Aug 26, 2022
Yesterday was the 18th anniversary of my last day off from running. I have run every day since Aug 25, 2004, or 6,574 days in a row. I’ve been contemplating bringing that unbroken streak to an end, if that’s what’s required to cure my heel problem. However, I hold hope that such a drastic solution won’t be required.
Lootie arrives in Sydney on Tuesday and I will be attending a function in her honour on Wednesday, arranged by the French Consulate in Sydney. She will still run a brief stint in NZ to satisfy the WRA’s antipodal requirement (running at opposite points of the Earth), but she is essentially at the end of her run around the world.
My own world run memories for today are from my time running from Melbourne to the north of the state. This included a few days with Dave in the support crew. He also ran 57 km with me from Nagambie to Tatura.
Aug 23, 2013
Distance today = 51.94 km; Total distance = 25,244.94 km; Location = Broadford – 37 13.671’ S, 145 00.850′ E; Start time = 0847, Finish time = 1645
I now have less than 1,000 km to run until I finish at the Opera House in Sydney. And that will be exactly three weeks from today.
Today was Carmel’s mother’s funeral. I had fully intended to be there, but Dulcie had made it clear that she did not want me to stop the run, and the rest of the family concurred. I could have disregarded her wishes and attended, but that wouldn’t have been the best way to show the respect she deserved. Instead, I dedicated today’s run to her.
Carmel was at the funeral, of course, and Dave acted as support crew for the day. Carmel will be back tomorrow. Dave also managed to run 31 km with me, leapfrogging Jeff into the second place on the aggregate list, but still well short of Chook’s 272 km at this stage.
The run took me north, and over the Great Dividing Range, where I reached an altitude of 500 metres. So far, my run from the city has been the same as I ran in 2009, on my Melbourne to Sydney run. It won’t all be the same, though.
Earlier in the day, I bid farewell to Michael, who has acted as support crew for the past week and a half. He did a fantastic job. I’ll see him and Annie next in Sydney, as they’re flying up for the finish.
One other milestone for the day was the web site reaching three-quarters of a million visits. It would be great if it reached a million by the time I finished, but I’m not sure that will happen.
Aug 24, 2013
Distance today = 55.90 km; Total distance = 25,300.84 km; Location = Nagambie – 36 49.721’ S, 145 08.525′ E; Start time = 0803, Finish time = 1652
I had lots of company today. Soon after starting, I was joined by Darren, who was at the Asia Pacific Digital function on Wednesday night. He used the tracker to find me at the MCG on Thursday, during the Channel 7 interview. He also used the tracker to find me this morning, and ran 16.5 km with Dave and me.
Carmel, Jeff, and Guen then turned up, finding us on a very quiet back road. Carmel had bought the three of us a chunky steak pie each – the perfect food for the road. Darren finished at that point, and Carmel took him back to his car, while Jeff and Guen went ahead to find accommodation for tonight.
Soon after, Davey Drew turned up with his daughter, Mel. He’d also found us via the tracker. It’s certainly proving its worth at the moment.
Dave finished up after 22 km, taking him to an aggregate of 152 km. The rest of my day was then spent on quiet roads, through ever flatter countryside.
I ended at Nagambie, which I last visited in 2002 on the Tour de Bois. On that occasion, we rode in from the west. Reefton Humblewood tried to break away as the finish line neared, and was the first to sprint. I responded, and had just drawn level with Reefton with about 50 metres remaining, happy to ensure he didn’t get the victory. And then, out of the blue, Klitty came flying by on my right, claiming his first victory on the tour. Poor old Reefton was also passed by Dave, Robbo, and Kenny, and again failed to reach the podium.
The unassuming Klitty, never one to talk about himself, had failed to inform us of his glorious past as a former national junior cycling champion. He was even offered a place on a European team in the 70s, but declined because he didn’t think he was good enough. A successful cyclist needs a balance between ability and self-belief, and the self-deprecating Klitty was lacking in the latter. In contrast, there’s Reefton Humblewood – big on self-belief and short on ability. In fact, Reefton still holds the world record for the largest recorded discrepancy between perceived and actual ability.
