16 March, 2013

Over the Moorabool and around the world

Relating this post to the exact topic of my blog is a bit of a stretch, however it does tie in very closely to one of my other favourite topics - running. But this is not just running around the Barwon, as I have discussed before, this is quite literally about running on a global scale.
You see, on Wednesday I spent much of the day running. I played my usual morning netball game and attended my regular evening run, but in between I had the opportunity to participate - albeit briefly - in something truly remarkable: the first mainland Australian leg of a run around the world.
This run is being undertaken by Tony Mangan, an ultramarathon running Irishman from Dublin who, on 25th October, 2010 embarked on his dream of 20 years to run around the world.
Jo with world runner Tony Mangan
I won't go into too much detail, but suffice to say that so far Tony has run from Dublin to Dunquin, Co. Kerry (the westernmost point of Ireland), resuming from Cape Spear, Newfoundland which is the eastern most point of Canada and from there, south to Maine in the Unite States. From Maine he crossed the continent, heading west and south to complete the US stage of his run in San Diego where, after a break of a few weeks, he headed south down Mexico's Baja Peninsula before crossing to the mainland and continuing down into South America, finally completing this leg of his journey in Tierra del Fuego on 10th December, 2012.
After a short break at home for Christmas, Tony was back on the road, this time in Fiji. By the 18th of January he was in New Zealand, running from Auckland in the north to Invercargill at the bottom of the south island. That done, he arrived in Hobart, Tasmania and headed to Burnie where he spent a few days before catching a flight to Melbourne.
Anyone interested in reading the blog of Tony's ongoing adventure can do so here: The World Jog. It is well worth the read.
Then, on Wednesday morning 13th March, 2013, in the company of Michael Gillan who will act as his crew across mainland Australia, Tony hit the beach at Queenscliff...and that is where we come into the picture.
"We" in this instance was myself, Joe and Zdenko, all members of Joe's "Geelong Runners". Being otherwise occupied, I did not join the three guys until about midday when Joe took a quick trip back to Geelong to collect me (thanks Joe!). He and Zdenko had taken turns running with Tony out of Queenscliff and along the Bellarine Highway.

Zdenko and Tony
When I joined them, they were a little over 13km into the run and (for those who know the area) had just passed the Grubb Road turn off to Ocean Grove. After a brief round of introductions, I dusted off my runners and hit the road alongside Tony whilst Joe and Zdenko took turns running and driving.

Running with Tony and Joe, heading for Leopold
Every time we stopped for a drinks break, Tony would take a few sips and
disappear into the distance, forcing us to play catch up
Less than three hours later at a slow but remarkably distance-consuming pace, we made it into town and after a bit of fast talking on Joe's part, took Tony on the scenic route (via that other body of water with which much of Geelong seems preoccupied) to his accommodation for the night on Western Beach, overlooking Corio Bay.
I believe it had been Tony's original intention to run through the centre of town and out towards Fyansford and beyond that day, which would have given me the perfect excuse to expound upon the many fascinating aspects of the Barwon. Of course, in view of the fact that the Deviation Road is a no-go zone for pedestrians (a fact which I suspect was not known to the rest of the group), our international guest may even have found himself running along the track beside the river as he headed out of town. Now that would have been handy for a blog pic or two!
However, it was not to be and as it turned out, Tony decided to call it a day upon reaching the hotel. So, after a quick photo shoot for the Geelong Advertiser, we headed off to get ready for our own run before reconvening with Tony and some of our other runners at the Boat House for dinner and an impromptu demonstration of Michael Gillan's recovery techniques.
The next morning saw Tony hit the road again with Michael in tow, heading out of town on the Midland Highway. This provided me with my one and only photo opportunity in which to place Tony in the setting of the Barwon River system. Fortunately he had been provided with a free breakfast and as a result did not get off to a super early start which worked to my advantage. By 9am I was on the road and spotted Tony just clearing the outskirts of Bell Post Hill. This gave me the chance to take up position on the west bank of the Moorabool River, camera in hand.
I would like to be able to say I was able to snap a pretty shot of Tony crossing the historic bluestone bridge at Batesford:
Historic bluestone bridge at Batesford
but every extra step counts, so he stuck to the main route, crossing the Moorabool on the newer, less scenic bridge which carries all the passing traffic on the highway. 
Tony crossing the Moorabool River at Batesford

Over the Moorabool...
From the bridge, Tony headed up, out of the Moorabool Valley and off towards Geringhap.

...and out of the Valley...
We caught up with him again as he passed Bannockburn and ran a few last kilometres with him as he continued his journey, heading up the highway towards Ballarat, Ararat, Stawell and beyond...

And the journey continues...
...accompanied all the while - had he but known it - by the the northern tributaries of the Barwon which shadowed his route to Ballarat: the Moorabool on his right, flowing from the Bungal Dam and beyond and on his left, Bruce's Creek an as yet (by me) unexplored creek feeding into the Leigh River which of course, traced Tony's route all the way up to its headwaters where it rises as the Yarrowee River in Ballarat.
As I write this post, Tony has reached a point a few kilometres outside the town of Beaufort between Ararat and Ballarat, heading for the South Australian border.
Good luck with the rest of the world Tony!!!

1 comment:

  1. Great description of his travels, Joanne. I like your pictures that depict "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner".