Two ultrarunners, one a legend in the sport, the other a neophyte, are set to launch an ambitious new television show entitled Run the Planet, which will send them to a variety of locations across the globe, where they will take part in a series of long distance running challenges.
Starting February 25th, New Zealander Lisa Tamati and Australian Chris Ord, will start the first of those challenges by attempting to run 126km (78.2 miles) between Hermannsburg and Alice Springs, in Australia. Along the way, they’ll cross that country’s famous Red Centre, where temperatures will routinely approach 40ºC/104ºF.
Lisa and Chris’ run will follow a famous route that was taken back in 1922, when an indigenous stockman named Hezekiel Malbunka covered the same distance in order to save the life of a missionary by the name of Carl Strehlow. At the time, Strehlow was in desperate need of medical attention, and someone needed to go to the telegraph station to request assistance. It was agreed that Malbunka could get there faster on foot than by horse, and he did so – in just a day and a half. Once he had completed his mission, the runner then turned around, and ran back to where he started, besting his old time by completing it in just a day. Fortunately, Tamati and Ord won’t have to make the return trip.
Their new show, Run the Planet, will put Tamati at center stage. As an ultrarunner, she has already completed some impressive runs, including traverses of most of the major deserts of the world. It is estimated that Lisa’s runs have covered enough distance to send her around the globe four times. Her partner, Ord, on the other hand, is new to the sport of ultrarunning, and over the episodes of the series, you’ll see him learn from Tamati, while building his own skills and level of endurance. In any given episode, the duo will be attempting runs of anywhere from 80km (49.7 miles) to 350km (217.4 miles), across a wide variety of terrain and under a host of conditions.
Exactly when the new show will begin airing is still up in the air, but my friends in Australia and New Zealand should definitely keep their eyes peeled. No word on whether or not it’ll cross the ocean to North America yet, but I’d certainly tune in.
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