Archive for March, 2013

In Port Augusta, Now for the great Australian Outback!

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Total: 28,309km for 662 road days.

Easter Sunday, March 31st I ran 62km finishing very strong to arrive here. We were met on the bridge by Tiffany, Mitch and their four children Zara, Fergus, Ruby and George our kind and wonderful hosts for tonight. I have eaten them out of their children’s Easter eggs, shame on me :(

Despite a little rain in the morning it turned out to be a nice day. Halfway through today’s run I was kick started by Steve and Zowie who ran her longest run of her life with me 6km, well done Zowie.

They also ran with me a couple of days ago. It seems that Zowie is related to Irish literary legend, Brendan Behan as her grandfather is Brendan’s brother.

Yesterday 57km, more rain and stops,Good Friday was a Good day with 60km run  and no rain that day, but lots of bugs, so many it was necessary to don my bug mask as I ran. Even poor Michael wore his as he sat in his car as it was too hot for an open window.

All in all it has been great weather for me, no complaints or really oppressive heat.

Not sure what the daily average is since my departure from Queenscliff on March 13th is but surely in the 55km/57km per day region as today’s run was my 18th consecutive 50km plus day. It’s amazing that every time I think I have reached my limit, I find there is always another limit.

Now for the big news, here I go again putting myself out on the line to dry again!

I have decided that I want to celebrate my 56th birthday on April 20th by running into that iconic of cities, Alice Springs.

Alice Springs, like an oasis in the middle of the desert, the center of the Outback. In the middle of this huge vast continents of countries. Well the only thing is that it’s 1,026km away! That’s more than 61km per day, every day, for another 20 days straight! And that’s after the last 3 days of sixty average. There is not much on the way to the Springs, so we will take a lot of food and water with us.


Easter Monday I will be run out of  Port Augusta by Tiffany’s running club for the start of the run through the Outback.. I am excited, like a child waiting for Christmas. I will have little or no internet for a while, so please keep checking comments as I may be able to get the odd text through to Ann to submit an update from time to time. As always I didn’t get the blog updated, time is my biggest enemy but on the other hand for the slow runner like me time is also my great friend because with even a slow pace combined with lots of time this equals a huge distance!

G’day mateys :)

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2 newspaper articles

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Here are two recent newspaper articles. Please press Here   and



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ABC Radio Interview

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

To listen to my recent ABC radio interview with Ashley Walsh press HERE and then click on the ‘ Download Audio ‘ link.

Many thanks to Denis for chasing up this link for me :)

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28,000km run!

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Hi all,

Today, Tuesday was a tough hot day in which the 28,000th kilometre was run 32 km into today’s 55 :) Yesterday I ran 52k, so that’s 13 consecutive 50km plus days.

Total run to date 28,023km in 657 road days.

Yesterdays finish was near Palmer. We then commuted to a nearby farmhouse and were the guests of Barbara and Guy. They are the parents of my great friend Ash from Runways running store in Dublin WEBSITE. The last time I spoke to Ash he said..

” Hey Tony if you are going to Australia my mam will come out and meet you on the road! ”

” Hey Ash, Australia is a big place you know! ”

” Yeah Tony but are you going to be running in the south? ”

” Yes ”

” Good that’s where she lives so she will definitely come out to meet you! ”

The reality was when we arrived in the area there was no phone signal and we drove from my finish location to Palmer to phone. They drove out to meet us and I couldn’t get out of the car as I had a huge box of shopping on my lap. We did a provisional shop in Murray Bridge yesterday buying a few dozen pasta dinners, coffee, hot cross buns, peanut butter, honey, muesli bars, fruit, oatmeal, etc, etc. We don’t want to pay the Northern Territories prices. The lady in the supermarket check out just before me paid almost $900 for her groceries, So shocked was I that I felt like taking a photo of the cash register! Ours was a more modest $185.

We had a lovely evening last night, I got to talk to Ash on the phone. He has always been a great supporter of my running even during my competitive career giving me some nice clothing. Guy talked about the difficulties of working on a farm and not having any trusted relief for time off as he even missed Ash’s wedding in Dublin a few years ago as he deemed it risky to leave the sheep unattended in case something went wrong with the water as they would be dead in a few days as he put it. One would imagine there would be some kind of an agency for this.

Then today as I mentioned it was a hot day, someone said it was 37 degrees C. It was also very hilly as I seemed to spend the whole morning running up a gradual hill. tonight we are guests of Nancy and her son Mark who just like everyone else Michael and I have met just cant seem to do enough for us.

Today I had the company of a runner called Denis who drove a long way to get to run with me. He is a mailman and finished his shift very early, pulling some favours as he put it. Thanks for making this great effort Denis. I managed to talk him into coming out on Wednesday also as by then I will be closer to his area. We ran for about two hours, him driving his car on ahead and running back to run with me to the car a system mentioned so many times on the blog. The only bad note was when we passed a dead grey kangaroo, a victim of road kill.

