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Day 6.. 66kms of dunes.

24 Apr

Day 6 was monotonous. There were dunes. My feet felt great now that the rocks had gone and my blisters had totally healed. Don’t ask me how I managed to keep up the 66 plus km days without blisters. The Hokas were awesome. I was still running in just the one pair with injinji socks.. some sand was managing to get into my shoes but I was still happy running. I only took my shoes off once today…. to empty them of the red sand.

The heat was turned down to 38C and I was feeling pretty relaxed about finishing the run in 10 days. Still, plenty of time for everything to turn to sh**. Just keep with the plan Jane.

The highlight of each day was seeing the support guys up ahead. A few minutes talking and sitting and having food shoved in my face. I wasn’t eating as much as I expected and was leaning towards savoury stuff. My weight was a pretty consistent 54 kgs each day, so I was content with my nutrition and hydration. Get that wrong and it’s hasta la vista baby…

I love this photo. Janet was a stranger at Alice Springs airport. How quickly things changed 🙂

There were heaps of dead rats on the track today. Not much wildlife at all. One rabbit early in the day…… one? Since when do you EVER see just ONE rabbit? I still hadn’t seen a camel and we started to question the prints we were seeing.

The flies were unbearable. I had to wear my ipod just to stop the buzzing in my ears. The fly net was hot, but I’d be eating far too much protein or inhaling them straight into my lungs if I tried to run without it. At times there would be so many hanging onto the net I could hardly see through it. The black bits in my creamed rice were not sultanas…

The highlight of today was running past the 352km mark from last year. No fires yet…….. I didn’t want any disaster like that this year. I was pretty thrilled with the way I had got of my arse and organised this. I could start running when I wanted, get cold drinks, run more than 44kms each day and had positive vibes from all my fabulous non-smoking crew.  All 6 of us were there to raise money for Bear Cottage, no fame or fortune, just a finish line at Birdsville and an adventure along the way.


Day 4 to Purnie Bore

22 Apr

I’m getting into a groove by about now. Suse would wake me in the morning, we’d given up on the Just Right and gone for an Up and Go and get outta here attitude. She was upping her distance to 25 kms and feeling pretty psyched about what she was achieving.

We’d had dingos around the previous night and made sure our shoes were in our tent. Didn’t need to lose a shoe about now.

We left camp and finally enjoyed the softer terrain underfoot. Those first 30kms were so welcome.

Garry and Janet were lurking in their car more than usual and I radioed to find out if they were waiting to get a photo of me dropping my pants to pee……

The dingos were hot on the scent of some small person……..

Beautiful photo by Garry Tapper.

The crew were so fabulous. Not once did they question what I was doing, if I could do it, did they know better? Nup. They were totally committed to helping me achieve my goal… and they trusted my judgement. I had a race plan and I stuck to distances like glue. Never once did they suggest that I was over stepping limits, should slow down, speed up, take a day off… They totally believed I knew what I was doing…… did I tell you that they’d never met me before??

So the temperature was steadily dropping. Only a top of 42 C today. My legs felt fine, my heel blisters were no worse. I popped them every night, dried them with an alcowipe and left them to dry out overnight before Friars Balsam and hyperfix did their charm all day. I reckon I was winning.

Our maps suggested that Purnie Bore was only 68kms away but I’d done some web search and guessed over 70kms.

My back was still hurting… my calves, quads and hammys were feeling fresh ………  the sand dunes had appeared and I was happy to see them. Crew saw some emus, I just wanted to see Purnie Bore….

72 kms of running and there she was. How exciting…. a drop toilet that I wasn’t going to touch after seeing the beady rat eyes staring up at me last year….

How stupid that a place like Purnie Bore can be a landmark to get excited about. 72km day….

278 kms done.

About Jane Trumper

13 Apr

Mild mannered anaesthetics supervisor and ICU nurse by day and by night, unstoppable ultramarathon runner by every other waking and sleepwalking hour. The first woman to complete the Aussie Grand Slam of Ultra Running with 4 races of 100-150 miles within a single 3-month period, Jane is now the first woman to ever run across the Simpson Desert.

