The Land Down Under, Australia and the Outback marathon report!


Hello Friends, Family and Neighbors-

Fifth continent done and two more (Africa and Anarctica) to go on my quest to run a marathon on every continent, in each of the 50 states, and the 5 marathon majors -- a marathon a month -- for Alexandria, VA charities.  This year I'm running and raising money for: Girls on the RunCommunity LodgingsThe Reading ConnectionACT for Alexandria and Child & Family Network Centers.

Favorite Daughter #1 and I had a terrific time, first in Sydney, and then in The Outback.  What a great and diverse country.  

Sydney, in New South Wales, is an amazing city.  It reminds me of San Francisco (water and boats -- sail, ferry, and commercial, points and coves), New York city (blocks and blocks of downtown skyscrapers) and London (driving on the opposite side of the road and old cobbled lane ways through historic townhomes/shop areas), all wrapped up in one.

The Rocks: Sydney's oldest quarter where we traced the footsteps of spice traders and convicts.

*Factoid:  A third of all Sydneysiders are foreign born.

*Factoid:  The country is slightly smaller than the contiguous US states and the climate, wow, goes from temperate to tropical/subtropical to desert.
The Opera House

The Opera House with Sydney Harbor Bridge
(the bridge we climbed!)

The Opera House (below) and The Opera House with the Sydney Harbor Bridge behind highlight this part of the harbor.

*Factoid:  Aboriginal presence in the Sydney area has been dated to 43,000 BC.

The first British fleet landed in Sydney Cove in the late 1700’s carrying more than 1,000 convicts, soldiers, administrators and their families.  Soon after that, Sydney’s first free settlers began to arrive.  In 1840, the transportation of convicts ceased and the rest is history.

The Outback was a three hour flight NW into the Northern Territory.  We left the city and once over the mountains, the terrain turned flat, then red and flat, with scrubby vegetation.  Soon, we saw Ayers Rock (Uluru) and The Olgas (Kata Tjuta).  It was as if these enormous red masses had been dropped out of the sky onto the flat, desert floor.
Ayers Rock at Sunrise
*Factoid:  Ayers Rock is carved from one huge unfractured, piece of rock.  It is 2 1/4 miles long and rises 1,141 feet above the surrounding scrub.

*Factoid:  About 500 million years ago, this was all part of the ocean floor.  Amazing...

So without further adieu...
The Good
Sydney - city sites and surrounds.

  • The Harbor Bridge climb.  We climbed along catwalks and ladders to the top of the upper arch span for a jaw-dropping 360 degree views -- ocean to the east, mountains to the west and the harbor city all around us.

443 feet above Sydney Harbor

  • Famous Bondi Beach (for surfing and catching the sights).

Koala at Featherdale Park
  • Featherdale Wildlife Park.  A day-long adventure outside Sydney.  At the park, we were able to get up close to some of Australia’s most famous animals including koalas,  kangaroos and crocodiles.

Featherdale Park

Feeding the Emu and hoping I won't get attacked!

    Deep in the valley
  • The Blue Mountains.  Where we hiked the trails down and back up, twisting through the rainforest and along gorgeous waterfalls.

The Blue Mountains and The Three Sisters (rock formation)

The Outback - red sand and scrub,  Ayers Rock and The Olgas.

  •  Sunrise at Uluru (Ayers Rock).  Started the day watching the sun rise and the colors change on Ayers Rock.

  •  Sounds of Silence Dinner.  BBQ buffet, under a canopy of brilliant stars, with traditional fare (crocodile, kangaroo and Barramundi) while our Star Talker took us on a journey of the night sky...  constellations, The Southern Cross, The Milky Way, and Mars, Venus and Saturn all lined up in a row.
*Factoid:  You can’t see the North Star in the Southern Hemisphere.  Makes sense, I had just never thought about it...

Kangaroo, Barramundi and Crocodile

  •  Camel Tour.  A cameleer led our small group on Dromedary camels (one humped) along paths, for great sights (again) of Ayers Rock and The Olgas.  Camels were imported into Australia and are now a common sight in Central Australia.  With no known predators or diseases, numbers are estimated to be over a million wild camels wandering the desert regions.
Camel Caravan

  • Dot Painting Workshop with an Aboriginal guide and interpreter.  I have no photos of this as we were not allowed to take pictures, but Favorite Daughter #1 and I were able to listen, learn and then paint our own story using traditional Anangu (native Aboriginal people) symbols and techniques.  We heard both the Uluru (Ayers Rock) creation stories and the creation stories of the surrounds, how Kuniya (woman python), Liru (poisonous snake), Mala (hare-wallaby) and Lungkata (blue-tongue lizard) created the land.
    Race Morning
  • Marathon.  Goes without saying.  I got a chance to run 26.2 miles in the Australian Outback!

Didjeridoo player at race start
click here to watch a youtube video

*Factoid:  The Aboriginal didjeridoo is likely the oldest instrument in the wind family.

Kelly (from marathon tours) and me

No Bad and No Ugly!
(except for a little jet lag...)
I’m off again; this time to Vancouver, BC  (Lululemon Ambassador Summit Meeting) and then to Anchorage, AK (August marathon... why not since I'm already out here?).  Cheers everyone and thanks to those who have contributed lately.  Remember, I pay all of my own travel expenses and associated fees.  Ever dollar you donate goes to the charities listed above and is 100% tax deductible.  To lace up your shoes and contribute for at-risk Alexandrians, follow this link ACT for Alexandria and the prompts within.  Just remember to indicate The RunningBrooke Fund in the comment box (online) or memo line (check).  Your support means a lot to me and gives me energy for this crazy and thrilling adventure.


Anonymous said...

Wow! It looks AMAZING! I definitely am putting Australia on my bucket list, although I can go with out the crocodile, kangaroo and Barramundi food choice, do they have any chicken? :) I'm sorry I missed your result, congrats on another marathon under your belt!

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