The morning started at 5am, an earlier start in attempt to build the miles quickly. It was also a darker morning as a result of the change in time zone.
The earlier start was required to account for the time that it is taking to treat and dress Mark's feet for the day ahead. This process can take up to an hour. Mark didn't have the greatest sleep, mainly due to the pain in his feet. The blister on his left heel as well as the new raw wound on his right foot. The right foot is difficult to treat, the raw skin is in the creases underneath Mark's toes. It's awkward to try and apply the right kind of dressing and in the right position.
The target for day 56 - Mildura. The plan was to load Mark's waist pack and Camel Bak with as much water and supplies possible. A massive weight to carry for the first part of the day but an absolute necessity. The first meeting point was to be 32 miles.
Mark tweeted just before midday to confirm that the 1800 mile barrier had been burst. This then left 665 miles to Bondi Beach. He was running well but his right foot was still a cause for concern and was causing a great deal of pain. Mark kept his head down to focus on the meeting point and had stopped looking at his GPS watch to count the miles.
Mark arrived at the RV around 16:00. He was in a great deal of pain. At the start of the day the plan was to aim for at least 50 miles. Due to the pain that Mark was going through, this kind of mileage simply wouldn't be possible. The early 40's would be more realistic. After a rest, treatment to his feet and a new pair of trainers Mark was back out on the road. Within 30 minutes of setting off the whole tone changed and this series of tweets followed:
'"Wherever you are. Whatever you are doing. Whoever you are with. Repeat after me. #ifeeltheneed #theneedforspeed DO IT NOW PLEASE!"
"#ifeeltheneed #theneedforspeed Tell the person nearest to you."
"This is what happens when you mix a caffeine energy gel, iced coffee, porridge and painkillers. #ifeeltheneed #theneedforspeed"
"Gonna put my foot down and see where it takes me. #ifeeltheneed #theneedforspeed"
This was simply incredible. Mark picked up the pace and was flying through the miles, so much so that he ran passed the next meeting point and I had to chase him down the road to do a water exchange!
From a world of pain and struggling with his feet before lunch he had somehow brought the day back into play. By 19:00 Mark had managed an incredible 38 miles.
"Winding it down now for an 8pm finish. This gets me 8 hours of recovery, a daylight finish, time to shower, eat and treat feet."
"This is another rescued day. Another 12 of these and 2 massive days will get me to #bondi on Christmas Eve."
"The roller coaster continues towards #Bondi. There is very little margin for error. I'm still in with a chance. I'm fighting for every mile."
#"mildura just wasn't to be today. I didn't run quick enough during the first session. It's not too far away though."
"I think back to the run across the USA and the fact that I was running into the wee small hours at this stage."
"I'm sticking to the plan of damage limitation in the miles for now. I'll strike when the time is right. That time will come."
"It's a case of bide your time, take whatever hits you have to and when the time is right, strike the killer blow."
"As well as this turning into a fantastic day of running, there was also a positive in relation to the flies!"
"I've got to say that the flies have been on top form today. I'm getting quite used to the reduced airflow that the #flynet offers."
"The flies in each region all have different behaviours and tolerances. These ones in #Victoria are tough little blighters."
"The #perth flies were many in number but very slow and lethargic. Very easy to swat."
"The #Victoria flies are the only ones so far that hang around in the rain. The #nullarbor flies liked to bite. All flies are different."
(courtesy of @memoodesign - Melanie from Perth!)
Day 56 saw an 8pm finish with 42.6 miles ran. Finishing at this time meant that there would be at least 8 hours of recovery. Enough time to shower, treat feet, eat and sleep before starting it all over again for day 57.
Mark was asked by Liz Luff (of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation) whether he had a message for Lady Elsie for their meeting the next day. Mark replied with the following:
"I feel incredibly honoured each mile to do my bit for the charity. To have your support along with the many others has given me such strength and drive to raise as much money as I can."
The day closed with the charity fund reaching £28,000. A great motivator.