Friday, 13 December 2013

Day 57

The overnight stay was on a busy road and close to an airport.  A a very noisy night!  Mark started the day with 10 miles to the border between Victoria and New South Wales.  The morning stretch presented Mark with 'a most incredible sight'…a sign to Sydney!

Mark finally made it to Mildura, and what a change it was…

"Traffic lights, paths, children going to school, shops, houses, people walking dogs, police. I'm not in the #nullarbor anymore! #mildura"

"Hah! A taxi and a bus with people on it. A busy road! These are strange sights indeed. #mildura"

As Mark was approaching Mildura I had managed to get checked into a caravan park for a few hours so to take stock on essentials – top up on water, recharge electrical items etc. I was welcomed at the Big4 Mildura Deakin Holiday Park by Adele, the manager. Adele and her staff were incredibly helpful and very supportive when they heard about Mark and his run.  A very pleasant and memorable experience.

Mark arrived in Mildura having ran 8 miles.  He stopped for a quick bite to eat and to 'load up' with water and supplies ready for a 25 mile unsupported stint.  As Mark had set off Adele suggested that I contact the local newspaper, Sunraysia Daily, to see if they could offer any more support and coverage. After an email and a phone call later the photographer was off out on the road to find Mark and cover his story!

Although alien surroundings for a short while with lots people, cars and shops Mark reported that he had enjoyed his time running through Mildura.

"#mildura is a lovely place. I'm gutted that it's just a very fleeting visit."

"#mildura has a smell all of its own. It's like a mild roast garlic smell. I suspect it's coming from the vineyards or orchards. #nicesmell"

Mark enjoyed the route so much that he fell behind schedule from taking too many pictures. It was time to turn the focus back on the miles. Unfortunately a change in the road surface put more of a strain on Mark's feet.  Some days there are great surfaces with a wide hard shoulder, not in this case.

During a break we took the time to reassess Mark's feet and he checked in for his weekly call to Gary and Lisa of the Real Radio Breakfast Show. Mark was a lot more upbeat from previous interviews and really enjoyed spending the time catching up with them both.

By 17:40 Mark had passed 30 miles.  The intensity of the sun usually peaks later in the day, this was proving to be the case:

"30 miles done so far. The heat from the sun is intense. Right shoe feels like it has razor blades in it."

"The remainder of today is about survival now. Must get the mileage over 40."

"603 miles to #Bondi. Right foot in world of pain. This country isn't giving up without a fight."

Mark continued to struggle for the rest of the afternoon and had an unfortunate encounter:

"The 1 time I don't check over my shoulder is the time when a white 4x4 enters the hard shoulder I'm running in as it overtakes a road train. That was too close."

"Now hobbling to RV meeting point. Almost killed, get a donation and now my right foot is very sore. What a 20 minutes!"

I then received a message with just the word 'help', this was naturally alarming so I quickly put my foot down for 2 miles (forgetting that I was driving an RV and not a sports car!).  Fortunately there was no major drama aside from the fact that Mark's mobile had died at that very minute and was only able to send that one word.  We parked up for the night and took time to assess the damage to Mark's feet.

"I can go no further today. Only. 37.25 ran. My feet are in need of "surgery". This pain is as bad as it was during the #nullarbor section."

"I'm full of painkillers and can still feel considerable pain. I've done too many miles on sharp stones today."

Mark's feet were soaked in in antiseptic before he proceeded to drain the blister which had been causing him so much pain on his left foot.

"I've made 4 holes in a thick skinned blister on my left heel. It's still not 100% drained. It's gone down massively."

"That's the blister that wakes me up during the night. Think that's it fixed for now. I've only felt it while running this afternoon. Painful."

Unfortunately the right foot was not so easily treated, the positioning of the wound was difficult to treat and was causing Mark an incredible amount of pain during this process.

"The exposed raw skin on my right foot is where the severe pain is. Bottom left of pic"

"I've got several numb spots on both feet. There is no feeling there at all. That ends today's "damage report"."

"No shower for me. Foot treatment has taken over. @Donna__Houghton has done her best. I hope it's good enough to get me through tomorrow."