Richard Bowles – Finders on Foot a 1200km journey

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Starting on Sunday 4th May 2014, Richard Bowles will run an average of 85km each day (two marathons) along South Australia’s ancient backbone; The Heysen Trail. A trail that spans 1,200km the length of the rugged Flinders Ranges in the outback to the coast.

In 2012 he ran “The World’s Longest Marked Trail” (5,330km National Trail, Australia) where he crossed crocodile infested waters, encountered packs of wild dogs and had a shotgun pointed in his face by an angry farmer. He followed that with New Zealand’s Te Araroa Trail at another 3,054km; crossing both islands through avalanche zones, ice cold white water rapids and fickle weather that saw him tumble down a mountain side, both runs seeing him become the first to run the entire trail.

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2013 saw him conquer the dry and arid Israel National Trail at 1,009km while suffering with a foot infection in the desert, followed by becoming the first to run around the base of an exploding volcano, in Northern Sumatra, with a shower of volcanic ash closing out his year.

In 2014 Richard will create another “World First” back on Australian soil and a swag of adventurous stories on route. Who knows what might happen in the Australian outback!

The project is funded and supported by Nixon Communications who supply reliable clear communications solutions in remote and non-remote environments. They will play a key role in the safety of this project through runner and support communications as well as bringing all the action to the world with internet and phone reception from remote parts of the trail. “For the first time my followers will not have to wait a day or two for updates, they can follow it as it happens, thanks to Nixon’s” Says Richard.

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British born Richard has the determination to make a positive contribution to the country he calls home, supporting Indigenous Health promoters Red Dust Role Model who deliver innovative health promotion programs in partnership with remote communities. The Healthy Living Program encourages Indigenous youth to learn more about health and inspire them to live a healthy lifestyle.

“Health is a basic human right” says Richard. Red Dust state it is essential to the social development of Indigenous people in remote communities. Health promotion strategies improve and transform lives and have a sustainable impact on social, economic and environmental conditions. Health promotion is a practical approach to achieving greater equality and closing the gap.

Richard says he is keen to meet with the communities through which the trail passes, even when running such huge distances each day.

“The highlight of all my projects is the people that I meet and impact on the way, I have been welcomed into peoples homes, sharing stories over a meal and enjoying the wonderful adventure which they had now become part of”

Episode 32 – Richard Bowles, Dr Phil Maffetone

Talk Ultra Ep32

Speedgoat makes it no35 out of 60 at Antelope 100… We speak to Richard Bowles who is about to embark on another journey! We have an extended Talk Training with Dr Phil Maffetone. We catch up with Mike Wardian on how his recovery and racing is shaping up. We have a ‘Year in the life of‘, the last episode of our ‘MDS‘ build up, 15 mins of Fame with Tony Di Giovani, the News, Up and Coming Races and a Meltzer Moment.

Show Notes:

00:00:45 Start
00:17:15 Mike Wardian we catch up with TNF athlete Mike Wardian as he gets back into training and racing after a series of injuries.
00:28:25 Back to Karl
00:31:30 A Year in the life of – Tyler has just run a 50km and is now preparing for a 70 miler.
00:38:40 News from around the ultra world
00:53:15 MDS special – as you listen to this we will be in Morocco for the 2013 Marathon des Sables. This episode we catch up with Tobias Mews. You can read a 2013 Race Preview  HERE and an interview with Race Director, Patrick Bauer HERE.
01:07:20 Blog – Ellie Greenwood -I know we have had Ellie Greenwoods blog on the show before but just recently she ran Two Oceans in South Africa as she prepares for Comrades. Many think that ultras are about running slow and comfortable pace… Ellie confirms it’s not! Speed matters – HERE

01:10:05 Talk TrainingDr Phil Maffetone Please check on iancorless.com for an article that will coincide with this podcast HERE
01:49:10 Interview with Richard Bowles. Richard has a taste for adventure and running a long way… check out his website HERE you can also read about his next adventure HERE
02:20:20 Meltzer Moment
02:23:15 15 min of Fame with Tony Di Giovani – I met Tony (and his friends) at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. He has an inspiring story…
02:36:15 Races
2:38:50 Close
02:44:14  End
Show Links:

Richard Bowles – He’s at it again…

Running the Israel National Trail (INT)

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Described as a hybrid of Bear Grylls and Forrest Gump, Melbourne based adventure runner Richard Bowles is set to create another record in the world of ultra-distance trail running, in one of the most fascinating countries on the planet.

