Yesterday afternoon at 4:45pm I ran into Walhalla, close to 700kms after leaving the fringe of Canberra, having left 14 days earlier. It feels good to be able to stop, to take a break from the headfirst drive, to sit. I am reflecting on the run now, drinking tea, watching the world news on mute.
It was an incredible experience. Two weeks of simplistic, anxious, physically elevated existence in a whirlwind of forward momentum. Very little time to dwell or contemplate (although hap-hazard, broken sleep was the feeding ground for the build up of daily stress’s). It is only now that I’m realising how manic you have to be to continually turn over the kilometres. The few times I fell; stumbling, slipping, clotheslined onto the ground, the first instinct is to stop- sleep even. But you can’t- of course you can’t. You tell yourself you’re ok, propelling forward faster than before the fall, pissed-off at the incursion. The highs are as categorical as the lows.
Running at dawn over Mt. Speculation and the Cross Cut Saw dropping in and out of the cloud layer was simply incredible. It felt like you could fall and not get hurt. The dark days of swampy bogs (Buenba hut site heading towards Johnies Top) and large tracts of overgrown trail are just as fresh in the minds-eye, but like all good stories, make the aftermath a little more satisfying. My pride is in the map and compass navigation of the track. I had no GPS and relied on the accuracy of both topographic (several scaled version) and guide-book representation- all of which (whilst often different) provided excellent. Like the adage suggests; get three sources and boil down to the common factors.
The cross cut saw.
Whilst my days were alone, I shared my evenings and breakfasts with my terrific crew; brother-in-law Charlie Showers and cameraman Brett Campbell. The boys were a wonderful help- Charlie a rock of support and kindness. Replacing Charlie through the Falls/Hotham days was was mum Cheryl and step father Warren. Whilst Charlie would return for some of the closing days (tough days over the Viking/Razor wilderness and overgrown sections leading towards the Baw Baw plateau) friend and physiologist Lesli Shooter came in at the 11th hour for the final few days, giving me left leg some solid attention and cooking up a storm. My heartfelt thanks to Li for her never ending support, (and final day run-in! magnificent) family and friends for their words of wisdom throughout. To Salomon and Icebreaker- what can I say, their gear is the best on the planet. If you don’t run in wool you are a fool and Salomon trail shoes are the F1 for dirt, rock, river- the AAWT. More to come in days to follow. One heck of a run!