Her latest exploit began on April 1. Ably supported from 2 vehicles by a roughly assembled crew of 5 from Tokyo, York in W.A, and Adelaide in South Australia, Jane reached her goal in Birdsville on Tuesday April 10 – but only after a flood-threatened journey of more than 660km in temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius.

She is yet to reach her fundraising goal for charity of choice Bear Cottage, but if you’re reading this right now you can help by clicking on this link.

Jane ran across the desert in a single pair of Bondi B running shoes from Hoka OneOne Australia. She is also proud to be a brand ambassador for Skirt Sports and Injinji, and appreciates the support of her local running shop, Northside Runners, in Manly.

Her ongoing challenge, soon to be met, is to complete her hundredth ‘standard’ marathon this year.

O yeah, she’s only little…

Jane Trumper’s Simpson Desert crossing – fresh photos

12 Apr

more to come shortly…

How Much Simpson Desert Can Jane Trumper Bear?

12 Apr

By Roger Hanney


“I did this whole thing to raise money for Bear Cottage, rather than to see my name up in lights,” she muses. “The lows of the trip were probably when I was out there thinking about Bear Cottage and just realizing how lucky I am to have three healthy kids. I think there was more of that sort of emotion than ‘I can’t do it’.”

Jane Trumper has just become the first woman to run across Australia’s harsh sunburnt Simpson Desert. Drinking up to 15 litre of water per day in temperatures approaching 45 degrees Celsius, this nurse from Dee Why, who only took up running 8 years ago, set out at dawn on April Fools Day, 2012, uncertain of what lay ahead. 10 days and 660km later, she made it to Birdsville, home of the famous outback races, for a beer, a bath, and a comfortable bed.

At age 51 going on 35, and nicknamed Small in reference to her subtle height, Trumper has an irrepressible lust for life that draws supporters to her. Her friend Susan Griffen came from Tokyo to keep her company along the way, new friends Garry and Janet Tapper drove their 4WD from York in WA and picked her up from Alice Springs Airport and crewed the entire run, alongside another vehicle from South Australia, driven by supporters Peter and Ellis.

“The heat made me slower than expected so I was out each day for longer than I thought I would be. I really didn’t mind the sand dunes, even the soft sand didn’t worry me at all. What I did mind was the rubble and the ankle breaking rocks on the road.”

“You don’t get any help out there if something goes wrong, but I didn’t even take a Panadol, the whole 10 days – no pain relief, nothing!”

Any escape from the heat, perhaps running under the moon?

“I did no running at night – too dangerous out there, no way in the world,” she says, matter-of-factly.

With the risk of snakes, even after sundown, the option of running in a cooler time of day just wasn’t available. There would have also been the added strain on the support crew of making and breaking camp – a laborious process of bedding, stoves, food and water preparation, and repacking vehicles  – twice a day rather than once.

So how did she keep running day after day, and what was her routine?

“As soon as it got light I started running. There were a couple of days I finished running just as it was getting dark,” recalls Trumper. “And on the day I was running into Pirnie Bore the distance was inaccurate so I had Garry driving behind me with the lights on and it was dark when I got there.”

The most famous sand dune in the Simpson is named Nappanerica in the local dialect, but visitors just know the 40-metre high sand mountain near the Desert’s eastern boundary as Big Red.

“I didn’t actually have to run up Big Red but I decided because it was there I had to.”

While Trumper’s last attempt to cross the desert was stopped by fires, this time heavy rains nearly saw her adventure delayed by floods. The combination of mud and sand was enough to stop one of her support vehicles, forcing the other to tow it.

“There was an old Aboriginal guy there, up the top of Big Red. He said that in his lifetime he has never, ever seen water there like that, so yesterday we had to make a bit of a detour around that for the vehicles and run a bit further than expected.”

Sand dunes aside, the greatest highs and lows in ultra marathon are usually deeply emotional and personal.

“I did this whole thing to raise money for Bear Cottage, rather than to see my name up in lights,” she muses. “The lows of the trip were probably when I was out there thinking about Bear Cottage and just realizing how lucky I am to have three healthy kids. I think there was more of that sort of emotion than ‘I can’t do it’.”

She also laughs about her time in the shifting red sands. “I don’t think there were any major highs, other than seeing the support vehicle up ahead with cold water – that was probably the best.”

