Mar 17, 2015

Kevin Carr is making good progress around Ireland. He began at Shannon Airport and has run through Limerick, Killarney, Kenmare, and is now near Clonakilty on the eve of St Patrick’s Day. You can follow him directly on www.hardwayround.com.

I’ve pulled up well after last week’s long run. I’ll do another on Thursday, though it’s predicted to be much hotter by then, so it might not be as easy as my run last Friday. The most positive thing about Friday’s run was how well I felt the following day. I reckon I could have easily completed the same run again on Saturday.

I really enjoyed the run last Friday. Being out in the countryside brought back strong memories of my run around the world. The run has also prompted me to add a new regular feature – Greatest Runs I Have Done. I’ll begin today with last week’s run. There will be many days from the world run highlighted in future posts. Interested readers should consider these runs for themselves. You could do a lot worse.

Kiama to Kangaroo Valley (45 km): Starting at the train station in Kiama, I headed out of town to the south. Kiama is a very picturesque seaside town, and runners unfamiliar with the town are encouraged to take in the main street of the town before beginning.

The first few miles are quite hilly. The course flattens out a little on the Kiama Bends, a series of curves in the highway as it rounds the Saddleback Mountain headland, reaching out beckoningly toward the Pacific Ocean far below. However, the road continues to constantly slope upward to the high point of the bends, where the township of Gerringong comes into view. The shoulder is quite narrow in places, and nervous runners should be aware of this.

From there, one enjoys a long downhill, running over the newly constructed overpass, only to head uphill again into Gerringong. This is another lovely seaside town, well worth a visit whether you’re running or not. More rolling hills are a preview to a long descent into Gerroa, at the northern end of the Seven Mile Beach.

This is where the course starts to head inland, turning right to Berry after a few more kilometres. A straight and relatively quiet tree lined back road leads into the ultra quaint town of Berry. On this occasion I lunched on a delicious lentil and mushroom pie from the bakery on the northern side of the main street. It’s the second bakery you come to when approaching from the Sydney direction, on the right side of the road.

Then the run starts to get really hilly. Very soon after leaving town via a right turn at the end of the main street, the road turns up. A 10% gradient for 3 km, followed by a gentler slope for the next 3 km, culminates in cresting the top of Berry Mountain after a climb of nearly 500 metres (1,650 feet) vertical. A short flat plateau at the top is followed by a long and sometimes steep decent into Kangaroo Valley. The whole time on the mountain is spent shrouded in lush forest – a true to joy in which to run.

I finished the day with an undulating jaunt along the spectacular valley floor, amid rustic farmland. The township itself is well known to tourists, and rightfully so. In my case, I was running with a back pack with all my gear, allowing me to stay overnight in the motel across the road from the historic pub – a great place for a beer or wine and pub meal.

In my opinion, this is one of the great long runs one can attempt.


On This Day


Mar 17, 2012

Distance today = 56.87 km; Total distance = 3605.61 km; Location = Mayer, Arizona – 34 23.966′ N, 112 13.807′ W; Start time = 0940, Finish time = 1808


Had a late start today after a fantastic breakfast of Huevos Rancheros at the Happy Hidden Ranch, cooked by owner Govert. This B&B is another gem that any visitor to the region really should stay at. And you get to experience his bar and games room, which is constructed from old train carriages buried underground – a really novel touch. Thanks also to Govert for a special discount – it was greatly appreciated.

I ran for much of today on the I-17, which is a major freeway. Getting on to it proved a little tricky. I had to climb over a barbed wire fence, but the barbed wire fences here in Arizona are sturdier than most. They have vertical reinforcing, so you can’t bend the horizontal sections apart to squeeze through. Consequently, I had to lift one leg completely over the fence at a time. For a brief moment I was suspended with a leg either side of the barbs, the family jewels in distinct danger of being excised. Their survival is a tribute to the few seconds in which I was able to exhibit the agility of an Olympic gymnast.

Today I reached a new high point, not only for the US leg, but for the entire trip. The 1,330 metres I am currently at easily beats the previous high point of 1,100 metres on the Desert Road next to Mount Ruapehu in NZ. But this won’t last long, as I’m heading to the Grand Canyon, and that’s nearly 1,000 metres higher still.

Tomorrow I am heading to Prescott, and the prediction is for snow in that town. At least I won’t have heat and dehydration to worry about.

I received a few Twitter questions in the past day, mainly about the data collection. In short, my GPS watch records exactly where I go each second. This is downloaded to the Garmin site, and all this data can be seen each day by clicking on the link at the top of this blog. The Tom Tracker on this web site, however, works off a signal sent via my i-Phone. It can only send a signal when I have mobile phone reception. Therefore, the tracker will sometimes appear to go AWOL , but it’s just because I don’t have reception. This problem does not afflict the GPS watch data.

Finally, I ran out of GPS battery today, so stopped it at 52.90 km, just before it went dead. I had forgotten my backup GPS, so I immediately invoked Google Maps to measure the distance to my end point as 3.97 km, resulting in a total for the day of 56.87 km.

PS Here’s a funny story for you. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I appeared on Channel 12 TV in Phoenix on Thursday. It was a talk show format, and the video of this should be up on my website in the next few days. Just before my appearance, there was another guy called Joe Nichols appearing. We met him in the “green room” before the show, but didn’t know who he was. Carmel went over to him with her camera and asked him if he’d take a photo of us. He was a little surprised, but we soon found out why. His natural reaction when someone approaches him with a camera is that they want to take a photo of him. You see, he is a major country and western singer in the US, has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, and has toured the world, including Australia last year. It must have been quite a change for him to be asked to take someone else’s photo. He was a really good sport about it, and happily took the photo, and wasn’t fazed in the slightest. We all had a laugh about it later.


Mar 17, 2013

Distance today = 50.31 km; Total distance = 18,070.25 km; Location = Ferme de Saule, France – 47 07.414′ N, 05 06.302′ E; Start time = 0842, Finish time = 1710


It was one of those days, when I just didn’t really feel like being out there. There was steady rain for much of the day, and a bit of a wind blowing. These conditions, coupled with running on a relatively busy road (with no shoulder), made for a less than desirable day for running long distances.

However, I got through my planned 50 km, but stopped at the earliest opportunity after that. These are the days that really count.

After a long hill to start, I reached Le Rochepot, with its amazing chateau (see the photos). Then on to Beaune, which is considered the gastronomic capital of France. It is a very pretty town, with lots of top notch restaurants throughout the streets.

By this stage, I was running in the Cote d’Or, along the Route de Grand Vins, one of the most famous wine regions in the world. The hills were covered with vineyards, as were the plains.

Next was the town of Nuits St Georges. This was also a five star town, and they had a festival on in town. Carmel stopped and got us some escargot for lunch. Yes, it had to happen eventually – we ate snails in the car while it rained outside.

The wind continued to pick up and it was getting colder. I covered another 9 km after lunch, and was very pleased to stop. Unfortunately, there is rain predicted for the next few days.

PS My official position is about 9 km to the east of where the tracker is showing me.