Just another long distance runner? Hardly. In 2012 Richard ran over 10,500km of trails, the equivalent distance of 249 marathons, but in much different circumstances. Imagine doing Tough Mudder 10 times a week, add in to the mix some crocodile infested river crossings, an avalanche zone and an active volcano and you’re getting some sense of Richards typical week, every week, for a whole year.

Is he a bit nuts? Maybe, because he’s about embark on yet another wild adventure.

Starting on Sunday 14 April 2013 , Richard will run (and climb) atleast 80km each day along the 1009km INT that winds its way from the Red Sea in Eilat in the southernmost part of Israel to Dan in the North, near the border of Lebanon and Syria, where he plans to arrive 12 days later on April 26….or even sooner if all goes well!

The trail, described by National Geographic as one of the worlds most ‘epic trails’, was the vision of Israeli Ori Dvir, and showcases Israels impressive landscape. Traversing the arid and unforgiving Negev, along ancient Roman roads, climbing up and down craters and canyons, past historically significant sites and over mountain passes, along lush river valleys, and through the heart of the bustling Tel Aviv.

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During 2012 Richard became the first person to run the worlds longest marked trail, the rough and remote Bicentennial National Trail of Australia traversing the treacherous and remote dividing range mountains from Melbourne to Cooktown, raising awareness and funds for mental health organisation SANE Australia along the way. Just 3 weeks after completing this incredible feat, Richard flew to New Zealand to tackle their incredibly tough and dangerous 3,054km Te Araroa Trail, and in just 65 days Richard became the first person to run the entire trail.

Combining a passion for adventure, a love for running, and a determination to make a positive contribution to the places through which he runs, Richard and the team will be choosing a worthy charity, one whose work is close to his heart and to which he feels he can offer the most benefit to. The charity partner will be confirmed in the coming weeks. Richard believes in giving back, as these adventures and the people who support him give him so much.

Run INT Project

Running 1009km on Israel’s National Trail, over mountains and deserts….and in just 12 days! Or less!!

Project Website

www.richardbowles.com.au

The Israel National Trail – 1009km winding through this most geographically and historically significant part of the world, from Eilat in the South to Dan in the North.

www.israelnationaltrail.com

WHY?

The question most people ask is why would anyone want to run over 80km each day for 2 weeks? Richard explains, “The trail less travelled offers the best adventures, and I’m all about challenging myself on a daily basis”.

Richard says he is keen to meet with the communities through which the trail passes, and always takes the time to do so…even when running such huge distances each day. “The highlight of the projects in 2012 was meeting people. Being welcomed into their homes, sharing stories over a meal, and enjoying the wonderful adventure that they had now become a part of”.

Who is Richard?

Richard Bowles has many years experience in the discipline of distance running and regularly runs 200km weekly on trails around Melbourne. He is the first person to ever run the worlds longest marked trail (5,330km Bicentennial National Trail, Australia) , and is the Australian Record holder of the 2010 Tenzing Hillary Mt Everest Marathon; Winner of the 2011 Tasmanian 3 Peaks Challenge (sailing and mountain running event) and Record Holder of the Wilsons Prom Ultra Marathon 2010.
For more info go to http://www.richardbowles.com.au

More about the Israel National Trail

Inspiration for the trail came from Avraham Tamir, a well-known children’s book author who, at the age of 78 hiked the Appalachian Trail. Upon returning to Israel he proposed a hiking trail that wove its way from one end to the other. And so, in 1991, the Israel National Trail (INT) was born. Beginning in the far north of the country hugging the border with Lebanon, the tiny Kibbutz Dan marks the starting point. The finishing line is found some 1009km further south, where Israel’s Red Sea coast stops at the border with Egypt. To undertake the entire trail takes seasoned hikers 30 to 45 days maintaining a pace of about 30 kilometres a day.

