Away from the madness of Western States, I thought it appropriate to give a little plug to a friend of ours, whom along with his partner in crime will set shortly off to run from Sydney to Melbourne. It’s just a casual trip of 900kms, which the boys aim to do over the course of around 9 days, so just 100kms a day then. Chris Turnbull (Bull), he a very accomplished athlete, having completed the Coast2Kosi 240km race here in Australia, as well as having canoed across the Bass Strait from Tasmania to Melbourne across what is a very treacherous sea. He has the metal to do this run.
The reason why this is regarded as such an iconic run is due in the main to the famous Westfield Sydney to Melbourne runs that took place in the 1980’s. The first race was pretty unassuming to begin with, that was until a sheep farmer called Cliff Young turned up, mixing it with some of the World’s elite. No-one had ever heard of Cliff, knew who he was or why he was there, standing on the start line in gum boots. People assumed it was a joke. How could a farmer go toe-to-toe with these serious athletes?
Well they were about to find out, it was most definitely a case of the hair and the tortoise. The elites raced off into a lead, and as was the done thing back then, they would run for between 16-18 hours a day, before resting and sleeping for 6-8 hours. This would be the pattern for the whole race. Despite setting off rather slowly compared to the elites, Cliff Young just kept on going. He didn’t stop.
He was in last place for around 3 days, but as the others rested, Cliff carried on… and on… and on. Around day 4-5, he started to overtake people, until he eventually won the damn thing, running in gum boots. To put it into perspective. It would be like me going out and winning the Sydney marathon this year, that’s how remarkable his victory was. This is how the race became so iconic. Cliff was an instant media star, but not only that, a great person to boot too. When he received his prize money, he shared it between all of the competitors as he said that he simply didn’t have any need for the cash. To find out more, have a read of his story here.
So, inspired by this historic race, these two boys will set off in 2 days time. If you’d like to find out more about what these guys are doing and how they’re progressing when they start, visit their website: http://sydney2melbourne.blogspot.com/