How does one go about preparing for this sort of year-long endeavour?
(it helped having run solo from Melbourne to Darwin previously)
Firstly, map out the route. Running on the road, or the shoulder, is not the safest of options, but it turns out to be the only one for this sort of thing. Being solo, and therefore needing to bring everything with you, dictates a requirement for a buggy of some description. I don’t feel like running with a 60+kg back pack, and wheeled buggies don’t do well on trails; so sealed roads it is.
Major roads were the best option as they tend to have the greatest exposure; more exposure = more potential donations. Some major roads don’t allow pedestrian traffic, so sometimes a more circuitous path was sought, preferably with a couple of towns along the way. Google maps was the quickest and best resource, especially with street-view, one could see (more or less) the road conditions: whether the shoulder was wide enough to safely move along, was it dirt, etc.
I opt to run on the righthand side – towards the oncoming traffic. If I was on the leftside, I’d be constantly looking over the shoulder in fear of someone veering towards me because their phone was too mesmerising. ‘Here lies Andre, a vicitm of WhatsApp’ … By heading into the traffic, I was in more control and if someone veers, I’m over the fence.
Once the route was sorted, then came the accommodation, this is where ‘the cause’ helped. I’m sure quite a few would help simply to be a apart of the challenge – with appropriate recognition – but by representing a cause or charity, many more came forward to assist. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
I worked out an average of 50kms a day would take me about 343 days/ 342 nights. I lie camping as much as the next guy, but for almost a year, not if I can help it. As it is, I’ll be camping at least 40% of the time – that’s how vast australia is (or how slow I’ll be travelling). So, many hundreds of emails went out to gain accommodation. Some emails went out several times – many were ignored. A simple no would have sufficed.
Not all accommodation is in motels/hotels – there are also family, friends, and fellow runners willing to help in some way, which is very nice indeed.
To date, I have secured 130 nights in a bed, leaving 212 nights to go. In fairness, some venues can’t anticipate a year down the track, so there are still 60 to respond.