We will depart from Sydney and travel by bicycle unassisted back to the Emerald Isle. Below is the route we are planning to take. Bit of a spin eh?
We started at Sydneys Children's hospital, Randwick at 10am on Sunday 4th August 2019. We said goodbye to our friends and departed from the gate on High St. The first pedal on the road back to Ireland.
Over the course of the next 12 - 18 months we will cycle across 3 continents and through 28 countries. Easy work!? ; ) We thought the same so decided to push the boundaries and take on the challenge of running an ultramarathon in each country we set foot. An ultramarathon is anything over 42.2km in distance. We have decided to do 64km, why 64? 64km was the first ultra we ran together in Dec 2018 on an island off the coast of Tasmania called Bruny. Is this achievable??? Time will tell!
Our first continent to cross was of course Australia.
We began our journey in Randwick in Sydney and headed towards Perth. Australia has a population of 24.6 million and estimated 85% of the population live within 50km of the coast. As you can imagine our route did not have us meeting many people or going through many towns. Although desolate, there was an unbelievable beauty about it. We passed through 3 timezones (got an extra hour in bed those days) and saw lots of red dirt, wild camels, horses, kangaroos, emu's and a couple of snakes for good measure! Our first ultramarathon was just south of Perth called The Waterous Trail on Foot in a place called Dwellingup on the 28th September 2019. We ran the 50 mile event on the day. It was a bit more then our planned 64km so we got more miles of smiles and the bonus of it been an event made it easier on us not having to worry about a route. Aid stations on the course saved us trying to carry water and food to do us for the full day. Also getting to meet the other participants and the buzz around the event made it all the easier. We cannot thank everyone who helped us out on the day, with a special thanks to Nicci Gafen who crewed us and ensured we had all the food and snacks we needed to get us over the line.
From Perth we caught a flight to Vietnam and to Ho Chi Minh City. We put our bikes back together, cycled south to the island of Phi Quoc and ran our Vietnamese Ultra. We crossed the border at Ha Tien into Cambodia. From Ha Then we cycled to Phonm Penh and then to Siem Reap where we ran our Cambodian Ultra around the 800 year old temples of Angkor Wat. From Siem Reap we headed North and crossed into Thailand at Anlong Veng. We cycled through Eastern Thailand and crossed the friendship bridge into the capital of Laos, Vientiane. We made our way to Luang Prabang to run our Laos Ultra before heading back across Northern Thailand to Chiang May for ultramarathon number 4. We spent the last day of 2019 in Mae Sot Thailand before crossing the bridge into Myanmar the following day. We made our way through Myanmar albeit with a parasite getting involved ended with a surgery been needed in Mandalay. After Mandalay we crossed the border at Tamu into North East India and the state of Manipur. We cycled across the states of North East India and arrived in the city of Siliguri in West Bengal when covid19 became a pandemic and we made the decision to return to Ireland until borders reopen for foreigners in time to come.
The plan going forward:
Right now we are hoping to get back on the road in summer 2021. We will fly back to Siliguri and start where we left off. Lots can happen in between but if we can get back at that date we will continue to Nepal before heading for Central Asia to cross The Pamir Highway on our way to Turkey.
Once we get to Europe we have a few options of what route we could take. Right now the plan is to enter into Greece and head south and cross over to the South of Italy. Up through Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, across the English Channel, cycle across England and Wales, ferry across the Irish Sea into Dun Laoghaire and to the doors of Crumlin Hospital before we cycle down to the sunny south east.