So there I am the night before the Outback Marathon, trying to sleep and failing miserably. I check my emails and there’s one from Lee Martin in Adelaide telling me he’s seen the local weather for my area and it’s going to be 32 degrees during the race, so I’d better slap on the factor 50. I get out of my sleeping bag and turn my kitbags inside out in the quest for suncream before I remember that I left it back home in the UK because it’s actually winter here in Australia. Doh! Continue reading Phew Uluru, what a scorcher!
It was like a scene straight out of Crocodile Dundee. I kid you not. The Englishman (me) rolls up at the roadhouse bar where I’m greeted by an old leathery tanned bloke with tight jeans, dirty vest and cowboy hat, Jeffrey the Aborigine and his indigenous mates, and a couple of raucous ‘Sheilas’ (the local women). I’m desperate for an ‘arrival beer’ and ask for a recommendation. “Just don’t drink the VB,” shouts one of the ladies who I learn has spent most her life driving dumper trucks down the local mines. “You know what the VB stands for don’t ya — Vaginal Backwash,” she cackles. I play it safe, leave the Victoria Bitter in the fridge and opt for a Coopers Sparkling instead, which I’ve developed a taste for over here.
Well that was brutal. A night of no sleep followed by a 3.15 interview slot, a 3.30 warm-up and 4am start. My rain dance didn’t work either, as it was predictably dry and humid. I’ve never seen so much sweat before the start of a marathon — everyone dripping, except the Kenyans and Ethiopians. I hadn’t done my research either and discovered that the course was in fact rather undulating too.
The plan was to make sure I got a finish so I started off with the 5:30 pacer (thanks Kin K Yum for the rehydration tablets!) but after 5km I felt ok, so decided to push on a bit. I caught the 5hr pacers at around 10km, still felt ok so thought I’d have a crack at chasing down the 4:30 pacers. I finally caught up with them at 25km by which time my legs were shot, so I was swallowing painkillers, gels, salts, Isotonic drinks and whatever else I could get down. The water I just poured over my head to try and control the body temperature.
The last hour was really tough and I was wishing that I had respected the distance more but was happy to get over the line sub 4:30. According to my watch for some reason I’ve run an extra 400 metres, but it must have been all the wobbling about through the crowds (full to capacity at 36,000). Happy to get a podium shot with the oldest participant in the race, at 69. Looking forward to a good sleep this afternoon, couple of beers tonight and then a flight home tomorrow to see my brood. Whoop, whoop!
11 weeks, 18 countries and 18,000 kilometres just to run a marathon. What was I thinking?
Finally, a blog that’s not about motorcycling…Yep, with just a week to go until my first marathon, I thought I’d better write something about running — or lack of. I’m sitting in a Malaysian roadside cafe, shaded from the stifling high 30s temperatures and 90% humidity, and there’s no way I can head out for any training. It’s just too damn hot… Continue reading Running scared?
It’s not every day you get to meet a real Princess and then go riding motorcycles with her husband, but then the Kingdom of Bhutan is not your ‘every day’ kind of place. The land of the Thunder Dragon is magical, mystical and awe-inspiring in equal measures, and so are the people in it. Continue reading By Royal appointment
It’s just over a month since I left the UK and started riding east, through France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Dubai and across India. I’m over 10,000 kilometres into this journey and it’s certainly given me time to reflect on what I’ve let myself in for — and what I’ve left behind me. Continue reading A month on the road and what have I learnt?