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I drove the MR2 1700km to run an ultramarathon

And it was rad. I camped 2 nights, saw countryside, mountain ranges, and almost almost nothing on the car broke.

I signed up for the Snowy Mountains 50km a few months ago with a friend, with the knowledge that:

  • neither of us had ever run 50km
  • neither of us were capable of running 50km
  • this was going to be an especially hilly 50km, with much elevation

So we both bought running bags that can hold several litres of water and set to training. As well as a couple of 40km+ runs, I turned my 5km run commute to and from work into a 12km detour through the city, around the botanical gardens and along the river home. It was wild.

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The next problem was getting there. He’s in Sydney and I’m in Melbourne, and the run was in Jindabyne which is somewhere in between. I opted not to drive the 8.5 hours the day before the run, and again afterwards - instead I’d break up each drive into 2 days and camp overnight in between. This meant taking Friday and Monday off work.

In the end, all came together. He completed the run in 5.5 hours, me in 6.5. My pace wasn’t blistering, but the hills around the 30km really undid me, and the ending was rough. I was happy enough to finish at all. The camp sites were fantastic, just free sites out in the bush. I saw roos, both living and dead, many dead wombats, no koalas, some vultures, many cows, an eagle and a pelican.

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The MR2 performed spectacularly. Parts of the Snowy Mountains Highway through the Kosciuszko mountain range, and the Murray River Road that follows the river, are twisty as you could hope for. And they’ve got the sort of high forgiving speed limits you only find in legitimate countryside. I did the entire trip with the roof off, though it wasn’t ideal during the long stretches of 110km/hr on the Hume Hwy. Saw a lot of burned bushland, was driving through it for hours. It is hard to grasp the scale of the bushfires until you’re traveling through the affected region for a full half day.

I also broke my handbrake cable. First night as soon as I got to the first campsite, I pulled it on and it just snapped. The MR2 hasn’t had many breakages in the time I’ve had it, but now there’s this.

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Here are some pics.

First day, driving to the border. Clean MR2
First day, driving to the border. Clean MR2
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On the Murray River Rd
On the Murray River Rd
First campsite, Barrowye Reserve on the Murray. That’s NSW across the river
First campsite, Barrowye Reserve on the Murray. That’s NSW across the river
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Illustration for article titled I drove the MR2 1700km to run an ultramarathon
Illustration for article titled I drove the MR2 1700km to run an ultramarathon
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Saturday morning, packed up and about to hit the road
Saturday morning, packed up and about to hit the road
A wedge-tailed eagle lookout
A wedge-tailed eagle lookout
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Many hours and hundreds of kms, I was surrounded by this burnt bushland from the fires. The grass and some vines and things are coming back green, the rest is dead.
MR2 got dirty. Had a long dirt road on my route.
Many hours and hundreds of kms, I was surrounded by this burnt bushland from the fires. The grass and some vines and things are coming back green, the rest is dead.
MR2 got dirty. Had a long dirt road on my route.
Illustration for article titled I drove the MR2 1700km to run an ultramarathon
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This is a poor photo of me stopped for some cows on the road. Shows how the grass has returned after the fires
This is a poor photo of me stopped for some cows on the road. Shows how the grass has returned after the fires
On the left, one of several charred road signs
On the left, one of several charred road signs
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A lookout showing some of the extent of burnt land. In reality it’s so, so much more than this picture can convey
A lookout showing some of the extent of burnt land. In reality it’s so, so much more than this picture can convey
Illustration for article titled I drove the MR2 1700km to run an ultramarathon
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Made it to Jindabyne NSW, with a beer which is made here. This is the Kosciuszko Mountain Range. The beer wasn’t that great
Made it to Jindabyne NSW, with a beer which is made here. This is the Kosciuszko Mountain Range. The beer wasn’t that great
A brewery which is next door to our accommodation. Very good.
A brewery which is next door to our accommodation. Very good.
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Very start of the run. It starts just before sun up, so this is us about to pass into the sunlight for the first time. From this point, the sun is a constant companion, getting hotter and hotter over the 6 hours of the run.
Very start of the run. It starts just before sun up, so this is us about to pass into the sunlight for the first time. From this point, the sun is a constant companion, getting hotter and hotter over the 6 hours of the run.
The trails had some nice scenery of course. Thredbo River
The trails had some nice scenery of course. Thredbo River
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Illustration for article titled I drove the MR2 1700km to run an ultramarathon
Illustration for article titled I drove the MR2 1700km to run an ultramarathon
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Clear line of dirt on my legs, 6 hours of dust took its toll
Clear line of dirt on my legs, 6 hours of dust took its toll
This is the 2-3 hour trip back to a campsite after the run. Trying to get in early-ish to avoid the roos that come out at dusk. Don’t want to drive too far as I’m tired as can be
This is the 2-3 hour trip back to a campsite after the run. Trying to get in early-ish to avoid the roos that come out at dusk. Don’t want to drive too far as I’m tired as can be
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Last campsite, on Blowering Dam. Shortly before the sun went behind those hills. Roos came to visit the site in the night, it was creepy
Last campsite, on Blowering Dam. Shortly before the sun went behind those hills. Roos came to visit the site in the night, it was creepy
Illustration for article titled I drove the MR2 1700km to run an ultramarathon
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Home at last, 3pm Monday. MR2 still dirty
Home at last, 3pm Monday. MR2 still dirty

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