Later Cathy and her son Declan also ran for an hour with me near Williamstown, always a pleasure.

We are just a few days away from the start of the great Australian Outback which really starts after I run through Port Augusta. I can hardly wait :)

Adventure before dementia is Michael’s catch phrase. His recovery techniques are working well on me… Thanks for all your great help Michael, you are doing a great job crewing…

Forward and onward!

Pictures to follow

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400km Week

Sunday, March 24th, 2013


Total run to date 27,916km in 655 road days

Not much to report in the last week as it’s all been pretty intense on the road. I will insert photos later. Not much internet and very tired as its after midnight.

The weather is holding up for me with some overcast days mixing with a couple of bearable hot days. As always I continue to meet wonderful people everywhere I go.

March 18th 64km Thanks to runners Susie and Patrick for hosting us in Horsham. Thanks to Kieran for meeting me on the road and bringing out 2 cases of cokes before running 10km with me! He had heard of me by accident as Michael had to stop in some Govt agency to do personal business where Kieran’s father worked. His father followed him outside saying his son  Kieran was an ultra runner, Get on yer shoes man!

It was also nice meeting Steve who is married to a Dublin woman from Malahide. Steve pulled up to say ‘ hi ‘ wearing a Dubs shirt, still wearing it after St. Patrick’s Day. Not sure if I mentioned it but I celebrated our great day by running 52km, and then a burger!

Mar 19th Nice running with Susie and Patrick also meeting their club before running out of Horsham. One of the members Gary sponsored a night in a hotel in Nhill a tough 73km day.

Mar 20th routine 50km day!

Mar.  21st 58km Tough day, wind, rain, dust storm and crossed into South Australia state.

Mar 22. A 53km day, met  Tara, a flagger on a road crew. She is originally from Galway and is here on a 12 month visa. We had a good chat for a few minutes before I ran on with two of her museli bars and a bottle of ice cold water. Pity we didn’t met on St. Patrick’s Day she said,

Michael is doing a wonderful job crewing me also cooking.

Mar 23rd. 50km camped at railroad.

Mar 24th A tough 50km, hot, humid, some rain and a headwind for 30km but wonderful to run with my host Robyn who along with her husband Jeremy will be hosting us in their hotel in Murray Bridge tonight. We commuted there from today’s finish in Tailem Bend. I ran the last 3km with a huge smile, every day like this is a  day closer to the finish, Even now I am very excited by it.

First shower in about 250km! A delicious meal spent with other athletes and interesting guests

I started the day with an interview for State radio broadcaster ABC and it seemed to have gone down well as I got extra honks on the road!

Total run to date 27,916km in 655 road days

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Saturday, March 16th, 2013
Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day 52km today Mon 18th From Stawell to Horsham a tough 64km day. Met lots nice people. Steve stopped wearing a Dubs shirt, Kieron an ultra runner came out and ran a couple hours and brought out 2 cases cokes!! Susie an elite Ironman athlete and her husband Patrick are hosting us tonight. Thanks everyone :)
Anyone that has any contacts for me and support driver Michael please TEXT 0498010322. Please calculate our arrival using GoogleMaps at 50km per day. we can do a reasonable commute.
Route : Ararat,  Stawell,  Horsham, Dimboola,  Gerang Gerung, Salisbury, Nhill, Mt Elgin, Bordertown, Cannawigara, Murray Bridge,  Gawler,  Clare,  Crystal Brook,  Port Gerkmin,  Port Augusta, Alice Springs  Map please press  HERE
Sunday – St Patricks Day in Stawell. Monday 18th Horsham.
Tuesday 19th >  Gerang Gerung
Wednesday 20th > Kaniva
Thursday 21st > Bordertown
Friday 22nd > Banealla
Saturday 23rd > Culburra
Sat 16/Mar.  56 km run today from Snake Valley to Buangoa. A great day. Ran 16km with Steve through an area which recently had a forest fire. Many scarred trees were in evidence. I then ran another 40km on my own stopping at a  farmhouse and asked to pitch our tents. The lovely owners John, Louise and son Mitch invited us into their house for dinner and then a spa bath. So I had a lovely soak with a cup of tea :)   We are having a lovely evening talking with these wonderful salt of the earth Aussies. They just told us we can sleep inside. Michael, my great support driver  is having a rude awakening to my system, meeting so many great people and I am sure looking forward to discovering the Australia he doesn’t know, just as I am am :)
Fri 15/Mar  From Elaine to Snake Valley. 51km Tonight and last night we are guests of ultra runner Steve Drummond and  his wife Viv who are taking great care of us. Steve ran the last 10km with me and is planning to run with us Saturday. Total to date 27,410km for 646 road days.
Thurs 14/Mar from Geelong to Elaine 53km
Wed 13/Mar from Queenscliff, start of Australian mainland to Geelong 32km I loved running with three members of the Geelong running club, they also treated Michael and me to dinner as well as arranging for the Quality Hotel to give us comfortable rooms and breakfast. What a start to the mainland :)

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(Tasmania) Vlastik’s Great Escape

Friday, March 15th, 2013

I had a delicious coffee with my friend Valmai in Christchurch airport

First day on the road in Tasmania I managed only 38km. I was tired as I had not slept much the night before while overnighting in Melbourne en route to Hobort from Christchurch.
 Australia is the most expensive country on the run.
Just an idea. I had a couple hundred New Zealand dollars left and was charged $10, discounted from $12 in the airport bank..
Michael Gillan, my support driver for the mainland leg met me in the airport for about an hour as we sorted out my gear for the Tasmanian leg of the run. I was shocked that the car park charge for two hours was Au$24!

