Sat/Sun 44km run.Total = 30,029km in 693 road days.
I hit the road last night with an extra spring in my step. I have been running nights for a week now and its great. Not much traffic, not a fly in sight and being able to run down the middle of the road to get away from the most severe road camber I have ever run on a road. Oh! And it’s a lot cooler too.
The heavenly skies are full of stars, more stars than I have ever seen in my life. I was running towards Tennants Creek some 44km away. We were staying in the youth hostel there which has an 11am check out, so if I was nifty we could even get back for a few hours sleep.
At 15km my 30,000th kilometre would be run. How to mark it for there are no kilometre markers on this Stuarts Highway. After 10 km I sent Michael on ahead to mark out the 30k with some rocks, he thought I was barmy!
3 Zero is 30,000! And here's to the next 30, sorry I mean only 20,000km!
Just as I was running on I shouted out to Michael.
” Hey Michael is that a kangaroo? ”
” Where? ”
“No it’s a dingo! ”
” Where? ”
” Ah Michael, I am only winding you up! Thanks for everything! ”
Running down a dream, bit by bit!
I ran on again, feeling strong. The tiredness seemed to be out of my legs from last week. My big push to Alice Springs had taken a lot out of me. Mentally and physically I felt like I was in recovery mode from running a competitive marathon, even if I run more now almost every day. The rest day, or rather rest night in Tennants Creek had been very beneficial to me for that old spring was back in my step and I was running well again, at least well by my tired standards!
I sent Michael on again to about 4 km before town to prepare the breakfast. That way he could eat his and I could eat my bowl of porridge on the run. That way we wont waste any time cooking when we get back to the hostel around 4am.
Just after I left him, bowl in hand three aborigines frightened the life out of me when they seemed to walk out of the dark towards me. They were friendly enough, just giving me a greeting in the dark, I purposely gave a mutter through my porridge not wanting to give my accent away or get into a conversation after dark which is my norm.
Michael too got the shock of his life as they stopped to ask for a cigarette as he was packing up the cooker and stuff. Of course he doesn’t smoke and the lads just gave him a friendly good night. He packed up so fast that he left the coffee behind for which he was to received a couple of grumps from me next morning! All this despite his great efforts to keep me in coffee every morning (now night as we are on a different time zone to everyone else!) His efforts included buying a brand new gas 3kg gas cylinder!
I feel very uncomfortable about all the negative stories people are telling me about the Aborigines. It seems nobody has a good word to say. Everyone I meet be they, liberal, conservative or God loving keeps talking about all the endless money the Australian government are pumping into work and retraining schemes which are not taken up. I hear all about the drinking, fighting, arguments, laziness, unemployment, substance abuse problems and how some bars no longer serve them after sunset.
Surely it’s not like this everywhere in this community.
So I was delighted to meet a nice friendly family of about six a few days ago just about 8km from my finish. I stopped, chatted about the run for a while and took their photo.
We stopped to help this Aborigine family
Their car had run out of petrol. We stopped to see if they were ok. There was a young child with flies crawling all over her face, she didn’t seem to be bothered. We gave them water, food and an umbrella for it was 9am and the sun was already baking high in the sky. One of the family had hitched a ride to the road house to get a can of petrol. As their old car chugged down the road they honked and waved.
I stood on a long thin strip of black tyre and got the shock of my life thinking it was a snake. I had noticed it on the road when we were commuting back this evening. I stopped to take a look, it was dark, not really sure, no Tony you don’t need to know if it was a snake, just keep on running. Then I played it on my ipod Running Down A Dream. Press HERE
Well a 20,000km home stretch!