Aussie super-runner completes Israel Trail

English-Australian ultra-marathoner wants more after finishing 1,009 km. Israel Trail run despite foot infection.

Richard Bowles 370 (photo credit: Dov Greenblatt/SPNI)
Richard Bowles 370
(photo credit: Dov Greenblatt/SPNI)
After plowing through 1,009 kilometers of the deserts, mountains and forests that highlight the Israel Trail, English- Australian ultra-marathoner Richard Bowles only wished that his journey could have been a little longer.
“I feel great actually,” Bowles told The Jerusalem Post over the phone on Thursday afternoon from Kibbutz Dan, just after he completed his run. “It’s nice to be here. I’m almost a little bit disappointed that it’s come to an end.”
Starting at the Eilat Field School on April 17, Bowles had planned to complete the entire trail in 12 days. Along the way, however, his body had other plans for him, when a foot infection began to pain him on April 25 – day nine of his expedition. After continuing about 60 kilometers the next day despite the infection, Bowles consulted with physicians and realized he would need to take a week off from running to allow the infection to heal.
Although disappointed, Bowles was undeterred, and he spent the week relaxing in Tel Aviv before continuing his run on Sunday, May 5.
Excluding the time he was forced to pause due to his infection, Bowles completed the trail in 15 days, averaging 67 kilometers per day. All the while, he was accompanied by staff from his partner organization, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, and he received funding for the run from Israeli sports gear firm Source Outdoor.
While Bowles said he enjoyed the beautiful scenery that he wove through on foot, he praised the people of Israel themselves for making Israel “an extraordinary country.”
That being said, Bowles did have some particularly favorite sites along the way as well.
“I really liked the very northern part of the desert because it’s so much more rugged than the south,” he told the Post. “It takes a few days to appreciate what it is – otherwise it just looks like sand.”
In addition to this portion of the desert, Bowles said another standout portion of the trail was his entrance into the Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) region, when “you can see the lake below and the valley.”
“The whole trail is amazing,” he stressed.
Last year, Bowles became the first person to run the world’s longest marked path, a 5,330- kilometer route on Australia’s Bicentennial National Trail, a journey he completed in fiveand- a-half months. In December 2012, Bowles completed an 84-day, 3,054-kilometer run on Te Araroa (“The Long Pathway”) in New Zealand.
Before he departs from Israel, the ultra-marathoner will be delivering a lecture on Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem about his overall experience running here and around the world and simply “what makes me tick,” he said.