Sorting out my gear with Michael my support driver and thats the support vehicle for the mainland.

The US$ and Au $ are almost identical. Let’s just say on a couple hundred dollars the difference between the two currencies would hardly pay for a coke.
That first day I stopped for a pot of tea in the Richmond Maze Tea Rooms Cafe in a small Victorian town called Richmond.
They also had all day fry up breakfasts. Pat and Peter Seekings being the friendly owners, Pat from Wales while her husband Peter a real nice jolly chap from England. We got friendly when I told them what I was doing and straight up asked for a 50% discount, no problem they seemed only too happy to help. I sat for a while with Peter, a very skillful calligraphist.
He wrote ‘  Tony Mangan Running Around The World ‘ in beautiful Gothic handwriting on an a4 sheet of paper. I was wondering how I would keep it nice and clean, then he offered to laminate it. I wrote my Irish address on a large envelope for him to mail it to while all the time aware of my poor hand writing having witnesses his beautiful writing.

What can I say! Thank you for this very memorable gift Peter! A nice jolly old chap!

I had a late start from the airport that day along with many stops so it was dark when I finished.
Just before I finished I heard a noise from a field to my right, then a small animal make it’s way through a fence before running across the road about 50 metres in front of me. It happened so fast and in the darkness I couldn’t figure it out. Then the animal bounced its way up a steep mountain, about a 60 degree slope and out of sight. Later I was told this was a wallaby, that week I was to see dozens of dead wallabies on the road, hit by passing vehicles.

A dead wallaby, a very sad sight all over Tasmania.

 I slept that night in a field, a bit terrified I might add about all the snakes I have been hearing about, not only snakes but insects as Australia has more dangerous creatures than anywhere else on earth. Tasmania more snakes per kilometre than anywhere else on earth! Just about anywhere else people will tell you just to make noise and you will as the joke goes ‘ be lucky to see a snake ‘ Australians never say that, they rarely reassure you instead telling you they are everywhere and talk about friends in Queensland that have snake proof houses :(
That first morning on the road I jumped out of my bivy stone cold awakened at the sight of an ant, later I realised it was probably a fire ant and not a bull or Jack ant whatever they are as I had been told though not dangerous I would best not meet them! This is the only reason I am carrying my bivy here.
Yes folks we are going to have fun here. Those first few days I rarely left the pavement for a pee and as I ran many times my mind was playing games with me as I ran past old pieces of blown off tyre, rope, tangled branches and bungee cords all playing havoc with my mind. A tired ultra runner often zones out for a while. Always aware of my safe passige as I run in the decent two metre shoulder towards the traffic, always aware but with eyes slightly closed, sweat pouring into my eyes only to have a sudden jolt back into reality by such sightings.
Those first days I also saw many charred trees, evidence of the recent burning fires in this area. Next day another poor day only 36km, for I have made many stops, time just seems to slip away so rapidly. I am having to hump my pack as I run as I can’t find an Aussie sim card. I need a phone number to be able to successfully send the pack on by petrol stations as previously described. It’s also a lot hotter here than it was in New Zealand’s South Island.

Running out of Hobort airport for the start of my run across Tasmania and Australia.

No peace at the cafe I stopped in today in a place called Coolbeck.
The guy there told me to watch out for the Tasmanian tiger snake!
He said one passed down a side road only last week. Many older people here and in New Zealand often talk in the imperial system, miles, feet etc.
” It was about 5 or 6 feet long as wide as your arm and had a head the size of a big fist! “
Then he added. ” They say it’s the third most dangerous snake in the world. “
I was told to read an article on the wall, obviously written by a snake lover, must be a Green!

A friend of the farmer!

