Running the Bicentennial

You may have come across this little trek already via Facebook, but Richard Bowles is undertaking something that all of us here at Ultra168 are extremely jealous of, running everyday for the next five and a half months along the bicentennial track from Healesville in Victoria, to Cooktown in far north Queensland – that’s a total of 5,330km with around 30-50kms per day.

Richard gearing up for the trip of a lifetime on the BNT - Image courtesy of Outer Edge Magazine

We caught up with Richard to understand a little more about the run and why he’s doing it…

Where did all this start?

Christmas 2010 and I’m sitting around the dinner table with our dreams for the New Year. “I want to run the Bicentennial National Trail” I said and just like that I got to this point! I had this dream about two years ago, after running in the high country of Victoria and seeing all these yellow triangles with The National Trail written all over them. After investigation I found out it was a trail running from Healesville in Victoria, to Cooktown in far north Queensland. Some 5330km following The Great Dividing Range, the back bone of Australia’s bush. A self-reliant route through bush, wilderness and mountain areas, just winding its way through some of the most magnificent terrain and unsurpassed views in Australia.

Have you done much running previously?

As for my running history, I haven’t done much in the way of events recently, but I have been doing a lot of running! I have really been concentrating on this event, getting the trail mapped out correctly and making sure my body is up to the challenge! This has taken up SO much of my time.

The most recent major stuff:

  • Hardmoors 30 UK 2012 – A 50km fell race through the north Yorkshire moors. 5th place.
  • Three Peaks TAS 2011 –  1st place, my team-mate was Chris Wight.
  • Everest Marathon 2012 – 3rd Foreigner

This is a huge undertaking, what kind of support do you have behind you?

First and foremost I have a very understanding partner in Vickie. She is my event manager and looks after all the media stuff too. Then there is Andy Hewat, whom many of you will know I”m sure. He is my mentor for this project and the vast amount of experience he has will be invaluable towards getting me through those tough times on the trail. Next we have Alan McCubbin, my nutritionist. Making sure I eat properly and recovery each day will be vital to my success of the project.

Next is Kate Senni, my physio who’s bee keeping me on the straight and narrow and finally Tom Erkersley, my conditioning coach who’s going to keep my body physically in shape for the next 6 months or so.

You’re also doing this for charity too, tell us a little bit more about SANE and why you’re supporting them?

SANE Australia is a national charity working for a better life for people affected by mental illness  through campaigning, education and research.

SANE conducts innovative programs and campaigns to improve the lives of people living with mental illness, their family and friends. It also operates a busy Helpline and website, which have thousands of contacts each year from around Australia.

To run 5330km in the wilderness takes more than great fitness and strength, but it takes a strong mind and the will to go on even on the bad days. And I know there will be many bad days!.

I choose to put myself through the physical and mental side of this monstrous challenge. Some people don’t have a choice; they just wake up in the morning with what sometimes feels like a monstrous challenge: that challenge is called life.

To help raise funds and to launch the official challenge, I’m having a party and silent auction on February 25th and would love to see as many people come along as possible. The event will be held at the First Pour Espresso Bar, 26 Bond St, Abbotsford and there will be a

  • SILENT AUCTION with great hampers, services and adventures up for grabs!
  • GOURMET BRUNCH BBQ – Yummy food!
  • OFFICIAL LAUNCH PRESENTATION – With guest speaker and project introduction
  • LIVE MUSIC – One of our favourite local musos!
  • $1.50 from each coffee sold goes to SANE Australia

If you’re keen to join Richard at the launch, contact Vickie on 0428 288 014 or reply to Best of luck Richard, and we’ll be following his progress over the coming months as he makes his way along the trail.


Like our articles? Take a second to support Ultra168 on Patreon from as little as $1 a month!
Dan on Twitter
I'm a mediocre runner who can bat above his average when I train hard. A man of extremes, I do enjoy everything life offers and consider it an absolute pleasure just to be able to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander somewhere different.

6 thoughts on “Running the Bicentennial

    1. Haha, is Rocky Racoon actually 100 miles? Great time by Meltzer, it would be a complete spin out to be finished a 100 miler and still be able to watch an 8:30 movie on the telly on a Sunday night.

Leave a Reply