Guy Schweitzer, pictured above, will set off next month on a remarkable 4900km adventure. Not by car, plane or train – but running right across Australia.
His epic trip will start at Port Hedland, West Australia on May 28 and finish at ‘home’ in Scarborough, having crossed four states, the Red Centre, Gibson and Simpson Deserts.
No rest days are planned or records to be broken. “This is more of an adventure.” Guy said. “Plan is to do it in 80 days. If it takes 90, so be it.”
He plans to have a support crew alongside for just three weeks in total - two being on the remote dirt roads in West Australia.
Otherwise Guy's schedule will see him "alone", between resupplies from his team or towns, for a maximum of three days in the Outback.
On those occasions the 47-year-old (48 when he starts) will be self-supporting, carrying food and water while aiming to do 60kms a day.
Guy has already run part of the route - 200kms from Port Hedland to Marble Bar - while working on the Spoilbank Marina, as a director of MGN Civil, for the last two years.
He has also completed ultra-distance events, such as the 200-mile (322km) Delirious WEST from Northcliff to Albany and is training in the heat and humidity of the Pilbara.
But in a decade of long-distance running, he has never taken on a challenge such as this.
'Big red land'
“The idea to run across Australia is not something I had on the bucket list,” Guy said on his Facebook page Home Run.
“But after exploring so much of this vast land and seeing a few others doing amazing continent crossings here and abroad, something flicked in my head.
“For me this crossing is not about following what others have done or chasing records.
“For me it is about connecting my life experiences in the Pilbara, my family at home and seeing the heart of this big red land.”
Guy’s trans-continental route will go from Port Hedland to Marble Bar, then follow the remote and unsealed Gary Junction Road across the Gibson Desert and south of the McDonnell Ranges to Alice Springs.
He then turns south to Finke and the Simpson Desert (where the support crew will rejoin him), back to Birdsville, the ‘ghost town’ Betoota, Innaminka, Noccumdra, Cunnamulla, St George, Warwick and finally Scarborough.
Guy will carry a satellite phone to enable live tracking and messaging when out of regular phone service and a one-man tent, which he will sleep in for most of the journey - unless run times coincide with a motel!
However, “water is the number one priority,” Guy said. “Depending on where I am, I plan to carry up to 10 litres a day. For a three-day stretch I'll carry 30L, plus 10L back up.
“As the run progresses and I get a better handle on my water usage I will adjust accordingly. I expect to use more in WA as it will be hotter.
“As I move to central Australia the temperatures really drop off, so I expect to use less. The other challenge will be calorie intake.
“I expect to burn upwards of 6000 calories a day. I’ll be using self-made ration packs. It has been a real challenge to put together a high calorie food diet with minimal weight.”
Blisters are “on the cards” and each day Guy will “prepare” the parts of his body likely to be impacted by the constant rubbing of clothes.
Fortunately, he has a “good handle” on this from the Great Southern Endurance Run (181kms), Blackall 100 and Boston Marathon, as well as training in the Pilbara.
“I actually think the biggest challenge will be mental,” he said, “Trying to stay focussed while being lonely and keeping myself motivated day-after-day, to run.
“I expect the first few weeks will be hardest on this front as my mind and body adjust to the new norm.
“Of course, I have fears – some of the roads I travel on are very lonely and I may go days without seeing a single person.
“Strange as this may seem, I am more concerned about humans than I am about what nature can throw at me!”
After crossing the finish line Guy said he would “give my wife Sonia a big hug – if she lets me as I will probably stink to high heaven!
“Following this I hope to have a SHBC (Scarborough Harbour Brewing Company) beer or three!”
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