Chris and Len have a history of endurance adventures including ultra marathons, adventure races and together in 2010, a kayak crossing of Bass Strait. They undertake these adventures to break out of their everyday synchrony, exceed their perceived limits and to feed their paleolithic, caveman instincts.
This adventure is inspired by the Westfield Sydney to Melbourne races held between 1983 and 1991, at the time, one of the toughest in the world. The idea to follow in these footsteps will however only be 3 weeks old when Chris and Len set-off. But an inspiring idea and two weeks of annual leave is an opportunity, by their own account, not to be lost.
Lastly, please consider these two thoughts: 1. the loss of biodiversity on Earth threatens life as we know it - it threatens supplies of fresh water, food, medicine, clothing, housing and the viability of oxygen-producing forests. 2. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew predict that one fifth of all plant species are at imminent risk of extinction. Chris and Len, both with science background are really hoping to make a positive impact on this situation. They seeking to use their love of adventure to raise a very modest $2,000 needed to save one of Australia’s rarest plant and one they will pass near on the Hume Highway, the Grevillea iaspicula. Please see sidebar to read more about the Royal Botanic Gardens ‘Save a Species’ initiative and help them :)
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Our two Save a Species heroes finished the gruelling 900 kilometre run from Sydney to Melbourne today arriving at Melbourne’s GPO at 1pm after setting off from Sydney’s’ GPO on Sunday, 19th June to save critically endangered plant species from extinction.
On track to save three plants from extinction, Chris Turnbull, aged 27 and Len Gervay, aged 30 endured sleet, hundred kilometre plus winds and sleep deprivation for the Save a Species campaign run by the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust. Chris said they’re grateful for the incredible support from donors reaching from Sydney to Melbourne and as far afield as Queensland as well as the amazing support from people along the route including regional hotels, sports shops and local runners who joined the journey after hearing about their run in the media.
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Monday, 27 June 2011
Friday, 24 June 2011
Day 2 (Mon): Slept at Goulburn
Day 3 (Tues): Slept at Yass
Day 4 (Wed): Slept at Jugiong
Day 5 (Thurs): Slept Sth of Gundagai
Day 6 (Tonight): We plan to sleep at Holbrook
Day 7 (Sat): We plan to sleep at Albury
Day 8 (Sun): We plan to sleep at Wangaratta
Day 9 (Mon): We plan to sleep at Euroa
Day 10 (Tues): We plan to sleep at Seymour
Day 11 (Wed): We plan to hit the outskirts of Melbourne and arrive in CBD today or early tomorrow morning
Chris Turnbull said, “There are currently 608 plants on the threatened species list of New South Wales. That’s more than ten percent of the State’s flora.
“Our Save a Species run has already received enough donations for the NSW Seedbank to collect and preserve seeds of the critically endangered Wee Jasper Grevillea.
“As we approach the halfway point of our journey we are within $100 of the funds needed to also protect Carex klaphakei, a swamp grass found in the Southern Highlands, an area we have just run through, and in the Blue Mountains.
NSW Seedbank Natural Heritage Manager Peter Cuneo said, “Carex klaphakei is only known from three locations and has become endangered through runoff from urban sites, grazing and trampling by stock, and sand mining.
“Wetlands are the biological keystones of the landscape. Their sedge grasses, such as the Carex klaphakei, help filter and retain the water that is essential for life, stabilise the soil and provide habitat for reptiles, birds and insects.”
Len Gervay said, “Chris and I are civil engineers so we look at wetlands as basic infrastructure for the planet’s biodiversity. Swamp grasses aren’t glamorous but nor are railway ties or road base and you don’t build railtracks or roads without them. The swamp grasses play a similar critical role in the infrastructure of our natural systems.”
The two runners admit to bouts of extreme exhaustion but mental and physical support has come in many forms. Andrew Bowman, a farrier (horse shoer) and TAFE teacher of Corroyong, Victoria, leapt from his car and handed the keys to the support crew before joining the runners on foot for the next 40 kilometres of the day.
Mr Bowman said, “Watching is no substitute. I wanted to be out there with them. What they are doing is absolutely fantastic. Their journey on foot between the two premier cities of Australia to save our species takes the notion of pilgrimage to another level.”
Every $2000 raised by the Sydney to Melbourne run covers the cost of the NSW Seedbank collecting and preserving seeds of one native plant species.
In Australia there are 25,000 species of plants and at least 23 per cent are at risk of extinction. The NSW Seedbank at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan, is targeting plants most at risk from climate change and human activities to ensure blueprints contained in plant DNA aren’t lost forever.
The Carex Klaphakei was discovered less than 20 years ago by amateur naturalist Van Klaphake and described in 1996 by Dr Karen Wilson of the National Herbarium of NSW, Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust.