The article read something like this: Snakes are the farmers best friend since they attack rodents and other farm pests. The tiger snake hunts in daytime and lives on rodents, it often swallows a whole family of rats in one go, having long fangs it gives a deadly bite. The rats fight back biting the snakes scales which later heal from resulting maggots. They also fish in shallow lakes and streams and can co-exist happily with the copperhead snake ( what another one) as the copperhead has a completely different diet of mainly toads and other defenseless creatures.
Then this absolutely joyous person went on to write…. ” Due to modern farming machinery taking the farmer out of the fields the threat to farmers is significant reduced…. ” Blah Blah! Blah! Snakes are seriously misunderstood as the last person to have died in Australia was in the 1940′s ” Every time I mention this to an Aussie they laugh their heads off!!
What would you like to wrap up in a box, wrapped in Christmas paper for this joker! Yes a tiger snake, see how much he would love it… Here mate, I think you will love this present, you will never guess what it is!!  :)
That day I made it to Oatlands, everything closed very early, like a ghost town that Friday night. Perhaps one of the deadest towns I have been in in my life. I stopped in an expensive restaurant called The Stables. Once again I negotiated a small discount, this time about 25% with a pot of tea thrown in. I was starving, so got no choice. My braised lamb was delicious but far from substantial. I got to carry more spare food with me but I have noticed that petrol stations don’t seem to sell fruit, biscuits, muesli bars or other convenient snacks on the road, only crisps and chocolate. A couple of people eating at the restaurant  suggested I find a spot down in a local park to crash out but I had already noticed a cafe bar called TKO. It was closed, I guessed technically knocked out with all the fun in that small town that night. I had noticed that TKO had a veranda with tables and chairs left out, as nobody was about I could place about 4 cushioned chairs up against a wall and roll my summer sleeping bag out, also charge my phone up for I had also noticed an outside socket. I was still operating on my New Zealand sim card.
At last a decent days running still with my pack I slugged out 48km.
On the way a doctor stopped. I think he said his name was Matt. He told me he was an ultra runner who lived in my destination Campbell Town that night and remarked that he had stopped because as he put it ‘ you looked a bit hard core! ‘
 Unfortunately he was going to Oatlands (surely not for a fun night! ) otherwise he said he would love to have me as a guest in Campbell Town. Before he drove off he gave me $20 for dinner.
 In Campbell Town once again everything was closed very early. I checked the door of a restaurant called Jewel Diner. It was locked but I could see there were people inside cleaning up. The owner a nice man called Glenn and his wife Jo Staples brought me in and gave me a burger and a pot of tea on the house. Glenn said his two young boys Mathew and Ben about aged ten and eight were in bed asleep but as he put it he went to wake them up to show them the special guest they had that night. As the two boys wiped the tiredness out of their eyes I heard myself giving the ‘ old grandfather speech ‘ about how all things are possible in this world with just a bit of motivation, hard work, dedication and honesty.

Glenn and Jo with Mathew and Ben. Thanks for the bedtime story Glenn :(

I was just leaving for I don’t know where for the night, such things don’t worry me as they always work out for the best. Glenn offered me his pickup truck to sleep in that night as it had a camper shell which he used when he went hunting.
But before I went out he tried his best to give me nightmares by telling me that it’s a mistake for drivers to run over snakes ( I am thinking perhaps he wrote the snake article!) then he says the snakes can move so fast up off the road and get up into a car engine! That he himself has had four snake encounters and listen to this, he says that in Queensland (glad I am not going there) there is a snake which is the pit bull dog of snakes – it’s called Taipan snake as it will come at you for the sake of it :(
Then he brought out a blanket and pillow to his car. Glad he doesn’t run over snakes letting them get into the engine!
 I pounded out another two days, 49km each day and arrived in Perth. That first day a man called Les stopped on the highway to see if I wanted water, I thanked him for two 600ml bottles, refused the offer of a lift some 20km to Perth but he offered to transport my pack to the Caltex petrol station there. At the petrol station the owner Michael Geeves gave me a massive welcome, just as warm as the day had been.

Michael Geeves gave me a massive welcome, just as warm as the day had been.

 He told me I deserved as much help as he could possibly offer, how delighted he was to have the chance to help after how far I had been, I deserved help as he said. I asked if I could lay my sleeping bag out around the back on some old pallets and cardboard,
 ” Sure you can Tony, Anything you want, here are the keys to the toilet and in the morning come in and I will give you a breakfast and lots of coffees for the road! “
I happened to tell Michael about the hassle I was having getting an Aussie sim card, so he pulled one off a shelf.
Next morning he spent over an hour online trying to activate it while I ate the massive breakfast of about 3 large sausages, 6 rashers,  eggs, tomatoes, toast and 3 cups of coffee.
When I got up that morning I had noticed a $20 bill there on the pallet and didn’t know how it got there till Michael produced a handwritten note that he found in the yard from Les to me. Les had taken my pack there the night before.
The note read. ” Your next big feed is on me Tony! Good luck with the rest of the run. “
 I met Les a couple of days later on the road when he pulled up beside me on his motorbike.


Then he told me that he had stuffed the money and note into my sleeping pad, so I guess I didn’t notice it that night when I rolled my blue sleeping pad out, I was lucky it was not a windy night.
I felt strong that day after such a hearty breakfast making it to Delorraine. Once again everything closed including the Shell petrol station where Michael had managed to find someone to send it on with. I didn’t wait till he found a person as I figured it would be easy and right enough a lady called Linda slowed down and shouted across the busy highway that she would leave my pack in the Shell station. A few doors up from the station there was a small cafe called The Thirsty Camel which was closed for business but a couple of painters were painting the walls.

