Big Red Run Shows Big Heart - Page 3
But perhaps the true champion of the event was Mark Moala, an Australian-Tongan who set out to inspire his family and Tongan community, despite having never run further than 16 miles before taking on the Big Red.
After six days gutting it out, Moala crossed the line last to a rousing ovation from the crowd and fellow competitors. He’d barely slept the night before, being the last to finish the previous day, after 53 miles in the desert. Legendary Australian ultrarunner Pat Farmer—known for running more than 12,500 miles from the North Pole to the South Pole—bear hugged Mark at the finish, and told him, “You’re my hero, mate. You inspire me.”
Mark Maola with the man who got him into his first ultra, Matt Donovan, Greg's older son. Photo by Chris Ord.
It's an understatement to say that every runner who took part was an inspiration, with $150,000 raised from the event.
Runners completed a marathon a day for three days. Day four was 19 miles before the “long day” of 53 miles, while the final day was a five-mile dash to the pub in Birdsville, a town of 120 people—a fitting finish to what will surely become an iconic Australian event.
A small gathering looks on as a competitor crests Big Red, the day's finish line 500 meters away, down the other side. Photo by Chris Ord.
For information on the 2014 race, visit www.bigredrun.com.au