Anyhow, it was great to once again see the place where Klitty got his first Tour de Bois stage win. What might he have been, had he believed a little more in himself?
Aug 25, 2013
Distance today = 57.21 km; Total distance = 25,358.05 km; Location = Tatura East – 36 26.284’ S, 145 18.824′ E; Start time = 0815, Finish time = 1701
It was a very big day for Dave, breaking Eric’s month old record for the greatest distance run with me in a day. He covered 57 km, which is easily his biggest day of running ever.
The first part of the day was run with Jeff, who was with us for 13 km before Guen picked him up and they headed back to Melbourne. That brings his total to 131 km, putting him comfortably in third place in the Aggregate category. We’ll next see Jeff and Guen on the final day of the run into Sydney.
Lunch was in the town of Murchison, which I last visited in 2007 on the Tour de Bois. There’s a great bakery in Murchison, and we made good use of it.
From there, it was on to Tatura, on a busy and very straight road. My last visit to this town was only two years ago, when I did a big run as part of my training for the current challenge.
Today marked nine years since I’ve had a day off from running. Admittedly, there have been a few very short days of a kilometre or two, but I have managed to average 19.3 km per day over those nine years. I’m sure that sort of consistency is what has allowed me to manage the world run as well as I have.
Anyhow, congratulations to Dave. Today also took him to a total of 209 km, within striking range of Chook’s 272 km in the Aggregate category.
The Hud will be running with me next Thursday. Will he annihilate Dave’s efforts to win the Single Day category, just as Dave has annihilated Eric’s efforts, and as Eric did to Chook before him? We will know soon enough.
Aug 26, 2013
Distance today = 51.97 km; Total distance = 25,410.02 km; Location = Dookie (11 km east of) – 36 21.153’ S, 145 47.650′ E; Start time = 0825, Finish time = 1647
Early this morning I received a visit from Jo Barnes, who has been following the journey since she heard of it via the Rabbitohs at the beginning of last year. She has watched as I have run around the world, finally passing through her town.
Dave headed home this morning. It was good to have him along, and to see him set a new record for the most run with me in a single day.
The day was very flat, and the weather was the best I’ve seen in a long while. I ran through field after field of canola, which was shimmering with a yellowness that was almost blinding. At times, the deep green of the wheat gave the canola a fluorescent lime colour.
I finished the other side of the town of Dookie, where the Tour de Bois has previously stopped for a BBQ on several occasions. On my way out of town, I passed the crest of a hill which brought back memories from two years ago.
On that occasion, as we headed up a gentle hill, Reefton Humblewood made a break, desperate to win a stage. The peloton didn’t react, as there was no way Reefton could stay away for 30 km to the finish of the day. He disappeared over the top of the hill, about 200 metres ahead of the peloton.
When we reached the crest of the hill about 30 seconds later, we could see for 3 km along a straight stretch of road – but there was no Reefton. No-one can ride 3 km in 30 seconds, so we smelled a rat.
We reached the finish at St James, with Jimbo winning the sprint and Lance a strong second. But there was Reefton Humblewood, standing at the finish line, claiming victory.
As it turned out, he had hidden in some bushes until the last cyclist passed by, then stopped a truck and hitched a lift to the finish. Luckily he had been seen by an official who had driven to the finish, only to witness Reefton getting out of the truck.
Needless to say, Reefton was immediately disqualified and fined by the committee. However, as the officials came to realise, getting Reefton to part with his cash is easier said than done. He spent the rest of the tour riding in the peloton unofficially. If the Tour de Bois had a police escort, the officials would have had him forcibly ejected from the course. Instead, he endured the jibes of fellow cyclists for his despicable act of cheating.
I finished the day in sunny and still conditions, having again reminisced on a memorable day from a past Tour de Bois.