Thursday, 23 June 2011
Because we like to push ourselves we've raised the bar of the fundraising target to save another species. We might even manage a third if you all dig deep! Despite battling high winds and cold rain on the Hume Highway, we're in good spirits and interest from the media has great, what a brilliant way to promote Save a Species. We're aiming for Gundagai tonight and want to say a big thank you to the Garden Motor Inn for putting us up, really looking forward to a hot shower! More on our progress soon.
Friday, 17 June 2011
|Sun 6:30 AM||Sydney GPO|
|Sun 2:50 PM||Cambeltown|
|Sun 7:50 PM||Pheasants Nest|
|Sun 11:20 PM||Alpine|
|Mon 12:30 AM||Mittagong|
|Mon 1:20 AM||Bowral|
|Mon 2:50 AM||Moss Vale|
|Mon 12:30 PM||Murrimba Rd, Paddy River|
|Mon 2:40 PM||Marulan|
|Mon 7:30 PM||Goulburn|
|Mon 11:20 PM||Breadalbane*, Cullerin Rd, Wollogorang Rd|
|Tue 3:10 AM||Gunning*, Collector Rd|
|Tue 9:50 AM||Oolong*, Oolong Rd|
|Tue 2:00 PM||Yass*, Faulder Ave|
|Tue 3:50 PM||Bowning*, Cootamundra Rd|
|Tue 7:10 PM||Bookham|
|Tue 9:40 PM||Berramangra|
|Wed 12:10 AM||Jugiong|
|Wed 3:30 AM||Gundagai Rd|
|Wed 11:30 AM||Gundagai|
|Wed 1:40 PM||Tumblong|
|Wed 7:20 PM||Tarcutta|
|Wed 11:20 PM||Kyeamba|
|Thu 2:30 AM||Little Billabong Rd|
|Thu 11:50 AM||Holbrook|
|Thu 2:20 PM||Woomargama|
|Thu 6:50 PM||Olympic Interchange|
|Thu 10:20 PM||Albury, Dean Street|
|Thu 11:20 PM||Wodonga|
|Fri 3:20 AM||Bamawartha|
|Fri 9:50 AM||Chiltern|
|Fri 12:10 PM||Springhurst|
|Fri 4:10 PM||Wangaratta|
|Fri 9:10 PM||Winton|
|Fri 10:50 PM||Banella|
|Sat 12:50 AM||Baddaginnie|
|Sat 4:00 AM||Violet Town|
|Sat 12:10 PM||Euroa|
|Sat 5:40 PM||Longwood|
|Sat 7:10 PM||Locksley|
|Sat 9:20 PM||Avenel|
|Sun 12:10 AM||Seymour|
|Sun 5:10 AM||Broadford|
|Sun 1:30 PM||Heathcote Junction|
|Sun 6:50 PM||Epping (Outter Melb)|
|Sun 10:20 PM||Melbourne|
Still knee deep in the throes of organisation – shopping for food and packing, refining the support crew schedule, teeing up massages and accommodation along the route, testing the borrowed GPS unit (thank you Phil!), praying to the higher powers that oversee all things muscular, practising sleep jogging…
Had a very enjoyable bunch of conversations yesterday – lots of swapping of stories with fellow adventures, at a Toast Masters meeting of all places. My favourite snippet came from Bob Kenderes who offered, amongst other invaluable pieces of advice, a Hungarian saying: “ha hosszu az ut, lassan kell menni”, which roughly translated would mean “if the road is long, take it slowly”… might well become a mantra!
We were lucky enough to have a photograph session this morning. Keep an eye on the papers – fame may be heading our way. What lengths must one go to in order to get into print media? Approximately 900km, at a guess.
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Towards the end of last year I increased my training to be consistently over 220km a week leading into the long races. This steals a lot of the week's time (not sustainable when there is plenty else to do!) but did adapt my body to comfortably running with fatigued legs, though not very fast. This year I have focused on speed - that is sprints on stairs, hills and flats - and it's had a incredible impact on my 100km trail race pace.
Thinking up the 900km race with Len, with 3 weeks lead time, hasn't left much time to adjust back to the long km's strategy. So with a 10km run every morning an evening I have to clasp at whatever other kms I can grab on the weekend. Even after a good bender. Check below vid for some running action on the way home from Woy Woy last Sunday. A gnarly ferry ride across broken bay then some fun splashing through puddles running around the headlands of the northern beaches. Some wind burn. A few strange looks from strangers sheltering from the occasional rain torrents. A grumble from me as I added km doing unnecessary circles around falcon st. An Arnie like "how are you" from my housemate as I arrive home - after leaving him behind in woy woy's gnostic coffee shop 4 hours earlier.
Yep - next time ill get someone else to hold the camera still.
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Monday, 6 June 2011
Sunday, 5 June 2011
- A GPS spot tracker – and setting up live tracking
- Contacts at any company that may be interested in sponsoring our fun
- Support crew to throw us a few bones along the way
- Best place to have a beer in Melbourne