Feb 2, 2016

Happy Groundhog Day!!! The reason I mention it is because it holds some significance to me in regard to my run around the world. I passed through Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania just before the halfway mark of the run. Punxsutawney is the origin of Groundhog Day. You can read more about my experience there in The World at my Feet.

I’ve decided to hold off entering the Canberra 50 km Ultra. I just haven’t managed to get motivated enough about it at this stage, but I may still do the race. Not entering now only means I miss out on a $10 early bird discount. To be honest, I don’t have much to achieve at that distance. I have a lot more interest in the six day stage race in the Simpson Desert in late June. It’s just the (nearly) $3,000 entry fee that’s preventing me registering for that one. Whatever I end up doing, it has to feel right. Sometimes you just have to wait until you get that feeling.

Serge Girard has begun his world run in style. He ran 65 km on his first day and appears to have run a similar distance on Day 2. He’s currently in a region of France I cycled in 2007 during a Paris to Rome ride with Dave.

The photo below is of the Colorado River, where I crossed it near the Californian town of Blythe. It was early in my world run, at a time when every day felt fresh and interesting. Soon after I took this photo, however, I was running on an almost non-existent dirt trail which eventually petered out and I had to run briefly on the Christopher Columbus Trans Continental Highway.




On This Day


Feb 2, 2012

Distance today = 52.38 km; Total distance = 1673.54 km; Location = Taotaoroa, NZ –  37 54.871′ S, 175 37.519′ E; Start time = 0904, Finish time = 1645


We had a great BBQ last night with members of the Tauranga Boys College cross country team, including some of the parents. It was great to chat and answer questions, and the hospitality was unprecendented. We then stayed the night with Scott and Kirsty, which was greatly appreciated.

This morning we then returned to the school, and I ran a few laps of the playing fields with the boys (distance not counted in my total), before some photographs with the press. It was all a very pleasant experience, and hopefully I have been able to impart a few pieces of wisdom to the boys as they start their training regime for the upcoming cross country season.

From there it was straight to the point where I stopped yesterday for today’s start. The first 20 km was all uphill to the Kaimai Pass (I kept thinking ‘Kyber Pass’, one of the great examples of rhyming slang ), where I had a great view down into the Waikato Valley.

After a hair-raising descent, it was across the valley floor to my finish point for the day on Taotaoroa Road.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s run into Hamilton, as I’ll be meeting up with Roger “Chook” Evans and members of his running club, who will be accompanying me over the final kilometres. It will be great to have some company again on the run.

Just finally, I read with amusement last year the blog of Nick Hayes and his mates.  They ran from Melbourne to Sydney, competing for the title of who could find the most coins along the way. When running highways it’s amazing how many coins one finds. Well, how about this one Nick – did you ever find a Tongan coin on the road? I guess it might be common in Tonga, but it’s a first for me.


Feb 2, 2013

Distance today = 47.36 km; Total distance = 15,889.96 km; Location = Trujillo, Spain – 39 27.489′ N, 05 52.651′ W; Start time = 1050, Finish time = 1805


It was a very late start to the run today, as we needed to buy Spanish SIM cards for our phones.We had to wait until the shops opened at 10 am, and it then took nearly an hour, but – mission accomplished.

Mobile phones while travelling in Europe are a bit of a pain. Every country has a different system, and once you cross a border, you start paying the exorbitant roaming costs. There is theoretically a way around this, but I am yet to be convinced, having tried a couple of the options. You can buy a single SIM that will allow you to make phone calls in any country, but it’s fraught with catches. I won’t go into the details here, but I can advise on one company to stay as far away from as you can – Exxacta! We bought SIMs from this company, having been told the data costs were 30 cents per MB. Long story short – it turned out the true cost was $20 per MB. They brushed this off with a simple “Sorry, our employee must have told you the wrong price” Duh!!! They didn’t offer our money back, though. Anyhow, we now have basic SIMs that work in Spain. If you ever decide on a multi-country option, I advise you to do your research very well – there are all sorts of hidden traps.

Back to the running. It was a slightly short day, and I’m glad it was, given the late start. I ran all the way on the one road, the N-521, from Caceres to Trujillo (pronounced True-heeyo, the same as the former Telstra CEO – Paul Geason and Jimbo Simpson should appreciate that one). It was a great road to run on – an old highway that has been made redundant by a new freeway. It reminded me a lot of the old highway between Breadalbane and Gunning in NSW. I doubt I was passed by more than twenty cars all day, often running in the centre of the road.

That said, it wasn’t the most interesting in terms of scenery. But the towns, at the beginning and end, made up for what was lacking in interest in between them. Caceres is a must for any visitor to the region, with its history and architecture going back to the Roman times. Trujillo is also worth a look. I am writing this while looking out at the old town, over the balcony of our hotel room. There are certainly worse views to be had!!!