(Saturday 28th December)
Everyone managed to keep up so far? Me neither!
So after a restless night and a terrible sleep full of nightmares for Mark, he woke me with the words "it ain't over til it's over". Naturally this confused me having just woken up. I asked what on earth he meant (checking that he wasn't just sleep talking!). THE RUN WAS BACK ON! I'm not sure whether this filled me with dread or excitement - the shock was all too much. During his broken sleep Mark had been travelling the last hundred or so miles through the maps on his mobile phone and had found a way to reach the Pacific Ocean.
"This is the final 140 miles. #yass to #shellharbour and the #Pacific. Finishing on the 3rd Jan."
So just when I thought that my days were nasty feet free, I now had another 3 of potential blisters and broken skin. Oh the joys! Aside from this horrendous thought, this was definitely the best decision of the entire run. This has to be completed as a coast to coast challenge and I was really pleased that there was a way for Mark to be able to do this. Having the 4 day rest would be just the treatment that Mark needed both physically and mentally. We were checked into a lovely hotel (to enjoy the comfort to the maximum before being faced with the car as our sleeping quarters!) and would be able to spend some quality time in Sydney before setting back out on the road.
Once again Mark's inbox was full of notifications with supportive messages. Ironically offers of support were made within an hour or so from people in Shellharbour.
"I know nothing yet of the route to #shellharbour. I think there may be a lot of climbing, a mountain pass and switchback roads involved."
"I like climbs, hills and mountainous roads. It will be a fitting end to this most incredible journey."
"So that's everyone up to date hopefully."
"In summary, nightmares led to waking up looking at a map. Plan J was formulated. I have 4 rest days. Jan 1st to 3rd I'll run to the Pacific."
"So to finish for now. "It aint over till it's over". #rgrdownunder with @drivebenfield"
Mark ended the day with interviews with the media back home in the North East of England
"Just finished interviews with BBC and ITV. It's lights out time."
"I need to spend a few hours in the morning checking the revised route for further risks."
"I like the challenge that Macquarie Pass is going to bring at the end of the run. Somehow, I think I was destined to finish at #shellharbour"