Sure you can take a short drive down to your local Outback restaurant to gaze at the mass produced Australian “artifacts” that adorn the walls, the ever-so-menacing warnings to beware of the crocodiles, and the fuzzy presence of a fake kangaroo. Once you sit, you can order the pure shrimp on the barbie, cleverly named kids’ meals, which each end with “roo”, and jazz all the dishes up with some serious spice. But, if you’re into something a little more authentic with a running twist, consider packing away some cash and heading to the real Outback, deep in the heart of Australia, for the Outback Marathon in late July of 2010.
The day’s events, which include a full marathon , a half marathon, an 11k and a 6k, take place primarily off-road on the famous red earth that is common across the central portion of the country. Carving your way through bushwhacked lands on unsealed roads and paths, you’ll run past a lifetime’s worth of scenery, none more spectacular than Ayers Rock and The Olgas.
With the 6k and the 11k open to all age divisions, this could be a nice family event to punctuate a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. The half marathon requires a minimum age of 15 whereas the full marathon calls for only those 18 and up. All participants, however, receive a commemorative medal at the conclusion of the race, and certificates are available for printing on-line.
Yes, you can run a marathon any place in the world, and most would be significantly closer to your home. But, how many times in your life will you ever be able to claim that you ran through something most only imagine, a place that most people only visit in books or on the internet?
Thus, a true athletic challenge awaits a half a world away, in a place offering memories for both young and old. Make a trip you will forever recall, and along the way interject a day of pure joy as you run through the Outback. For more information about the marathon, visit www.australianoutbackmarathon.com.