The longest month – part 1

 

May 2014 is the first month that I’ve clocked well over 1000 miles, not just during the world run but not at any other point in my life have I run 4 x 400km weeks back to back!It wasn’t through planning but rather necessity. My visa expired June 4th and I had to leave Australia then, or become an illegal alien. If this happens, your passport is flagged as having been in breach of a visa restriction. That would mean I’d have no chance of being allowed into North America, and the run would have been over. Simply not an option!

All in all it took me 12 weeks to run 4000km across Australia. My visa allowed me three months in Australia but it took me a week in Perth to get over jet lag, assemble my cart and prepare my kit for surviving in the desert, alone.

Twelve weeks isn’t bad to cover that distance, but I should have arrived in Sydney 10 or 11 days earlier, had I not been knocked over by a careless driver in Perth. Being knocked over cost me two days for repairs, two days through injuries to my left leg, two weeks running slower than planned where I lost 1-2 days miles each day due to the injury, then four days lost to couriers as I arranged to have the cart replaced with the stroller after the desert crossing. Finally, a day was lost disassembling the cart and transferring kit to the stroller.

I left Ceduna knowing I would have to average approximately 60km a day for 5 weeks to ensure I left Australia before my visa expired. Every Australian citizen I spoke to declared “surely with what you’re doing immigration will give you an extension – no worries mate.”

They were wrong. It took me two weeks to finally get through to immigration! Not once was the phone answered, eventually an email was answered which completely ignored my circumstances and the reasons for my request to extend my visa by 10 days.

I explained I’m wearing a satellite tracker, not only will I not be trying to hide, but for my own interests I have to keep my whereabouts public and proven at all times –  the very opposite of someone trying to hide/stay in the country illegally!

I showed them my website which publicly declares my desire and motivation to leave Australia as fast as possible. Not that it isn’t a fantastic place, but I’m trying to run around the world as fast as I can! Both common sense, and space age tracking devices made it abundantly obvious I posed no immigration risk to the country, but they ignored all of this!

The first two and a half weeks of this mileage was a slog. It’s much more taxing ‘having to’ run 20% further every single day versus running up to 30% extra just because you ‘feel like it’ and you felt strong that particular day.

This run is tough enough even when averaging 50km a day even though I do love running. However if it becomes reframed in your mind as a chore rather than a pursuit, I discovered that the abundant motivation that coursed through my legs suddenly ran drier than the red sands beneath my feet.

I found my eyes closing while running, so tonnes of coffee became the order of the day. Even when I drank a coffee on the hour, every hour, throughout the day, this was the first time in my life I’ve been able to fall into a deep sleep in mere moments.

I’ve always taken 30-40mins to get to sleep and then slept very lightly. Running back to back 400km weeks changed that – it became difficult to finish eating my dinner and I sometimes woke to realise a quarter of my meal sat in the camping pan, stone cold on the tent floor.

All day long I daydreamed of sleep……

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