe was about to become my new limit. Because Theresa Maybe is about to add not just unnecessary trade barriers, nor restrict freedom of movement beyond what any sentient being might think the referendum indicated. Nope she is going to take us to a place outside the EU (fine, done deal) AND outside the European Economic Area (EEA) too.
EU, EEA erm…..It seems such a minor thing. An extra letter on another acronym. However for this aging scrawny bag of bones it is meaningful. The European Economic Area is not the EU and was not on the ballot paper. The EEA is the area in which the Agreement on the EEA provides for the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital within the European Single Market. That’s all the EU members. And a few other countries too. But apparently we are leaving it anyway.
So what Rusty? The E111 European Health Insurance Care, the EHIC, that’s what. The EHIC which creates reciprocal health care arrangements throughout the EEA, not just the EU. If we leave the EU there are many futures. If we leave the EEA as well one of those futures includes travel insurances premiums looking hotter than that final 5k sprint on Selva de Mar…
BrExit might be a fantastic adventure. But it’s difficult to get adventurous when you can’t get affordable travel insurance.