World Run I / Reports
Distance today: 59.0 km (Accumulated: 16050.0 km)
(NB: No gps/gprs signal after road sign "P40". Documentation by logbook,
digital pictures and witness)
(Crew: Peter Gray all stage)
59km, 5:53:30h. Excl. food, water, road-finding, toilet etc. stops.
Time GMT + 10:30 hours (NB: South Australian Time!)
+18c, dark and light wind at start.
20c, grey overcast and medium wind at finish.
- Meeting the New Year.
In the late evening we set off from our last day of enjoyable
accommodation in Ceduna and my hardworking (:-) crew, Peter Gray, drove me
to the start point where I begun my run out into the darkness of the
desert highway leading into a New Year 20km up the road.
A bit before midnight we stopped, moved up the road a bit and celebrated
at the deserted memorial place of Bryan Smith - one of Australia?s
greatest ultra runners through history - who had died out here many years
ago during a desert race ("Race of Fire").
There was a few words said; Peter knew Smith well and had competed with
him for quite a couple of years in the past. It felt right not to just
pass through, but to pay our respects!
And also, I think, served to remind me to be as careful as possible when
running out here in the heat extreme of the world run route.
After a "new years coke" & a bite of a biscuit it was back to where I had
stopped and on into the New Year :-))
Of course the night brought thoughts of the year that had passed.
What had been achieved?
- What had been expected?
- New friendships made.
- Lessons learned.
& and the amazement how well the run has gone so far compared how it could
Around the same time tomorrow I will have done exactly one year of the
World Run, since my start together with the tuff Russian runner Alexander
Korotkov from Greenwich, London, at 12:05 the 1.January 2004.
It?s strange to think about. I doubt I really felt sure I would make it
this far on that rainy day when we set out - despite more than 2 years of
detailed preparation and training camps. (And I actually think that its
important not to take the success for granted; it keeps me on full
concentration, knowing that I have to do my utmost to keep the run going
But its painful that Alexander didn?t make it to here. He had highly
deserved it; both due to his commitment to the run and due to the fact
that I haven?t had a chance to complete (/survive!!) the 10 000km all
through Russia without his perfectionist help and Siberian-planning!!
- My Very Big Wishes of a Good New Year to You, Alexander!!!!
As I ran on and the night clouds cleared to reveal a sparkling carpet of
stars above me, thoughts wandered here and there. To the success of the
run. To the recent victory of the Colac 6day race of course. But again
even more to the feat of making it through the 7months of "Russian Stages".
When people have friendly congratulated me on the Colac win, I have often
wondered if they realised how uncomplicated an effort that was compared to
the daily 50km and especially running out of Siberia in one piece and
without being forced to stop the running like it happened to my two
companions (the Japanese runner, Kazuka, was forced to walk about 2months
before the legs got right again - a hard fight that was too!!)
Colac was the pleasure of smooth running. The daily routine of the world
run is a struggle and negotiation with the mind and body to find just the
right balance to be able to run yet another day. At times I compare it
with how mountaineers describe climbing above 7000m above sea level. The
body starts to deter ate for every minute. About the same seemed to happen
around 8000km into the run. The body seemed to be worn down more and more
for every day that went. Every single km can on the heavy days be a fight
MUCH harder than what I hat to overcome in a race.
- The races are building around you; when running a run like this you have
to strengthen yourself to fit into the changing surroundings whatever
strange they might be.
But the overall impression on this New Years Desert Night is that of
astonishment that the body has allowed me to experience all this. Because
while it truly was a bit hard in Siberia, a bit wet and uncomfortable in
winter Europe, dangerous in Japan and hot in Australia (with more to come
I recon :-) - Then it has by long lengths been a positive experience. Even
in my most positive forecasts of how the run would be I never imagined the
impressions that it has given.
It is as to have been given the events of a full lifespan compressed
within a year. So the question "has it been worth it" - don?t really occur
except ever so often in interviews ;-) :-))
But here under the stars I for a moment fear: "what if you hadn?t dared to
start !" :-)
PS: The daily reports from the Nullabor Desert and adjacent areas will
most likely be delayed 5 - 10 days due to lack of mobile phone signal. We
expect to have the day-to-day postings up to date again when I reach the
area near Perth. My excuses for the delays!
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