Painting the walls of The Thirsty Camel

 I was starving as it had been a long day since breakfast, I had found nothing on the road for all the small towns were bypassed. There were sandwiches which were not priced, nor a price list so I obviously couldn’t buy these as I didn’t know the cost. Instead I just bought two chocolate bars and a litre of coffee milk which were priced leaving the exact change along with a business card on a counter with the painters. I guess I must have looked a sorry sight as I sat there because two men later came in to buy some ice creams and were refused. I didn’t go far that night arranging some cushioned chairs under the veranda of the cafe before settling down in my summer bag.
If that parrot opens his beak in the middle of the night I will strangle him!

Sleeping beside the parrot outside The Thirsty Camel.

 At 5am the lady comes to open the cafe long after the painters have departed. I pretend to be asleep. I manage to lie there for another hour till eventually she sends a big tattooed man out to say..
” Wakey Wakey Matey Matey! “
 ” Good morning, you the owner? ” I ask.
 ” No but Tammy asked me to see what the story is with you! “
 ” No worries mate, I will go in and tell Tammy over breakfast. “

Blessing the harvest in Longford.

I retrieve my pack in the Shell station telling the staff there what I am doing. They don’t seem to catch on. I asked their help to find a driver going to Burnie, my finishing point in Tasmania which is two days away. I wonder why I even bother with my pack. I really just need my small summer sleeping bag which I have in a water proof bag in a satchel, a small light weight top for the evenings, don’t need much. The staff there give me a coffee and tell me I would be better going down the road to a roundabout and stopping the drivers. I notice a book on a shelf, a self help book about chronic fatigue. A lady comes in. I think she was called Dianne. She says she saw me on the road and asked me what I was doing. I told her, she asked me how I was feeling. I pointed over at the book and started off..
” You see that book called chronic fatigue over there?… “
” Oh yes Tony that’s my grand daughter that wrote that… She had chronic fatigue and it’s all about her battle against it and how she overcame it and now she has so much energy… “
I just stopped myself in the nick of time. I was just going to make a comparison between my daily fatigue and the terrible condition which is real chronic fatigue. I obviously would never intend to offend but I never really thought it in the manner of two types of chronic fatigue, those that actually have a huge supply of energy, that can recover and crash again, just like me and those that just have no energy at all.. Interesting subject. Just then Dianne went in behind the counter, I asked if she was an owner, she said she was a partner and then got the staff to take care of my pack for me! I left a couple of business cards with Adrian with my new phone number scrawled on them and told him Burnie in a couple of days time would be fine. Next day he texted me they had a courier taking it along to Repco Auto Parts, 106 Wilson Street, Burnie after 4.pm and good luck with the rest of the run. The courier would drop it off with their other delivery. Nice people!
That was a long day on the road, 51km, I had been dreaming of a snack place and couldn’t believe it when I rounded a bend in a place called Salssafras. The Caltex station there had chips, bananas, delicious homemade soup and sweets, yes a real oasis :)
Eventually I pulled myself away from there and made a run for Devonport where I could have very easily have gotten a ferry to Melbourne and the mainland from. Instead I decided to finish Tassie one further days running up the coast road as Tasmania’s toughest and most famous ultra runner Vlastislav Skvaril lives there. Burnie is also the hometown of my old buddy Phil Essam. I have known Phil for about 7 or 8 years having exchanged thousands of emails. He has been of great help and strength, an advisor of sorts during my competitive career and now here during the world run. He was also a co-coordinator of my friend Jesper Olsens first world run www.worldrun.org  He knew I would eventually start this run after years of talk about it. In fact that is how I got to know Phil, it was because I offered to crew for Jesper across Ireland. I offered to meet him off a flight to Shannon in the west of Ireland and crewed him across Ireland in a few days.
 Jesper had originally planned on flying from New York to the UK and bypassing Ireland. I emailed Jesper and got him every night and meal sponsored in Ireland.
Myself and Phil who I felt I had gotten to know very well over the years had not even talked over the phone until a couple of days ago!
On I ran that day towards the port town of Devonport. It was another tough hot and humid day in which I passed many dead snakes, rats and wallabies on the road. I was wondering about where to sleep there. Phil had texted me to suggest a couple cheap hotels and a hostel on the west bank of the river. A cheap hotel here would still be $50. I think the most I have paid on the entire run for a single night is $26. I didn’t see the backpackers and followed the road for the ferry terminal. I figured I could sleep there. I stopped in a 24 hour cafe on Tarlton Street called All Things Nice. All things nice included the nice lady there that allowed me to lay my sleeping bag out on the floor when the cafe quietened down for the night. I got about five or six hours sleep that night, not much especially as I had only a couple of hours the night before, still I was fine. As I packed up my stuff around 6am another lady that had come on for the day shift had heard ‘ the story ‘ and gave me four meat pies and two battered sausage rolls for my breakfast! I saved just one meat pie for the road and gobbled down the rest.
So it was another 48km to Burnie.  A tough and sometimes hilly run. About half way Vlastislav or Vlastik as he prefers to be called came out to meet me in his camper van. We had  a nice chat about races and runners we both know so well from competition. Especially Yiannis Kouros the most prolific ultra runner of all time, light years ahead of the second greatest. In a class of his own. Some of his incredible world records will probably never be beaten. In this race the Colac 6 day race Yiannis went out from the start as he always does like an express train. He usually slows down after a few days but still manages a decent pace. Here Vlastik is helping Yiannis in this classic race when he hit a bad patch. Yiannis went on to break his own 6 day world record. Unbeaten in competition for over 25 years, the holder of every ultra record for 24 hours or over, well except two! To be honest he couldn’t be bothered with a treadmill and for some strange reason he never bothered with an attempt on an indoor 48 hour track record. That is till I set the new world record in 2007 in Brno. The luckiest break I ever got in my life, (and I have said many times on the blog how luck I am)
was the following year Yiannis entered the Brno 48 hour indoor race to have a go at breaking my indoor 48 hour record but finished 17km short as he had a bout of flu! This is the first time I have ever mentioned that in public. The man is a legend and we all trail in his wake.
Vlastik Helping Yiannis Kouros during Colac 2000 when Yiannis broke the world record
Vlastik drove on ahead, parked and ran back to run with me to his camper where we would take a break for a while, slow progress, but so what.

