Mar 18, 2015

Yesterday I passed a minor milestone. As I mentioned last August, I had at that time gone for 10 years without a day off from running. That’s now up to nearly 10 years and 7 months – 3856 days, to be precise. Since I started that unbroken sequence on August 26, 2004, I have run more than 70,000 km, passing that particular milestone yesterday. Interestingly, I passed the 40,000 km, 50,000 km, and 60,000 km milestones while on the world run.

I have discovered that I’ve been misquoting the distance I’ll be running in the Anzac Ultra. It’s not 140 km. Instead, it’s 150 km. An additional 10 km at the end is not trivial, but I’ll take it in my stride. Tomorrow I’ll be doing another long run in preparation for the race on April 10. Not sure how far, but it will be more than 40 km.

For those who missed it, have a look at the Runner’s World online article about my world run at www.runnersworld.com/40millionsteps.

Today’s instalment of the Greatest Runs I’ve Done series is perhaps the pinnacle of all long runs.

The Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon (~ 35 km) : It is almost three years now since I ran that amazing stretch of road during my run around the world. I had reached the canyon late on the previous afternoon and we’d stayed in Grand Canyon Village. The next morning Carmel and I took a helicopter ride over the canyon, after which I started my run for the day in earnest.

The road leads right along the rim of the canyon on the southern side. The rim is more than 2,000 metres above sea level at this point, and recent snow was visible in many places. But it was a clear and sunny day and perfect for running.

The road itself is often separated from the canyon by trees and bushes, so the Grand Canyon is not always visible while running. However, it’s always close by and can usually be accessed via the plethora of walking tracks that bridge the gap between the road and the canyon. At other places, though, the two are completely adjacent and one can peer into the canyon while running along the road.

The distance of this run depends on where one would like to start and stop. It’s approximately 35 km from the village to where the road deviates away from the canyon. In summary, this run is one of the greats. If you ever get the chance, give it a go, but make sure you have plenty of stops so you can view the canyon from a variety of vantage points.


On This Day


Mar 18, 2012

Distance today = 43.40 km; Total distance = 3649.01 km; Location = Prescott, Arizona – 34 32.514′ N, 112 28.211′ W; Start time = 0945, Finish time = 1605


Today I ran 43 km in a heavy snowstorm.

We woke to a cover of snow, and soon after heading off, the snow resumed and didn’t really let up all day. Sometimes it was light, but much of the time it was very heavy.

I was really enjoying running while it was snowing – until the temperature dropped to well below freezing, my feet got wet and the water in them froze, and the wind picked up and was driving stinging snow flakes into my eyes. I either had to run with my eyes closed, only opening them briefly to catch a glimpse of the road ahead, or run with sunglasses on, which was the other “vision impaired” option.

The other problem I had was when taking off my gloves to answer my phone or check Google Maps to ensure I was heading in the right direction. My hands would get to the painful stage within about ten seconds.

My shoes were frozen solid, including the shoelaces, and it was a great joy to make it to the hotel and hop into a hot bath. However, as many would know, never step straight into a hot bath with freezing feet. It actually took me about half an hour before the pins and needles and itchy feeling subsided.

The weather is supposed to be similar tomorrow, before improving during the week. As I said, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience early on, but novelty has a funny knack of wearing off in the presence of pain and discomfort.

I also reached a new record high elevation for the world run today – 1,735 metres (5,800 feet). That’s almost as high as Alpe d’Huez. This may go higher tomorrow. I still have another 400 metres of elevation rise to go before reaching the Grand Canyon at the end of the week.


Mar 18, 2013

Distance today = 50.67 km; Total distance = 18,120.92 km; Location = Orchamps, France – 47 08.878′ N, 05 39.375′ E; Start time = 0840, Finish time = 1711


A solid day at the office, with a nice morning and not so nice afternoon. After yesterday’s rain, the morning showed glimpses of sunshine, and I was on relatively quiet roads – my favourite sort. I even ran along a path that bordered the Saone River. It was just like running along the levee of the Shoalhaven River.

By early afternoon I’d reached the town of Dole. I had never heard of Dole until yesterday, yet it is a large town with grand old buildings that have really seen some history. France has so many of these “unknown” treasures worth discovering.

I had only run a few kilometres out of Dole when a hail storm hit. I was really lucky, as I had just reached a petrol station that Carmel was filling up at when it started. Honestly, I was about ten metres away from cover when the first stones came down. It didn’t last too long, but I sat it out for about twenty minutes until it eased to rain.

That meant a wet afternoon, but the worst part was the road. The shoulders on the roads in France are atrocious. Actually, they would be atrocious if they existed. On the whole, they are the worst of any country so far on the world run. Contrast that with adjacent Spain, which has the best shoulders for running. Road shoulders and the mobile phone system are the two worst things about France. Everything else I love.

I’m now in the Jura, a part of France I’ve never been in before. So far it looks really good, and I’m looking forward to a couple more days of it as I make my way toward the Swiss and German border.