Sunday, 1 December 2013

Days 44 - 45

Day 44

Today's target was to get the mileage to less than 1000 left to run.  Today also was also Mark's son's birthday.  Jack was 11 years old and Mark would later speak to him on the Gary and Lisa Breakfast show to wish him a very happy birthday.

Mark recorded a personal message a little earlier than Jack's actual birthday just in case the mobile signal dropped.

Mark set off on day 44 with me as company.  Today was the day that I had set myself the challenge of running a marathon to raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.  Having never ran further than 18 miles this would certainly be tough, especially in the Australian heat.

Unfortunately Mark's left foot was now presenting similar signs of damage as he had previously suffered with his right.  Mark took to the painkillers early on in the day to enable him to battle on through.  The pain had also been impacting Mark's sleep, he needed to have a full hours snooze at lunchtime to try and battle the fatigue.

Mark managed a total of 35.8 miles on day 44 and thankfully I survived my 26.2 miles.  I won't lie in saying that it was tough but then I never expected it would be easy.  Having spoken to Mark and having read his tweets I anticipated the worst.  Fortunately I was lucky weather wise with the temperature in the mid 20's for most of the day.  Had I ran this a day earlier then this could have been a whole lot worse with the peak temperature of 49 degrees Celsius. I also had the luxury of picking one day to do this.  Mark needs to do this all day every day for at least 39 miles.  I was also fortunate to have Mark as company on my run.  For the best part of the last 44 days Mark has been running on his own.  This really did give me a better appreciation of what Mark is pushing himself through.

Another member of the support team who has been able to experience the Australian climate and terrain was Ian.  Before flying out to Australia, Ian had set himself a challenge of running 65 miles which would also raise funds for Mark's two charities.  Ian achieved this over a period of 6 days, including the hottest day.  Well done Ian!

Regular readers of The Journal newspaper in the North East of England will have seen this image on the front page of Thursday's edition.  David Fairlamb, Mark's personal trainer writes a weekly column covering the run across Australia.  

As the day came to a close we pitched the RV in a place called Iron Knob.  This area was also to provide silence for at least an hour when mobile phone signal kicked in.

Day 44 was the last day for Carlton who had spent 2 weeks with Mark. Mark had this to say: "@carltonf46 has picked up where he left off in the USA with me. With no disrespect to the others he's the ultimate support man." 

Day 45

Day 45 also marked the last day for David and Ian who had joined Carlton on the support team for a week.  They have all been outstanding on support duty and made one last check that the RV was in tip top condition before setting me off on my own.  The target for day 45 was to reach Port Augusta.

Mark stopped for his second breakfast at 10 miles which also allowed for another quick assessment of his feet.  The left foot had been seriously starting to deteriorate in a similar fashion to the right foot.  We made sure that they were appropriately dressed and Mark took some painkillers in attempt to postpone the agony previously experienced.

Having been faced with more stretches of straight roads Mark was pleased to see a left hand turn on the horizon.

"I'm on the last 34km of the #eyrehighway. This makes me very happy."

"21 miles done. I was in 2 minds whether to stop or not. Porridge now then 2 miles to the left hand turn. It's then 16 miles to #portaugusta."

"This final section of the #eyrehighway to #portaugusta is the busiest road I've seen since #perth"

"2 cars have just done an emergency stop to avoid hitting this #Kangeroo. #eyrehighway #portaugusta"

On the car journey back towards Kimba from Adelaide we had noticed that there was another road which seemed to lead traffic off the Eye Highway. It seemed to be an obvious choice to avoid the heavy traffic already experienced by Mark.

"The point where I left the #eyrehighway. It's been #emotional"

Caroona Road gave a clear view of Port Augusta in the distance, this was still the target for the end of day 45.

"Progress after day 45. #rgrdownunder with drivebenfield"

"The final 965 miles. #rgrdownunder with drivebenfield"

"1500 miles. Done. #boom DAY 45"

"37.4 miles done on day 45. Over 1050 miles on the #eyrehighway in 33 days. Tomorrow's start point is the A1 due south in #portaugusta."

"1504 miles ran so far. #rgrdownunder"