Jul 28, 2014
I ran my final time trial of Centennial Park this morning, prior to the City to Surf. Three weeks ago I’d run 14:10. Today I was hoping to crack the 14 minute barrier, something I haven’t done since well before I began my run round the world. I almost managed it – clocking 14:00 exactly.
I have three intermediate time checks around the course, and I was consistently a few seconds faster at each. There was a strong wind blowing, which probably added a couple of seconds and prevented me from going just under the 14 minutes, if that’s any consolation.
This was the fourth time I’ve tested myself around Centennial Park since June 5. On that occasion I ran 14:45, subsequently bringing it down to 14:33, 14:10, and now 14:00. That’s more than a 5% improvement since early last month. I was hoping for better, but it’s not too bad.
Tomorrow I’ll be interviewed at home by ESPN, the big sports cable network in the US. This will eventually go into the documentary ESPN will be making about my world run.
Finally, congratulations to Michael Shelley on a great, and somewhat surprising, win in the Commonwealth Games marathon. It was fantastic television, watching as he slipped back during the middle of the race as the Africans surged, only to claw his way back and finally power ahead to win the race. He was running at least twice as fast as I was during the world run.
On This Day
Jul 28, 2012
Distance today = 41.25 km; Total distance = 9855.22 km; Location = St Louis, Missouri – 38 38.093′ N, 90 11.123′ W; Start time = 0853 Finish time = 1528
I ran a relatively short day of 41 km into St Louis, as Hannah arrived this morning. She will travel with us for the next nine days as I make my way down to Memphis.
A few kilometres into the day I stumbled upon a local fun run, the Mud Mountain Race. I got talking to one of the race directors, Mike, and we had a photo taken and exchanged details. Later, by complete coincidence, I passed Mike’s home just as he was arriving back. He gave me another drink and ran with me for a while. It’s always nice to interact with other runners from the regions I run through.
Soon after, however, it started to get really industrial. Oil refineries, huge piles of coal, grain silos, train lines, barge traffic on the river – and a strong smell of crude oil and other petrochemicals.
I did run past the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. The Missouri didn’t appear any wider here than when I passed over it in Pierre, South Dakota. Nor did the Mississippi downstream (after the two rivers had merged) appear any wider than in Minneapolis-St Paul. The drought must be having a real effect.
Much of my running today was again on bike trails. One of them went for miles along the Mississippi levee. Here’s a bit of trivia for you. Some readers are probably familiar with the Led Zeppelin song When the Levee Breaks from their fourth album. This song was actually written, not in 1971, but in 1929 by Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy, in response to the great Mississippi floods of 1927. So, today I got to run along the Mississippi levee which ultimately led to Robert Plant singing “Mean old levee, taught me to weep and moan.”
Running on bike trails is a two-edged sword, as these trails often mean missing out on shops and petrol stations where I can get a drink. I survived, however, and am now in St Louis, not far from the big arch. I did have a slight stumble, which aggravated my hamstring attachment tear. Although the injury doesn’t hurt while running (thankfully), it does hurt a lot in the mornings when I get up, particularly when I’m sitting. I’m not overly concerned about it, though.
Jul 28, 2013
Distance for today = 55.54 km; Total distance = 23,881.97 km; Location = Melrose (13 km north of) – 32 43.905’ S, 138 09.419′ E; Start time = 0828, Finish time = 1702
What a beautiful day!!! I reckon it was a reward for yesterday’s hard work and struggle.
The day started with sad goodbyes to Jeff and Michael. We have travelled with them for the past month, living together in very close quarters. It has been an absolute delight, and we’ve had such fun. The contribution they’ve made to the world run has been invaluable.
We also said goodbye to Caroline and Tony, who delivered Carmel’s car to us yesterday. They travelled to Adelaide with Jeff and Michael, to catch a flight back to Sydney. Their contribution is also greatly appreciated.
Eric and I then set out to travel south, down the east side of Spencer Gulf. We had a great tailwind today, almost as strong as yesterday’s headwind. Eric ran another 24 km, before heading back to Adelaide in his hire car. He ran a total of 105 km with me over three days. That actually puts him in second position on the aggregate list. There is a very tight (or, as Goldmember would say, “toit”) race for second. The Honour Roll now looks like the following: Chook 272, Eric 105, Jeff 102, Barry 100, Dave 99, followed by The Hud, Silvia, and Grace. It will be very interesting to see how it all pans out. The single day record currently belongs to Eric with 56.28 km, but there are guys with their eye on that one. Will it be Dave or The Hud to break it next, or maybe a dark horse like Chips or Reefton Humblewood?
Anyhow, once Eric left, I started a long climb into the southern Flinders ranges, near Mt Remarkable. At 500 metres of vertical ascent, and with gradients of up to 18%, it was the biggest climb I’ve run since the Pyrenees. The views were magnificent, both on the way up and down. This is a very beautiful part of the country, and I’m going to love running through it over the next few days.
Mid afternoon I passed through the quaint rustic town of Wilmington, and Carmel and I had a pie each for lunch. It was delicious, and a match for the pie I had in Dunedin more than eighteen months ago. It is in the mix for the title of best meat pie I’ve ever eaten.
Tonight it’s down to just four, as Jane and Peter are still with us. Peter is cooking tonight, and that’s always something to relish.