Yiannis Kouros, the most talented and toughest athlete of all time. Nobody outside of ultra running has even heard of him!

Vlastik is from former Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic from a town near Brno, a city as many readers will know will be close to my heart till the day I die :)
He is now 73 having started running when he was 57! I always thought runners were stupid, then I started running!
I asked him how he ended up in Burnie and this was his story.
” Living in  former Czechoslovakia was terrible, we had not much food, meat was rationed and potatoes were scarce. I was a cheese making technician and wanted my family to have a better life. I wanted to take my wife Jo. sons Vlastislav and Peter to Austria as there were many Czech people living there.
” The people in my country were protesting, the Russians were not happy and invaded the country in 1969.
But because there was so much opposition to the Russians it took a full year for them to get total control.
” In the meantime I found out that if I had an invitation I could visit Austria, so I wrote an invite myself and made up an address and remember in those days it was not so easy before internet for the Russians to check every address.
” I waited till I knew someone going to Austria and I got them to post me back my letter.

Vlastik Meets me on the road with his motor home. Jo his wife crewed for him for many of his runs

” I thought the Russians would let me take my whole family there, but no the bastards only let me go saying the rest of the family could go when I returned. Of course I returned after 3 days as I had only $20.
” A few weeks later I replied and they refused me as they remembered me. So I waited a few months just before the permit which expired after 12 months was almost out of date till I tried again. Luckily that time I managed to get the four of us to Vienna for our short visit to see our fictitious friend. A few weeks later the Russians had complete control. I don’t think I would have gotten out after that. We did not get independence till around 1989 and to be honest we would have been much older and not have bothered, besides with independence it would not have been necessary for us to escape like we did.
” I found out Australia had a shortage of workers and my profession was in high demand so the government gave us residency visas and paid our fares.
” I had no certificates for my profession but the people could see I was good at the job even though I couldn’t speak any English.
I was a dairy technician and didn’t even know the English words for cheese or milk!

Vlastik and Jo

I was living in Adelaide and another man from Czechoslovakia was the boss of a huge cheese processing plant here in Burnie. By that time I could speak English and this man was keen for me to work for him so that’s how I ended up in Burnie. The cheese factory employed a lot of people in this area at that time, so it was very important. “
Vlastik got into ultra running by accident more by his love of trail walking.
“I loved walking a trail route, eventually I decided to run a race event on my favourite trail, the Overland Track which is an 85km trail I used to love walking so much. Just to train for running after I had heard about the Sparthatlon race in Greece on the National Geographic television station. The Sparthatlon  is a tough 246 km race from Athens to Sparta. I was mesmerized by it. That’s why I did the race over the Overland Track because the Sparta entry requirement said you had to be a famous runner in your country. So after running the Overlands I made a lot of phone calls before finding out about the Australian Ultra Running Association. I entered one of their races in Adelaide and because there was nobody of note running in it I finished second to some girl, I was the first man.
I asked the organisers if they would sign my Spartathlon form saying I was a very famous ultra runner in Australia! And they did.
I finished the Spartathlon in about 60 or 70th place in about 35 hours – even though I was an old man and usually only 33% of runners finish as they have 75 tough cut off points when you have to be through by a certain time. The race is over several mountain passes.
Speaking of Yiannis Kouros and the Sparthatlon that was the very first race he ever ran in his life. He was obviously an unknown who turned up to run when it was easy to get an entry. He absolutely destroyed a world class field finishing something like three hours ahead of the next runner. He finished so far ahead of the expected time that the mayor of Sparta who was supposed to greet the winner was still sleeping in bed when Yiannis finished. Nobody could believe Yiannis ran this incredible time. He was labeled a cheat, not given his prize and disqualified. He did not race for another year till he turned up at the Sparthatalon the following year. This time a car followed his every step and what you think happened? Well he broke the record he set the previous year! So everyone had to apologize and eat humble pie for an extraordinary new talent had now been born in the sport of ultra running.
Since then Vlastik has run many times across Australia and Tasmania. Sometimes on a push scooter as he did when he went from Darwin to Adelaide

Vlastik on the road to Darwin. This is what I got ahead of me in the Northern Territories!

