Jul 5, 2013
Distance for July 3 = 53.04 km; Total distance = 22,516.71 km; Location = Cocklebiddy – 32 02.300’ S, 123 05.871′ E; Start time = 0754, Finish time = 1541
Distance for July 4 = 67.64 km; Total distance = 22,584.35 km; Location = Madura (24 km west of) – 31 55.730’ S, 126 44.717′ E; Start time = 0803, Finish time = 1751
Distance today = 44.18 km; Total distance = 22,628.53 km; Location = Madura (20 km east of) – 31 54.536’ S, 127 13.429′ E; Start time = 0800, Finish time = 1456
The Nullarbor is living up to its reputation for being remote. I have had another three days without internet or mobile phone reception. And it will probably continue intermittently for a while yet.
The past few days have seen the vegetation become more and more sparse. There are very long stretches of road with almost nothing to look at, but I still find it strangely beautiful. At the very least, it’s a unique landscape.
Jeff and Michael have been running a few kilometres with me at the end of each day. They’re doing well, considering neither has run for years. Jeff actually ran 10 km with me on Thursday – his longest run since the 70s.They’re also taking turns cycling, and Michael rode 66 km from Caiguna to Cocklebiddy. They play each of the Nullarbor golf holes several times when they get in to a town. In Caiguna a crow stole two of their balls, which is not so unusual. The fact the crow, (or perhaps a different one) returned one of the balls by flying over our camp and dropping it, is unusual – an apologetic crow.
I had an interesting episode on Wednesday. I was running along the completely deserted highway, when I noticed an entourage about a kilometre ahead. It didn’t take me long to realise it was Shane Crawford, who is cycling from Melbourne to Perth, in support of breast cancer research. He has quite a big entourage with him, including a film crew from the AFL Footy Show. As I ran up to them, the cameras started rolling. Shane conducted an impromptu interview with me. I believe this appeared on the show’s Facebook site, and on the Footy Show itself on Thursday night. It was great to see such a group on the Nullarbor – quite incongruous to have so many people in a place you usually see none.
Thursday saw a ferocious tailwind behind me. I really felt sorry for Shane, who would have been riding into it. It helped me to my second longest day of the world run so far – 67.64 km, which is only 1.2 km short of the day I ran into Palm Springs, California, on March 3 last year.
I was also passed on Thursday by another cyclist, riding from Perth to Melbourne. While it would be an exaggeration to say there are as many cyclists as cars, I’ve been surprised to see so many people living their dream.
Today I passed by the roadhouse of Madura. I was surprised to come to the top of a pass, and run down and escarpment to a lower plain, on which the roadhouse sits. The afternoon was spent running alongside the escarpment, which used to be the coastline, before sea levels dropped during the last ice age. There are thousands of fossilized sea shells scattered all over the ground, as this used to be the sea floor. I had to start ignoring them, as I was getting distracted looking for interesting fossils, instead of concentrating on running.
The Madura caravan park have been very generous in giving us the accommodation for free tonight. I quite like these all-in-one roadhouses, with their restaurants and bars, and we’re all looking forward to a tasty meal tonight.