The Race

The Ultimate Physical Challenge For Charity 

On September 15th 2011 the runners will aim to start and complete the full distance together. Working as a team, they will be covering an average distance of 44km (marathon distance is 42.2km) each day with the exception of the last day, just 24km leading to the pub at Birdsville for a well deserved beer for all involved! 

Its the extreme conditions and tough terrain that really makes this event truly unbelievable.  Temperatures will get up to the high 40's and the runners will have to run over an average of 130 sand dunes each day in soft sand.


The Simpson Desert is famous for having the longest parallel sand dunes in Australia’s Driest Desert the world and the highest sand dune in the Southern Hemisphere. The average height of each sand dune is between 10 – 20m high, with the highest approximately 40m which is known as “Big Red” (this will be crossed on day14). The average length of each sand dune is 200km, which run in a parallel formation from NNE-SSW and are approximately 500m apart.   

Captain Charles Sturt was the first European to see the Simpson Desert (it was originally called the Arunta Desert) in 1845. Sturt attempted to discover whether the interior of Australia was a vast inland sea, as was believed to be at the time, and departed Adelaide with 15 men and a boat! Coming across the Eastern limit of the Simpson Desert, Sturt was unable to penetrate west into the forbidding red sand hills and described it as “a desperate region having no parallel on earth”.

The first person to run accross the Simpson Desert was Ron Grant in 1981 and his time was beaten by Pat Farmer in 1996 covering the 379km route in 3days, 17 hours, 31 mins.  Our event will be a world first to attempt to run a 640km route from the Geogrpahic Centre of Australia to Birdsville across the full length of the Simpson Desert. 


Five athletes will run a total distance of 640km, passing through 3 States (NT, SA, QLD) and over 1315 sand dunes in a West to East direction in just 15 days from the Geographical Centre (Lambert Centre) of Australia across the full breadth of the Simpson Desert to Birdsville.S

 Days will be divided into 4 stages of approximately 11km each to enable re-hydration and the consumption of food to maintain energy levels. The average temperatures that can be encountered at this time of year in the Simpson Desert are between -8 and 45 degrees Celsius and the terrain consists mostly of clay and salt pans, sand dunes, spinifex and scrubs.

The final 9 days on approach to Birdsville, the most isolated stretch, will see no services or supplies requiring the team to be completely self-sufficient Average distance covered per day per runner – 44km Average distance covered per day by the team – 220km Total distance covered by the team over 15 days – 3,300km

 Average number of sand dunes crossed per day – 88

 Average number of sand dunes crossed per day by the team – 440

 Total number of sand dunes crossed per runner over 15 days – 1,315

 Total number of sand dunes crossed by the team over 15 days – 6,575

Amount of liquid hydration required for the event – 2,000 litres

Minimum sand dune height – 3 metres

Average sand dune height – 20 metres

Maximum sand dune height – 40 metres

Maximum sand dune length – 500km

Average temperature range during the event - 10° at night, 27° during the day

Simpson Desert area – 170,000 square km


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