Today marks the 50-day countdown to the start of my next desert running adventure – the 250km Big Red Run through the Simpson Desert in the heart of the Australian Outback.
The 50-day countdown is always an important date for me in the build up to a desert race. In many ways it represents a point of no return. If your training is not on schedule, or should you get injured at this late stage, it is very difficult to make up lost time.
My initial preparations for the Big Red Run got off to a fairly slow start. After completing the challenging 273km Grand to Grand Ultra at the end of September 2016, one of my best desert running experiences to date, I lacked a bit of motivation to get going again. I did little serious running until February 2017, but since then, have been very disciplined in getting myself ready for the Big Red Run.
I have averaged more than 90km of running per week since mid-March, including three 40km plus runs over the past two weeks. I am also doing regular gym sessions and some cycling to help with conditioning and add some variety to my training schedule. I have no niggles or injuries, and with five weeks left for intensive training, including a few more 40km runs as well as a 100km long run at the end of May, I should be ready for the race in just over seven weeks from now.
Running in the Simpson Desert will be an amazing experience, and I’m really excited about the challenge of completing the Big Red Run. This will be my ninth multi-stage desert race and first in Australasia. Having completed desert races in Africa, Asia, Antarctica, and South and North America, this is the sixth leg of my quest to complete one of these races on all seven continents.
But running the Big Red Run is ultimately about more than just completing another desert race.
Millions of people worldwide, including South Africa, are still without a safe water supply close to home, and as a result, have to spend countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and carrying heavy buckets.
Fortunately, a unique South African invention – the Hippo Water Roller – makes it extremely easy to collect water in tough rural conditions – up to 5 times more water than a single bucket, by simply rolling it along the ground. More than 50 000 rollers have been distributed already, supporting close to half a million people.
I will use the period before, during and immediately after the Big Red Run to raise awareness about the Hippo Roller, as well as money which will enable more communities in remote parts of South Africa to acquire these rollers.
It costs approximately $125 to manufacture and distribute a Hippo Roller, and my aim is to raise $6 250 – the cost of manufacturing, and distributing 50 hippo rollers to needy communities in South Africa.
Please join me on this journey and let’s make a difference in the lives on those that could benefit from access to the Hippo Roller.
The countdown to the Big Red Run continues…