Nov 14, 2014

Last night I attended the local Randwick City sporting awards. I was very pleased to discover I was one of two who were inducted into the city’s Sporting Hall of Fame. The other was Michael Cheika, coach of the Wallabies. It was also a pleasure to meet many of the region’s young sporting talent – names we’re going to hear a lot more of in the future.

My Achilles was fantastic today. But I resisted the urge to go faster and further. I think I’ve learned my lesson.

Kevin Carr is now 1,341 km behind where I was after 473 days. He has another 148 days to make up the difference (on top of the distance I ran in my final 148 days). If he does, it will be an amazing and very worthy achievement, given Kevin is running unsupported. Even if he doesn’t set an outright record for the ‘fastest”, he will still be the first and fastest unsupported runner to circumnavigate the Earth on foot.

Other world runners have been involved in their own activities. Tony Mangan ran a 5 km race on the weekend in 33 minutes – pretty good for two weeks after finishing four years of running at a much slower pace. And Jesper Olsen is currently half way through a six day race in Florida. As I write, Jesper has covered 430 km in just over 83 hours and is in first place, leading by 4 km. Personally, I reckon a six day race is far harder than running around the world – you don’t get any sleep.


On This Day


Nov 14, 2012

Sorry folks, I’ve had to take another day to get organized, ahead of the run across Argentina. I’ll definitely be back on the road tomorrow.

There was plenty of drama yesterday, as we drove the Chilean hire car back to Santiago. It all started well, and we made good time to the border. The Chilean border experience wasn’t too bad, although we had to get documents stamped at four different windows and then have the car inspected. We initially stood in line for 20 minutes behind a bus load of passengers, before being told we should be in another line.

Once we got down the mountain, we hit the freeway to Santiago. We had to pass through two toll booths – but, of course, we’d exchanged all our Chilean money days earlier. We had nothing to pay with, and they didn’t take credit card. At the first booth, a kind officer agreed to exchange some Chilean pesos for Argentinean pesos. That got us through the first booth, but then we reached another. A line quickly formed behind us, and there was a mass of honking. We did find the equivalent $1.20 in old Chilean coins (about one-third of the toll), and the officer let us through to avoid more anger from cars behind.

That was all very stressful, but the real fun was about to begin. After the GPS led us up one wrong road, we returned the car to the airport without incident and checked in for our flight back to Mendoza. However, because Australia makes Argentineans pay a fee to enter Australia, there is now a reciprocity fee. It has only recently been invoked, and there are many teething problems. We didn’t know we had to pay it, but were happy to when told.

The problem is, however, it can only be paid by the internet ahead of arrival – no exceptions. The very helpful Aerolineas Argentinas staff took us downstairs to their office, so that we could pay via the internet. However, the web site was down, and we were unable to make the payment. The panic was starting to set in. All our luggage was back in the hotel room in Mendoza. We had nothing in Santiago but the clothes on our back, and we looked like being refused the right to fly.

Just then, another Australian – a young guy from Bellingen, via Manly, called Tyler – showed up with the same problem. He must have brought us all luck, as the web site suddenly started working, and we all got our reciprocity fees paid in time and made our flight (and had a great view from the plane of Aconcagua – all 7 km high of it). Many thanks to the staff at the airport for their help, including Danny, who spent 22 years working in Auckland.

We then picked up the new hire car in Mendoza, and again had great help from Gerardo. He also helped us with other issues this morning. And to top it off, we also had fantastic help from Daniel at the Mendoza tourism office today. We think we’re pretty much sorted now.

One problem will be the remoteness during the next week or so. It will not be easy finding hotels along the run route, and there may be days where I am unable to post the daily blog report.

On other matters, thanks also to Jimbo for updating the route maps (see Journey), including a new South America map.

And I’d like to revive the old Red Wine Value Quotient (RWVQ) concept. However, this time, I’d like to add a restaurant category. As we all know, wine costs more in restaurants, so the value quotient will always appear lower. But this is somewhat unfair. The other night we had a Santa Julia syrah. It’s a local Mendoza offering – a beautiful wine with a great body – and it only cost about $10 at the restaurant. Given that I rated it an 8 out of 10, this gives it a RWVQ of 51.2. Although this is not as high as the $1.73 wine from a supermarket we had in California (I can’t remember its name now), it is excellent for a wine purchased in a restaurant. Then again, Mendoza is simply great value for wine, full stop.

Tune in tomorrow for a proper run update.


Nov 14, 2013

Latest news: I have accepted the role of Oxfam’s Ambassador for the organization’s 100K Trailwalker events. One of the responsibilities will be to speak to and inspire participants ahead of each of the four Australian based events: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth.

I will also be participating myself in the Melbourne event next May. This is the “next running challenge” I alluded to recently. My team of four will be aiming to complete the very tough course in around 15 hours. I’ll keep you apprised of developments over the coming months.

I have also given several talks in the past week about the world run, and I’m looking forward to the Australian of the Year Awards next Monday. Stay tuned for that one.