24 – 30 Sep 08
From the organizer,
Trail and adventure running has been developed over the past six years. It’s something that I discovered through force of circumstance during my continental crossings: in the mountains when I crossed the Andes and in the majestic and legendary Tenere desert in Niger. No matter what the terrain, rocky, sandy, muddy or dusty, you always have a sense of freedom because you have left the well-worn track and there are no longer any landmarks.
Australia is the perfect land for adventure. The interior of that immense country is empty; it’s a dry and hostile environment of startling purity and intoxicating colors.
In 2003 when Laure and I crossed Australia for the fourth time, our trip from Perth to Brisbane led us to the edge of the Simpson Desert, where there is a station run by a man and his wife. They didn’t think we should go into the desert because we were alone and the temperature was almost 60° Celsius. It’s unwise, if not completely crazy to spend three days in that oven without a second vehicle in case of a problem. Always cautious, Laure didn’t want to cross that desert. I, on the other hand, had only one desire: do what I had been told was impossible and what I should not do. We spent four days and three nights in the desert of 1000 dunes. Driving was a challenge and it took a lot of shoveling to dig us out of the sand, as well as a great deal of patience to drive in the soft sand and on those dunes, which have been formed by the wind and which seem to go on forever.
We left the Simpson Desert as enchanted as we were tired, moved by the pristine beauty of the place. Not having met a single human being was pure happiness. I was sure that this part of the world would be an ideal place for a race. So, it was in 2003 that I first thought about a race, this race. Laure felt I was being eccentric. She thought it would be too difficult psychologically for runners, to say nothing of the complicated logistics for such an event.
During my different crossings, many places have deeply moved me and left indelible marks. It’s easy to say “we will return” but we don’t have time and we have to make choices.
In June of 2007 I got the idea to make Edition 0 of the Simpson Desert crossing, with other runners who would share the adventure and give us their thoughts as to the feasibility of the race. I needed to be sure about some things: could a race really be organized in such a remote place, even with accompanying vehicles? Five of us started: 3 runners of different levels, Laure and myself. I’ll admit that I had doubts for several hours on the eve of our departure. Wouldn’t it be too difficult? I wasn’t sure of myself. Doubt and fear and the suffocating heat caused me to spend an almost sleepless night. We were all excited by this project, it was a jump into the unknown and a very ambitious challenge. After 402 Km and nine days in that unique desert, we can all say that it is possible. Difficult, yes, but so beautiful and so magical.
I have made a great escape. It is freedom for me because a desert crossing is something very personal: feet on the ground, head first in the sky and then in the stars. Days follow nights, time passes, it’s inevitable.
Don’t let this Simpson Desert crossing pass you by.
See you soon Serge