My mate Adam Hall had sorted a route in from the airport, and then around the sights of Sydney, so all I basically needed to do was run. It was a bright blue day hitting about 26 Celsius, a pleasant day for running.
15km took us into the city, and although my feet stung with each step, I only had 35km to go. The sea sparkled, as we dived through the botanical gardens to see the iconic Sydney opera house for the first time, with the famous harbour bridge connecting the North and the South shores behind. I was totally caught up in Sydney, not even thinking about the discomfort of my feet, or amazing places I’d recently been to.
We explored both North and South of the city, in parks, coastlines, beach, and the city. We were joined by Graeme Parry and Steve Burnie, both friends that live in Sydney. We did a few interviews, and had a couple pit stops for water etc.
We were almost finished, with a kilometre to go I looked around to see South Sydney behind me as we neared the opera house and the finish. Also behind was Antarctica and its savage beauty and extreme sub zero temperatures. My mind raced through legs in South America, Atlanta USA; past big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London; the pyramids of Egypt at dawn and as I thought of the bright lights of Dubai, I smiled. There it was, the finish line, and the opera house. It’s an image had kept me going when I was tired, injured, and nervous. It’s sails glinted as we arrived.
So we’d done it. Too many people to mention had helped me run 7 ultra marathons, on the 7 continents, in 5 days 13 hours and 28 minutes. Apparently this is almost a day and a half faster than the existing record. The kindness and expertise of friends and family had dragged me to the finish line, exhausted, sleep deprived, and needing the beer and custard that greeted me at the line.
In retrospect, I’d underestimated how difficult it would be, thinking that running 2660 miles to the Sahara desert would have been much harder. It wasn’t! The sleep deprivation, and flights made this a huge mental challenge. I was spurred on by the over 1700 5×50.co.uk challengers, and the 450 tribesports guys walking, cycling or running with me this week.
I’d like to thank everyone for their messages of support that I received. I appreciated each and every one. I’d also like to thank my main partners UVU, 5×50, tribesports, the Balmoral, and footworks.
So more challenges await. I’ll be back at work on Monday, working for the Scottish Government to get people more physically active more often. This is THE fundamental health challenge of our age, and I’m delighted that such priority is being given to this issue by the ministers and the senior health guys.
Whilst I’ll take on other challenges soon, getting Scotland active is the big show in town. Getting Scots more active is a bit like RunTheWorld as it is a binary issue. Either we are going to do it or we are not. We do not, and should not lack ambition with this. Everyone can play a role in this, if you haven’t seen the video 23 1/2 hours, check it out, and share.
Before getting back to work there are a load of interviews, and more flights to get me home. It was 38 Celsius in Sydney today, and I had a surf and went for a walk as well as a beer watching the cricket. I could have got used to being in Australia.