What I think about while I run

Wow, what a week it’s been! France and Italy, some deep exhaustion and some equally deep appreciation for this wonderful journey we’re taking together.

  Photograph: Kelvin Trautman

Photograph: Kelvin Trautman

Day 8 was really tough - just hit a wall of exhaustion and struggled physically (I think because I didn’t eat enough protein for dinner). There were some tears of tiredness…

Day 9 was much better, thank goodness. I started off the day by getting some messages from some of my YGL friends in Hong Kong and that totally made my day. I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed by the enormity of the task I’ve set out for myself - running 100 marathons when you’re only at number 9 (or 10, or 11) seemed like a huge overwhelming, amazingly big thing to do. Having people tell me they believe in me literally made my day.

We set out on the run and we ran down to the waterfront at San Remo, officially part of the Italian Riviera. The sunrise over the ocean was just unbelievably beautiful - pinks and yellows and reds stretching their fingers over the horizon as the sun came over the water. In Australia, where I’m from, we mostly only see the sun set over the water, not rise, so it’s always so special for me to see it.

I’ve been thinking about the ocean, and water, and pollution, all morning actually. That moment when the sun was rising and the ocean was so beautiful, and then later in the day when it turned to blues and sapphires and turquoise… The ocean is such a beautiful thing, so alive. Why would we want to pollute this amazing piece of our planet? Why would we want to throw plastic there?

Later in the day, we were running down a street that had a marketplace on it, with rack after rack of cotton, wool, linen, coats, jackets, trousers, t-shirts. I don’t look at anything any more as just clothing, I look at it in terms of how much water went into it, almost as if it’s an embodiment of water, or made out of water (which it is, in a way!) Because I’m very curious about this whole notion of invisible water and how it connects to the things we use and consume every day. I saw a big tub full of t-shirts and all I could think was that each of them is 2700 litres of water, or the equivalent of spending 2 hours in a shower. 2 hours! There’s such a phenomenal amount of water represented in just one market… And there are dozens of markets in this town, today, just today. And millions all over the world. I wonder what happens to all those t-shirts? Do they really end up in landfill?

We need to be much more careful about what we make and how we waste. To waste less and recycle more and be more efficient in how we live.

There have been so many other moments that stuck with me this week - I’m sharing them on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter, and reading every single message that comes my way. It makes such a profound difference, I can’t tell you.


I ran near Genoa, where my dad is from, and where some of my family still live, this week - but we couldn’t detour because we had water stories to tell and people to interview. That was hard. But I’ve realised that by making a commitment to doing something so big and huge, sometimes there’s a personal sacrifice. I know what it’s going to take to achieve this goal and it’s absolute single-minded determination to getting this job done. So that’s what I’m doing, every step, every day, for the next 100 days. With your help!