Jez conquers the Te Araroa

copyright Jamie Ashwell

copyright Jamie Ashwell

November 13th 2012 seems such a long time ago… New Zealand House in London and a press conference organized by The North Face to announce Jez Bragg’s 3000 + km journey along the Te Araroa – ‘The Long Pathway’ in New Zealand.

INTERVIEW available from the press conference HERE

With a departure date of Dec 4th and a start date of Dec 12th, Jez’s journey was always going to be an epic. But this was no ordinary journey. An addition to running from the tip of the north island to Bluff at the bottom of the south island, Jez would also cross all water sections by his own power.

His crew of Mark Taylor (father in law) and Jamie Ashwell (long term friend) as you can imagine have been integral to the success of this journey. Mark is an experienced Kayaker and this would provide great support for Jez in the water crossings. In particular, the crossing of the Cook Strait.

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Jamie is a dab hand in the kitchen and knows Jez well. As Jez said on numerous occasions “you need the people around you to understand you. I will have lots of highs and lows on this epic journey”. The team housed in a modest camper van would be spending some 50+ days together living and breathing each others air.

Dedicated crew

Dedicated crew

Jez had the dream of running the Te Araroa when Paul Charteris, organizer of the Tarawera ultra in New Zealand mentioned it to him. It was approximately 3 years ago. The trail at that stage was not completed but with a proposed opening date of December 2011 Jez decided to pitch the idea for funding to The North Face. A key element of TNF backing is that each year they take ideas from sponsored athletes and discuss the pros and cons. Lizzy Hawker had benefited from this in the past with her Nepal crossing. With the idea submitted, Jez crossed his fingers… it worked! The idea was approved and it was all systems go.

Of course best-laid plans occasionally hit a glitch. With planning well underway and dates set, Jez and the team heard that Richard Bowles had started on the Te Araroa and planned to run the whole length… “these things happen and you can’t plan for it” said Jez “although Richard will now be the first person to run the whole trail it won’t be the same as mine. I will do this under my own power for the whole length and in addition, I plan to go for a fastest known time

Mike Wolfe, fellow TNF teammate and respected ultra runner in his own right had also been brought into the mix. Initially the plan was for Mike to join Jez when he reached the south island and then pace and help him along as he battled the tougher sections of the course. When I caught up with Jez after his crossing of the Cook Strait and just as he started to run in the south he confirmed that Mike would no longer be joining him. Mike had been suffering with some injury and as desperate as he was to join Jez for that ‘lifetime’ journey he had to be sensible and hold back “Jez is killing it man” Mike said, “he is doing such an awesome job, I don’t think it’s getting enough attention. What Jez is doing is awesome. It breaks my heart to have to say no at this stage. Believe me I have labored over this decision

You can listen to my interview with Jez just after he had crossed from north to south in episode 26 of Talk Ultra HERE go to 01:09:30

The Long Pathway - Jez BraggWhat is the Te Araroa?

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Te AraroaThe Long Pathway – is a continuous 3,000 km walking track from Cape Reinga to Bluff. It is described on the official website as the ultimate 120 day New Zealand experience (Jez did it in 53 days).

The Te Araroa is a different kind of trail. Its boundaries are the natural boundaries of New Zealand. It links settlements, townships and cities. It has a multitude of experience on offer; cultural, natural and historic. Starting at the sea and finishing at the sea when en route you explore tombolos, volcanoes, mountains, rivers, lakes and valleys.

As Jez found out. It’s one seriously tough trail. He started by running for miles and miles along desolate beach. He was then on thick, muddy and gnarly trail. Sometimes going up, sometimes going down. He expressed “it is more of a route than a trail. A trail would imply that I have marked path but more often than not I am just trying to get across sections as best as I can. It is so difficult, incredibly beautiful but ultimately it has been like running in a jungle. It’s been tough!”

