Aug 27, 2014

Thank you to all those who congratulated me on attaining the milestone of ten years without a day off from running.

Some have asked what I did when I was sick during that time. The simple answer is, I haven’t been sick in the past ten years – at least not sick enough that I couldn’t run. Sure, I’ve had the odd sniffle or tummy bug, causing me to feel below par. Sometimes I reduced my distance for the day when not feeling 100%. But I still ran.

A good example is a day in southern France during the world run. I’d eaten something the night before that didn’t agree with me. I was on the toilet every half hour throughout the night, losing the entire contents of my stomach. I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to run the next day. In the morning I awoke feeling very drained. However, that wasn’t excuse enough not to run, despite atrocious weather conditions. I got through a mountainous 50 km that day, glad I didn’t succumb to the temptation to have a day off.

Although just anecdotal, it has appeared to me that the more often I run, the less often I seem to feel ill. I have heard of supposed evidence that regular exercise strengthens the immune system. My case is certainly consistent with this claim.

As readers know, I don’t take payment for comments on this blog. However, I’m always willing to mention new products that I feel might be of value to runners. Awareness is important. It’s then up to the individual to decide whether the product is of use to them.

On this occasion, I would simply like to make people aware of a new alert system called React Sidekick. It’s a small, easily carried “button” that pairs with an app on your smartphone. In case of an emergency, a single push of the button will alert whoever you have set up the system for. It would seem to be a great addition for people running in remote or dangerous areas, or late at night etc.

Now, I want to make it clear that I have not tried the product and cannot vouch for it – I’m just letting people know about the existence of the product, in case it’s something you feel could be of benefit. If you feel it may be, you’ll have to make your own judgement. You can read more about the product on https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robbmonkman/the-react-sidekick-changing-the-way-people-call-fo


On This Day


Aug 27, 2012

Distance today = 51.69 km; Total distance = 10,671.03 km; Location = Loretto, Tennessee – 35 05.471′ N, 87 25.480′ W; Start time = 0811, Finish time = 1623


I had another interesting adventure this morning. Five kilometres after starting, I reached a long bridge over a river between Muscle Shoals and Florence. To my horror, there was not even an inch of shoulder on the road. The only way I could get across was to run in the traffic lane. But it was peak hour on a Monday morning and the traffic was very thick. How was I going to get across a kilometre long bridge in these conditions? For those unaware, the rules do not allow me to get in a car or use any other means – I have to get across on foot, or go the long way around by finding another road.

I discovered there was a No Pedestrians sign, but I hadn’t seen that at first. So I waited for a break in the traffic (luckily for me, there was a traffic light just up the road, so there were thirty second breaks in the traffic every few minutes), and sprinted across the bridge, looking back regularly. When the lights changed and the traffic started coming at me again, I’d jump up on the rail of the bridge and make myself scarce. The cars were only missing my knees by about 20 cm. Needless to say, I was relieved to finally make it across.

Later I ran through a beautiful section of forest. The problem all day, however, was that there was no shoulder and no sidewalk. My ankles are a bit sore from jumping into rough grass all day. And I even saw a large dead snake on the road, so there was definitely danger lurking in the grass.

I eventually crossed over into Tennessee again. I’m now in Davey Crockett territory. Soon after, we stopped for lunch outside a petrol station. The staff, Pat and Roger, were very nice and invited us in from the heat to have our lunch.

All in all, it was an enjoyable day of running. The lower temperatures really make a big difference, even if it is still in the low to mid 30s C.

PS My Garmin froze during the day and the only option was to turn it off and on (in effect, a computer that had to be rebooted). After downloading the data, the points where it froze and restarted were identified, and Google Earth was used to measure the missing distance as 1.37 km. This has been added back in to the total distance.


Aug 27, 2013

Distance today = 53.90 km; Total distance = 25,463.92 km; Location = Glenrowan, Victoria – 36 27.847’ S, 146 13.430′ E; Start time = 0841, Finish time = 1722


Another day of beautiful weather, through equally beautiful countryside. The fields were again a mixture of yellow and green, full of canola and wheat.

After I passed through the town of Devenish at the 10 km mark, I didn’t see another town until the end of the day, when I reached Glenrowan. This is the town where Ned Kelly was captured in 1880, after a marathon siege and shootout with police. There is much in the town to remind you of this.

Thanks to all those who have donated to Oxfam recently. Donation activity certainly appears to be on the increase, as I approach the finish.