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jethro's picture

Running the Israel National Trail

Sometimes you get to meet the most amazing ordinary blokes. Richard Bowles is one of those quiet types, doesn't push himself forward, not brash or loud, yet there’s a quiet air of forcefulness and purpose about him. I guess running 84km a day for 12 days straight as he’s planning to do needs that.

I first met Richard last year as he was 2,500km into his running of the 5,330km Australian Bicentennial National Trail, or the BNT. He completed that in an amazing 5.5 months. First to do it. Raised awareness for SANE Australia charity.

2013-03-01 Rich Bowles 002I went out to the closest point on the trail to where I lived at Blackbutt and met Rich and Vicky, spent a lovely morning with them photographing them and sharing in their adventures for half a day. You can read that story here.

He backed up from the BNT with the Te Araroa national trail of NZ 3,054km of ruggedness that made the BNT look like a walk in the park – crocodiles not included. Record setting 64 days again.

And now he's off to do the Israel National Trail – with yet another record to be achieved. And this time its going to be an average of 84km a day for 12 days straight.

I interviewed Richard today over lunch and was really struck by the mans intensity, his purpose and his unquenchable desire to live in the moment, fully experience the surroundings and cast off the dross of life. To run on trails that are thousands of years old, where Jesus walked, that are steeped in history and meet all sorts of interesting people.

But as the video below will show there is a lot more work that goes on in the months leading up to the short 12 days of running that is a lot harder than running 84km a day for 12 days. Even just typing that hurts! Thinking about it hurts! Richard doesn’t shy away from the fact that it hurts either. But he’s a man that’s driven to succeed, and quitting just isn’t in his vocabulary.

The Interview

2012-07-02 Rich BNT 197So i went to have lunch with Richard as he was on a flying trip to Brisbane. Once I had picked him up and had him in the car I told him I was planning on interviewing him!

I recorded the interview on my phone and camera but not all of it got onto the video. So some of the questions and answers below are not in the video.

I asked Richard a bunch of really hard hitting serious questions, and got some equally serious (bulls&*t) answers.

I also trialled a new video technique where the person who is being interviewed has their thumb in focus but their face is half missing off in the distance. Fascinating watching their thumb talk. In part 2 I swapped this style for a more traditional (boring) “video the persons face” technique.


I interviewed Rich with tough questions like:

Dealing with fatigue and mental states

Q When you are fatigued, what does the tree look like?

A The tree is way more beautiful when you are fatigued.


Seriously though, its more about how when fatigued he focuses on what he's doing so much more intently, little droplets of water, trees, things around him take focus and how the other stuff in life becomes less. Richard really enjoys running in the bush, and out in the open spaces.

Equipment and safety

Q Was your GPS tracker tied to your hydration bladder?

A Obviously not – i lost it 25 km into the first day in NZ – no one noticed I was standing still for a long time.

2012-07-02 Rich BNT 175White water river crossings and high altitude

Q How do you cope with the dangerous river crossings?

A Crossed the Daintree waist deep with crocodiles – hoping they ate someone the day before and weren’t hungry.

Food and nutrition

Q What do you eat when running?

A Best thing I scored was a packet of Tim Tams in a rubbish bin at a hut.


Q Who's supporting you in Israel?

A “My Partner Vicki – that has lots of complications” breaks into nervous laughter and says “Love you!” suck up.

Language and Culture

Q Do you speak the same language?

A No she speaks shoes.


Ok so there’s more to it than than. Watch the video below.


Richard running circles around the Interviewer–literally

Oh not that one – that’s just silly

Here’s the real interview. Part 1

Will the real Richard Bowles please stand up

Part 2

yay its in focus

And here's the shoe collection and Richard posing a lot for the camera.

2012-07-02 Rich BNT 1122012-07-02 Rich BNT 2192012-07-02 Rich BNT 0662012-07-02 Rich BNT 194

jethro's picture

Amazing Human Beings

The power of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me. But this last weekend I was treated to some pretty unusual displays of just how incredible humans can actually be.

I attended, photographed and even competed in an ultra running event, the 24 and 48 hour ultra event at I saw people run 280+km (175 miles). I saw records broken, i saw pain and suffering and individual determination and grit, and most importantly I saw the incredible power of encouragement. I saw friends and relatives camp over night in cold uncomfortable conditions in order to be able to get out on the track and walk a couple of laps with competitors and mentally assist them to over come the physical demands they were placing on their systems. i witnessed first hand the incredible power of transformation of a persons face from resigned grit and determination (or even pain) to sheer joy through a simple spoken word – a “you can do it”. I saw the camaraderie of those who shared the same trials, and for a brief 1.5 hours i was amongst it. As I churned out laps (more of a slow grind then a churn) I was guaranteed of numerous encouraging remarks from complete strangers on the sidelines, a “well done Tim” and “you are looking great” from other competitors who went flying past me, and the cheers from the crowd around the timing tent.