 He always did these events as a fundraiser for children’s charities. Young Australians living with cancer. Smiles for Children :) is one of his catch phrases.

And on yet another run in Australia Vlastik ran with his baggage in a rickshaw

Yes we had a great old chat before I splashed into the Bass Straits to finish off running Tasmania. Part of Australia has been run.

Tasmania has been run!

I spent three nice days and nights in Vlastik and Jo’s house.
Vlastik gave me a much needed haircut before parting for Launceston where I will stay for the night with another ultra runner called Davo originally from Nottingham in England.

Haircut time. I told Vlastik that it doesnt matter if it's not neat as I will have my desert hat on for a long time now!

 Davo came out here for the fun of it almost 50 years ago and has not been home since, He is married to South African born Anne who also came here when she was very young..

Davo and Anne

 Tasmania will surely be literally a warm up for the real thing on the mainland. I can hardly wait, right through the middle, through Alice Springs, the real pioneer route. No woosie beach routes up the coast, yes I can hardly wait, snakes and all.  :)
As Davo said the ten most deadliest snakes in the world live in Australia.

A special request for my sister Ann Salmon!

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First Day On The Road On The Australian Mainland

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013


Meet Michael Gillan, my support driver and recovery man

Michael drove me to my start location a small seaside town called Queensclifff  just outside Melbourne.

The start of the run across the Australian mainland

Just before I touched the water to begin two runners from Geelong Running club Joe and Zdenko arrived to take it in turns running with me the 32km to Geelong. One drove while the other ran.Later we were joined by Joanne.

Tony, Joe, Zdenko and Joanne

On the run Joe told me that he is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa and despite being here only 1 year he has set up a small running club in the area,well done Joe!

No ordinary Joe.. One year resident Joe Rios the founding member of the Geelong Running Club

Zdenko originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina has been living here over 20 years. He met his Bosnian wife who has lived in Australia since childhood while she was back in Bosnia for a long holiday. Long enough for them to date, fall in love and then for him to move over here.

So Joanne was the only true Aussie of our group as Michael told me he moved here from Yorkshire in 1970 with a £10 ticket as it was known at the time. The Australian government was crying out for people to move down under during the 1960′s and 70′s paying peoples air fares should they make the move. In fact my own parents were almost moving to Perth in the 60′s for they had all the paperwork and backed out at the last minute. There was something sad about such a move for many families then, long before cheap airfares not many returned. I often wondered how my life would have panned out had I grown up here in Australia.

The start across the mainland at last.

Today on the road we stopped many times for Joe had a well stocked car full of jelly gums and cola!

Joe, God bless him went to a lot of trouble contacting local hotels on our behalf and finally the Quality Hotel agreed to give me and Michael a complimentary night with breakfast included.

Joe had also arranged for about 10 members of the running club to meet for dinner at the Boat House restaurant where the club treated us to a very pleasant dinner.

Thanks to the Geelong Runners for a delicious dinner and evening


In a nearby park Michael gave an impromptu clinic of his revolutionary soon to be famous recovery techniques.

Michael ' recovers ' Joanne



Up the steps from the beach for the road to the great Australian adventure

Finally my run across Australia will be dedicated to my step father John Foley who died this day 5 years ago, March 13th 2008. So no better man to dedicate my Australian run to than John, the kindest and gentlest man I have ever know. Rest In Peace John, you were very much in my thoughts today your fifth anniversary when I started my run across Australia.

John Foley R.I.P.

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Thanks to The Quality Hotel in Bayside Geelong

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Many thanks to Kevin Robe and staff of the Quality Hotel here in Bayside Geelong for their kindness of a luxury room for me and Michael for our first night on the road.

Having a quality time at the Quality Hotel.

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Updated > In Melbourne Where The Only Way Is Up.

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Hi All!

I arrived here in Melbourne Sunday and was greeted at the airport by Michael Gillan and his partner Jin. Michael will be my crew man for the next 3,800km north through the great outback, right through the very heart of Australia! Yes we are going to rip it in two! We are busy sorting out our baggage, shopping for food, emergency supplies for Michaels car etc. The plan is to start on Wednesday morning as early as possible. Melbourne time is +11 hours GMT.

