World-first cross country journey

Richard Bowles straps on his shoes for another marathon run.
Richard Bowles straps on his shoes for another marathon run. Aaron Flanaganouter

WHEN Richard Bowles first discovered the world's longest trekking route in Alpine Victoria, he immediately decided he had to run it.

Which is why he is now in the middle of a challenge no one has ever tackled before - running the equivalent of a marathon a day to make the epic 5330km trek along the Bicentennial National Trail.

The adventurer and ultra distance runner set out from the Victorian town of Healesville 106 days ago and plans on making it to Cooktown, in far north Queensland.

In fact, he won't even talk about the prospect of failing.

"The only way I'll stop is if I get run over by the logging truck," Mr Bowles said as he headed for Maryborough yesterday.

"Every day's a highlight. I've met really interesting people.

"The average Aussie is a decent person, happy to help, donate time, money, a meal, tea or guidance."

That's not to say it's all been easy.

Mr Bowles has been caught in a snowstorm, crossed 43 rivers in one day and faced numerous navigation issues.

Then there's been the strained muscles and even angry bulls

The Bicentennial National Trail follows old coach roads, stock routes, brumby tracks, rivers and fire trails along the length of the Great Dividing Range.

The world's longest marked trail traverses remote bush in national parks, crossing mountains, rivers, lush rainforest and dry plains.

Mr Bowles' trek took him through the Esk, Blackbutt and Nanango areas on his way north.

"In the 40 years since it was founded, few people have completed the trail in its entirety, yet alone run it," he said.

Throughout his journey he will raise funds for mental health charity SANE Australia to support their work for people with mental illness.

Topics:  bicentennial national trail fundraising sunshine coast

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