And at the end they were no longer strangers. Many of these runners I have seen and photographed (and run with) before, but as Tamyka put it – “you got to be friends with someone you shared the same physical space with for 48 hours!”

The ultra running community is a small tight knit friendly group of positive goal orientated cheerful people. I’m proud to be associated with such amazing human beings.

Here are some pics. More at

 2012-07-29 Cab 24-48 Event 5752012-07-29 Cab 24-48 Event 5772012-07-29 Cab 24-48 Event 578

Here are some videos I made also

jethro's picture

Random stuff from my brain

Sometimes i need to just dump stuff out of my head. Sometimes my kids just say the funniest random things. Judith went out to my daughter at the clothes line couple of days ago while she was hanging out clothes to get a peg. Jadeen just randomly said “I am a stegosaurus”. That phrase has been bouncing around this house since then amidst lots of laughter.

2403693037_0b63bdc4b4_bOur brains are amazingly complex things. Sometimes we just do no appreciate the incredible processing power of simple things like coordinating even our vocal cords, diaphragm, lungs and mouth and tongue just to say a simple word. I was listening to Doctor Karl on Triple J explain how Turrets Syndrome caused people to swear occasionally (its not the most common symptom of Turrets and most people with it don’t do this) and he just reminded me to think about how our brains work.

Last night I dream about alien people and apparently asked out loud for a sword (according to Jude).

2012-04-29 Corporate Challenge 2012 Race 3 751 788Yesterday I was able to run 3 kms with no knee issues – I wish I was back to the running ability I had back in the year 2000. However I’m coming to terms with being 12 years older then I was then and my running is fine as long as I don’t try and run like a 32 year old any more. I did a 5km race a couple of weeks ago and managed a personal best in the last 5 years or so so I am slowly getting it back.

Do you run? if yes where and when, if no – why not? Get into the comments or hit us up on Facebook.

2012-05-13 Fat Possum 004My cycling has improved a lot since I got the new road bike and have been focusing on my hill climbing. My Mountain biking climbing endurance has improved as a result. Unfortunately my Gary Fisher Fat Possum broke in half on my last ride. I am waiting on Trek to honour the lifetime warranty and replace her.

Work has been interesting of late. Since I am no longer employed by IT Integrity and have gone back to being my own boss the pressure on my time has reduced. I am doing far more photography, as that is part of our business and we have had a lot more work in that area. I am doing more of the things I love in IT, web design and Excel work. I am enjoying learning new photography and Photoshop processing techniques. I am really enjoying the sports shooting we do as well.

Samsung-Galaxy-S-II_1-300x300I bought a new phone. After a disastrous attempt to get an iPhone to work without using iTunes I bought a new Samsung Galaxy IIS and am loving its ease of use, its synchronisation with my Google account and my other android devices, the HTC Desire S and the Motorola Xoom 2 tablet. Its great having all my photos from each device synch seamlessly together with Dropbox, my notes in Evernote all synch across all my devices and it works as a phone out of the box without having to connect it to a computer.


I’ll leave you with a selection of my favourite photos taken recently.

2012-05-05 Gold Coast Spit 0392012-04-22 Supanova GC 367 cartoon2012-05-06 Drew and Laurel 0262012-04-22 Supanova GC 5352012-04-28 Roller Derby 6242012-04-06 Peter and Kitti Pregnancy 2072012-05-13 Sarah Maguire 049 - desat2012-05-06 Shell 025-makeup2012-04-09 Warrarba Creek 0222012-04-10 PRIMA JCS Production Shoot 832

jethro's picture

Tons of useful links

Today I am focussed on clearing out my browser from all the interesting things sitting there. No real organisation to this post – its just a link dump.

And I will leave you with some of my best photos from the Triathlon.

IMG_7426-1600 IMG_7611-1600 IMG_7444 bandw-1600 IMG_7444 colour-1600  IMG_7615-1600 IMG_7635-1600 IMG_7766-1600 IMG_7678-1600 IMG_7869-1600 IMG_7945-1600 IMG_8043-1600 IMG_8104-1600 IMG_8117-1600 IMG_8141-1600 2010-04-11 Tre-X 086-1600 2010-04-11 Tre-X 105-1600