I did an interview for a Sydney newspaper which will be published St. Patrick’s weekend.

As we know many Australians like to talk up how tough and challenging this country is… Yes of course it is all of that but it’s pretty routine for us folk on the blog after what we have been through, of which only a small part has been disclosed on the blog I might add!

Not sure how my reply to that question saying that …… ” At long, long last I am looking forward to a nice rest as I run through the outback as I will not having to horse a cart as I push it , or hump a backpack –  for this part even carrying one water bottle in my hand will be optional. Yes you got snakes but I got my own Crocodile Mick DunGillan! “ I wonder how that reply will go down with the media!!! ”

All this is only possible due to the kindness of my support driver Michael Gillan, Thank you so much Michael :)

Michael has a most amazing story to tell. A very riveting life story that will leave you gasping in astonishment! So much so that I won’t know how to begin telling it.

Many times I have talked on this blog about how I often feel  so lucky, not just to be living my dream but with general luck which just keeps knocking on my door as though I have a helping hand pushing me around the world.

By way of a teaser take a look at this HERE  a little about Michael, just a little I might add and this is the luck that knocked on my inbox about six months ago with this very kind offer of help. I am so honored.

Michael in action as bodies fall around at the Colac 6 day race in 2005


We intend to tell his story bit by bit. From time to time I will allow Michael to do some blogging..

‘  A Michael for Tony…. ‘  update  format, that is when we do get some internet access. There will be long, long spells between internet and mobile phone connections, let’s just see what happens…

After over two years running south through the Americas with each step Ireland became more and more distant as I looked over my left shoulder.

Then on the way to the airport as I made my way to here someone asked me was I going home…

I flashed a big smile and said… ” Yes I am now! I am finally on my way home! ”

I have run my final day south. From now on I will be only running north and west.

Now as I look ahead as I run over a giant world map which is plotted out in the road map of my mind. As I look further ahead to the north I can see China in just a few short months. I will turn left in China. Yes when I make that big turn in China that will be a monumental day for me. Then I will look  to the left….Soon it will be straight ahead – far off in that misty distance I can see Ireland,   6 Merrion Square North, where I began 27,274km ago –  far off in the distance.  It will become clearer every day;  day after day as I run towards my finish line, the finishing line of the Dublin City marathon on October 27th 2014. I will run and run till the only mist I can see will be the mist in my eyes, the emotional tears in my eyes as I run for home, at the end of the world :)

A great world full of great people.

Yes I am going home and as the song goes….. The Only Way Is Up!  :)


 Queenscliff, Ballart,  Ararat,  Stawell,  Horsham,  Dimboola,  Bordertown,  Murray Bridge,  Gawler,  Clare,  Crystal Brook,  Port Gerkmin,  Port Augusta, Alice Springs
 Map please press  HERE

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About Tony

I have always considered myself to be an average runner. In school, I was even bullied for I was a sports wimp. Through hard work, dedication, perseverance, self-belief and a strong mind I succeeded in not only running around the world but breaking four ultra running world records during my competitive career. Having previously cycled around the world I didn't start running until I was almost 30. Then I had a dream of running around the world. For many reasons, I waited for over 20 years. One reason was to establish my pedigree as an endurance athlete. I started and finished my world run as the current World Record-Holder for 48 Hours Indoor Track 426 kilometres (265 miles), a record I have held since 2007. I also broke and still hold the World Record for 48 hours on a Treadmill 405 kilometres (251 miles) in 2008. When I retired from competition, more pleasing than any of my world, European or Irish records I had the respect of my fellow athletes from all over the world - in my opinion, sports greatest reward - an achievement I am most proud of. Then I finally put myself out to pasture, to live my ultimate dream to run around the world! This blog was written on the road while I struggled to find places to sleep and to recover from running an average of 43.3 kilometres or 27 miles per day for 1,165 road days. There were many nights I typed this blog on a smart phone, so fatigued my eyes closed. Many journalists and endurance athletes have referred to my world run as the most difficult endurance challenge ever attempted. During my expedition I rarely had any support vehicles, running mostly with a backpack. In the more desolate areas I pushed my gear, food and water in a cart which I called Nirvana, then I sent her on ahead to run with my backpack once again over altitudes of almost 5,000 metres in the Andes. I stayed in remote villages where many people had never seen a white person before. I literally met the most wonderful people of this world in their own backyard and share many of those amazing experiences in this blog. My run around the world took 4 years. There were no short cuts, I ran every single metre on the road while seeking out the most comprehensive route across 41 countries, 5 continents, I used 50 pair of running shoes and my final footstep of the run was exactly 50,000 kilometres, (almost 31,000 miles) I eventually finished this tongue in cheek named world jog where I started, at the finish line of my city marathon. I started my global run with the Dublin Marathon on October 25th 2010 and finished with the Dublin Marathon on October 27th 2014 at 3 05pm! Thank you for your support, I hope you can share my unique way of seeing the world, the ultimate endurance challenge! Read more...


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