So to Sydney, for the final leg. I’d had what felt like a huge 5 hour sleep on the plane for Dubai, almost doubling my hours for the previous 4 nights. The longer flight had also given my legs a bit of time to recover and arriving at the airport I knew that I’d pretty much done it, save Car accident or Kangaroo attack!
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.
RunTheWorld, Antarctica, start time: Friday, 23 November 2012, 14:06 GMT.
7 ultra marathons on 7 continents in 7 days was always going to be a tough ask logistically and athletically.
Actually getting to Antarctica is an absolute highlight of my life. Incredible both in terms of its beauty but also the hostility of the environment. The camp itself is wonderfully comfortable in relative terms although the tennis still pretty chilly at night.
I’d loved running in the Ice Marathon just over 24 hours before but much time spent running hard in massive conditions flat out is taxing physically and mentally. Being stiff and slightly fatigued at the start of 7 ultras on 7 continents in a week would not be ideal but it was my choice.
I’d timed the run to allow me 7 hours to run the 50km. I actually ran 5 hrs 22 mins 56 secs for 32 miles or a little over 51km. Clearly this isn’t going to break any personal bests but it was both a pleasure and an ordeal in conditions that were similar conditions wise to runs at the North Pole and far North Canada, with a bit of a wind and snowy underfoot conditions.
Directly from finishing, I jumped pretty much straight onto the ice jet bound for Punta Arenas, South America. I’ll collect all my bags and run in Santiago after a connecting flight early on the 24th.
Tired, but relieved that the Antarctic leg and Ice Marathon went so well, thanks a million to race organiser Richard Donovan and the rest of the guys.
One of the things that will keep me going when I’m tired, jet lagged or cold is knowing that this challenge is much more than a bloke with a big nose running in different parts of the world.
The more important bit is to get AT LEAST 5,000 people to take part in RunTheWorld – walking, cycling or running at least 5 km per day for a week with the fantastic 5×50.co.uk (with brilliant prizes to be had) or challenge yourself to a whole year with 30 minutes of physical activity every day for a year.
But this is a team effort! Please spread the word, sign-up yourself, and help a friend or a relative by getting them active. Please also watch this video about the best thing you can do for your health.
I’ll compete in the Ice Marathon in Antarctica and then try to run at least 50 km on each of the world’s 7 continents on consecutive days. Having been to The North Pole Marathon this year – I can’t wait to test myself in the freezer again prior to RunTheWorld – a novel way of getting home.
The contrasts of the cold of Antarctica, the heat of the desert, and the buzz of big cities will add to the excitement, but knowing 5000+ people are taking part with me will make all the difference. I’ll travel economy, Carbon offset and it’ll be a significant logistical and athletic challenge. Antarctic weather is ropey so it might start a few days late due to frequent flight delays.
- 21st November – Compete in Ice Marathon
- 23rd November – Antarctic leg
- 24th November – Patagonia leg (South America)
- 25th November – Atlanta leg (North America)
- 26th November – London leg (Europe)
- 27th November – Pyramids / Cairo leg (Africa)
- 28th November – Desert / Dubai leg (Asia)
- 29th November – Sydney leg, Australia
Thanks for coming on board. Your sign-ups, and messages of support are much appreciated.
Follow the challenge on RunTheWorld.
Or via Twitter: @docandrewmurray, Facebook: DocAndrewMurray or
Tribesports: Andrew M.