March the 25th 2012 saw Richard Bowles set off on a 5330 km quest and begin running Australia’s Bicentennial National Trail.
Before the run started I had a chance to chat to Richard and asked him what he thought the biggest challenge would be. “Logistics” Richard said. “Mapping the route and finding access on seasonal roads for the support van was a big challenge”. Richard decided to leave in March so he could avoid snow on higher ground and miss the wet season in Queensland. There were enough natural hazards with snakes everywhere and even some crocodiles in the Northern section.
Richard has covered about 1300 km so far and reading his blog one gets the feeling that Richard is getting in tune with the land on a deep level.
Richards partner, Vicky, is a major part in the project. “I am so grateful to Vicky” he said. “She has so much to do while I am out there just running. There is the media to deal with, organising and preparing the food, driving and shopping – everyday for 6 months”.
So in tune with Richards needs, Vicky even ran a 100 km race to get to know what it was like to run that kind of distance.
Richard built his mileage up to 250 km/week with a 4 kg backpack while building a support team around him to help in dealing with problems remotely that may arise during the run. Having a mentor, a coach, a nutritionist and a physiotherapist available to offer advice was indispensable on such an arduous project.
While a few people have covered the BNT trail before no-one has yet run the whole length. In his research about the trail, Richard found someone who had tried to cycle the route along old Drovers roads but no known runners and so the project began to take shape.
Bicentennial National Trail http://www.nationaltrail.com.au/