The day after completing this epic challenge, how does she feel?

Today, she says she could easily go for a run, maybe a 10km, but warns that it would be slow. She’s returning home briefly at the end of the week, but only as a pitstop. With just a couple more races now until she reaches her 100th ‘standard’ marathon, she’s off this weekend to run the Canberra Marathon.

But, she warns, “that’ll be slow,” now laughing, “that’ll be very slow.”

See Jane’s blog at Please visit it to donate to Bear Cottage.

Better safe than sober?

24 Sep

Race abandoned after Day 8 due to fires in the desert.

Simpson Desert closed to all vehicles until at least Tuesday. Had to abandon lots of gear after 352 km to get back to Purni Bore. Spent Thursday night tentless there sleeping with rats under the stars – highlight was pair of beady eyes staring up from the bottom of honeypot. Race organisers staying out there to recover gear some time next week – tents/food/chairs/table – all sitting out in the desert until at least Tuesday. The rest of us spent last night at Mt Dare drinking our sorrows at the bar.

All runners devastated as we were all running as a team for the next 300km. No injuries, feeling fresh as a daisy.

Last thing we expected when we started was to see so much vegetation in the desert from so much rain beforehand. These fires will probably turn it back into the Red Centre. Won day 8 for SIDS in 7:19 – slow across the dunes from the massive heat, over 40 degrees. My drink bladder was nasty like hot bathwater.

Absolutely gutted, we were all so prepared to just finish. There was no way any of us wouldn’t just finish. We’d already all decided that when we got to Birdsville we’d all go have just one drink before showering. Fantastic thing to find 4 awesome new running mates. One of them reckons I’m a bloke dressed up as a girl  : )

All of us wanto to come back and do this again. All the support guys and the 4WD Club drivers have just been magic, and even the St. John’s ambos want another go.

Still, gutted.

Thanks for everyone’s support throughout. Sorry for communications not being 100% from the desert, but our 18-year-old communications guy Alex Turner has been setting up satellite dish every night and doing a great job when he’s not busy defacing my Facebook ; )

More soon – back in Sydney Tuesday and will share a bunch of pics and videos then.

Day of Doon

21 Sep

Day 7 was full of head winds and dunes. Ran with the other 4 guys and kept the pace in the last 11kms to an easy pace to conserve our quads. Time 6:31
The first week over, we are now settling into a steady pace with dunes for the next week. No civilisation to speak of. Water and fuel scarce, so conserving what we can. The head games have started with Rowdy reckoning we only have 5 days to go as nobody would pull the pin on day 13, 14 or 15….
308 kms done and feeling fresh (unlike the bush toilet set up in the heat) Talking of toilets, when we finished there tumble weeds flying high in the sky and picked up the toilet tent and moved it 50 metres… shame Merryl wasn’t on it.
Will know more in the morning if my quads are good when I try to get dressed and pack up my kit in my tent. Thanks to everyone who have sent me messages of support. Love hearing from you.

Day 6……… 264kms done

20 Sep

Temp was a bit cooler today but a tad more sand. Took it easy doing the first 22kms in 2:45. Ran with Pete and had an easy day of it finishing in 5:45. Feet feeling good, legs still fresh which is the plan. Waiting for Big Red on day 14 to really feel it. Will be a well deserved drink at Birdsville on Thurday week. The 4 guys I am running with are all fantastic. Age range from 24 to 43. We are getting on like a house on fire and in good spirits. Rowdy (24) has well and truely stolen Barry’s Hokas and they won’t be returned. The desert is changing every day and the sand dunes are going to get bigger.

Day 5

19 Sep

220 kms done.
Spent all night with wind howling around my tent and plenty of wind in the tent next door. Not much sleep. Took it easy today and managed 6:08 finishing with Rowdy and Lachlan. Windy, temp only hit 34 today. Just back from Dalhousie Springs … water temp 36 degrees. Day 5 done. 430kms to go.

Day one done

15 Sep

Got 44kms out of the way today in 5:23. Probs about an hour faster than I expected, but it was an easy day. Don’t expect any of the next 14 to be that fast. Heating up out here 10kms past Finke. Set up camp already and chilling out. Feeling positive after day 1. 🙂