Practicalities

I am amazed at what I have been eating” said Jez “I normally wouldn’t eat cooked breakfasts but Jamie has been incredible providing me with eggs and bacon in the morning. To be honest, I just can’t eat enough”. What is interesting that after a problematic early 2012 season and constant stomach issues, Jez found out he was gluten intolerant “once I knew, the transformation was remarkable, within just two weeks I was a changed person

This dietary knowledge has been crucial in the success of this expedition. It was only a month or so before his December departure date that Jez had wondered if the journey would be possible.

You can’t run without energy” Jez explained “when you don’t absorb the calories or when the calories you eat cause problems, you only have one solution, stop or find out what is wrong

Jamie, armed with this knowledge has been able to make sure that Jez has had the food he needs in the quantities he needs and of course it has all been gluten free!

The ‘Tardis’ the modest camper van has been HQ for the whole trip providing a well needed bed for Jez and the team but very often Jez has camped wild or used huts to maximize time on the trail. Of course, The North Face has been instrumental in providing Jez with all the required kit to make this happen.

Although the plan for each day was not fixed in advance, a strategy was always formulated on the morning or the night before. Mark and Jamie would arrange to meet Jez on the trail at certain points to replenish supplies and provide support.

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Everything would be ready allowing Jez to replenish or eat and then be back out on the trail asap. If Jez stayed out on the trail a pack would be prepared in advance – tent, clothes, sleeping bag, jetboil, food and most importantly a satellite phone.

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Family

Jez was married not long before he headed out to New Zealand. In addition to this, Christmas Day would be spent on some trail. Not an ideal way to start a new marriage? But Gemma seems to have thrived on seeing Jez achieve. She travelled out to New Zealand after Christmas and has been able to see the transformation in Jez. This transformation is physical, of course, she has seen the ravages of all those miles and the deficit in calories but the change will be one many of us won’t see. It is the change that will be within him. Nobody will know some of the personal battles and demons that Jez will have faced while putting one front in front of the other.

Mark my words; once Jez has recovered from this journey I think we will see a ‘new’ Jez on race start lines. All the accumulated miles and hours on the trail and the mental hardness will be transferred into winning performances.

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Without doubt and I know Jez will be the first acknowledge this, that Mark, Jamie, Gemma and her mum, Hiliary have been an integral element of this whole journey. He may have been out on the trail running but the planning, support and backing has come from a camper van. Even down to home cooked food and homemade cakes.

Job done

53 days, 9 hours and 1 min. Job done! The previous record was 62 days set by Richard Bowles.

Jez initially had planned to complete the Journey by the end of January and he most certainly would have had had he not been hit with stomach issues on the south island. After a late finish, 3am! Jez had a fever. Understanding his body very well he knew he was in trouble. After resting and taking medication he finally responded but ultimately lost three days…

And I quote Jez:

“At a 1601hrs this afternoon, 53 days 9 hours and 1 minute after setting from Cape Regina, I finally completed my long journey down the Te Araroa trail, arriving in Bluff – lands end on the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. Gathered there waiting were my crew, Mark & James, my wife Gemma, my mum and my mother-in-law, Hilary. Damiano from the Storyteller Collective was there capturing the moment on photo and video, just has he done so magnificently throughout the expedition. They sprayed me with champagne and we danced around the landmark yellow finger post like we’d just won the lottery. There were bystanders around too, probably wondering what the heck was going on, but none of us gave a hoot. It was raw emotion for me; all my heart and soul, sweat and tears, had been put into realizing this moment, and it almost happened too suddenly to take it all in. I’ve been a robotic state for most of the time since I started – in my own little bubble – and I think it’s going to take several days to snap out of it. My body is also going to want to know what the heck is going on when I don’t run tomorrow; so I think some wind down jogging/ walking is going to be important”

02nd February 2012 – I am scheduled to catch up with Jez as soon as possible. He is currently in New Zealand to the 7th and then will go to Thailand.

UPDATE

February 2nd 2013 recorded less than 1 day after Jez Bragg recorded the fastest time of 53 days 9 hours and 1 min for crossing The Long Pathway – Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand.

I think you can hear the emotion in his voice!

DOWNLOAD AND LISTEN HERE

Follow Jez on his blog HERE

The North Face HERE