Run for a reason
16 Oct 2017
Here is my Run Down Under story, it’s a bit emotional and I actually wrote this for my own personal reasons. I’m not sure if it’s what your looking for, but I thought I’d pass it on to you regardless. RDU has certainly been an adventure for me, I’ll be sad once it’s completed. A lot of people in my running club now follow it too, clearly I’ve been singing a bit too loudly from the RDU hymn book, haha!
As a kid I remember my dad virtually riding around Australia, pedaling away on his noisy exercise bike at night, manually marking his distance on a map using string. 20 years later, when I saw the opportunity to do something similar with running, a modern version where a GPS watch & phone App would collate & map my data for me, I eagerly registered. As I began this journey around Australia on foot with RDU in 2015, my dad was my biggest fan. He would ring looking for destination updates, genuinely cheering my progression through each town, perhaps nostalgically reliving his own dream through me. It kind of became our thing: me the legs, him the brawn.
Unfortunately my dad had terminal cancer. Weeks before he died, as ‘we’ crossed into the Northern Territory, we discussed our destination goal for 2016, painfully both knowing at the time he wouldn't be there to see it through. Over our bowl of Singapore noddles it was agreed, our 2016 destination goal was Perth. It was only months after dad died, as I slowly emerged from the fog of horrendous grieve that engulfed us all, my running buddy said, have you actually looked up how far Perth is? No, I hadn't.
It turned out Perth was 3,500 km away from my current town on RDU, or more disturbingly, a minimum of 14km every single day in order to get there by our December 31st 2016 deadline. As daunting as these figures are, I was absolutely determined to see our RDU goal through, dads & my last shared venture together. During this time there were lots of tears, perhaps a little regret, 4 new pairs of overpriced runners, a few kilos lost, and a fractured toe, but i actually achieved this epic goal of ours. And while the person I wanted to celebrate with the most was no longer phoning for destination updates, I know dad would have had half of heaven rallied, proudly cheering me into Perth by our deadline. Juggling my motherhood gig, shift work and a doing gruelling 14 km a day, operation Perth was crazily tough.
After last years antics, in 2017 I promised my incredibly patient and supportive husband, there would be no RDU destination goal, no daily kilometre target, no running noose over our heads. Achieving 14km a day had taken its toll on our whole family unit the previous year. Instead, I boldly suggested I think I’d like to run my first marathon. Sure enough as my runs increased with length, my need for rest days grew. Sadly with this, my progress on RDU slowed greatly compared to the effort of last year. It has seemingly taken me forever to cross the bottom of Western Australia! But as of yesterday, I can proudly say I achieved my 2017 goal, I ran my first marathon. I participated in the Melbourne Marathon on a beautiful spring day, running into the hallowed turf of the MCG. Unfortunately I was injured, so while I’m disappointed in my time, regardless, it was a PB to me. And by sheer consequence, at the exact same time, I ventured into South Australia on my journey with RDU. I managed to complete 2 goals.... on one run. Now that’s a runners win!
I can only wonder what RDU craziness will bring into my life next year. My current estimated finish time is approaching, maybe I can pick up my pace, and knock off few months? I’d love to say I completed a lap of Australia in only 3.5 years. I love RDU, I love reaching the towns, I find it all incredibly motivating. Without RDU, I probably would’nt have achieved the kilometres I have over the previous 2.5 years. I love running, almost anything is possible, whether it be road, trail, treadmill. We just need to lace up those runners, press record in our garmins & run.
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