FINAL DESERT: David Holleran crossing The Great Victorian to finish his goal of crossing all 14 of Australia’s deserts. Desert (Picture: Contributed)
FINAL DESERT: David Holleran crossing The Great Victorian to finish his goal of crossing all 14 of Australia’s deserts. Desert (Picture: Contributed)

World record holder eyes off Burnett event

AFTER running his first unofficial marathon in 1968 — drinking chocolate milk as he went — and crossing all 14 of Australia’s deserts on foot, Mundubbera’s David Holleran now has his eyes set on a new Burnett event.

Holleran was spotted making his way along the Dead Cow Gully track in Nanango on Sunday and said he couldn’t wait to compete in the event next year.

“The track in Nanango is a blinder of a place to run and the Dead Cow Gully is an absolutely fantastic event,” Holleran said.

“It’s a bloody incredible course and it feels like you are running an obstacle course through the paddock.

“The backyard ultras are an amazing concept that an American guy came up with about 30 years ago and it has since become a worldwide phenomenon.”

DESERT RUN: Holleran said the Great Victorian Desert was his hardest desert run. (Picture: Contributed)
DESERT RUN: Holleran said the Great Victorian Desert was his hardest desert run. (Picture: Contributed)

Holleran grew up in Victoria, where he found his passion for running through playing and umpiring Aussie rules.

He eventually found his way up north to Brisbane where he continued playing footy and became the fitness adviser for the umpire association.

It wasn’t until 1998 that Holleran met iconic Australian ultra-runner Ron Grant at the launch of Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast.

Grant was born in Mundubbera and pioneered ultra-running in Australia.

Holleran said Grant became his mentor and opened him up to his capabilities.

“In my opinion, Ron Grant is the greatest ultra-runner to ever come out of Australia and a lot of the things he did were world firsts,” Holleran said.

“He was the first man to go around Australia, he ran through the Simpson Desert, ran the Birdsville Track and ran from Sydney to Brisbane.

“Ron made a huge contribution to the running culture in both the South and North Burnett and put on countless races all over both regions.”

500KM COURSE: Holleran has also completed the world’s longest obstacle course, which he built himself. (Picture: Contribution)
500KM COURSE: Holleran has also completed the world’s longest obstacle course, which he built himself. (Picture: Contribution)

Holleran, 63, has been endurance running for 32 years, and said it was the camaraderie and the people he would always remember.

“I find the camaraderie within ultra-runners is just amazing and the fact an ultra-runner will always lend a hand is something I will never forget,” Holleran said.

“Ultra-running is all about testing the human mindset, seeing how far you can go and what is really achievable.

“You meet the most incredible people through ultra-running and it’s so inspiring to hear their stories of overcoming such adversity.

“Running has been the greatest thing in my life and I feel so blessed to be able to go out for a run and talk to people about running.”

ULTRA-RUNNER: Holleran said he couldn’t imagine his life without running and wouldn’t stop running until he physically couldn’t do it any more. (Picture: Contributed)
ULTRA-RUNNER: Holleran said he couldn’t imagine his life without running and wouldn’t stop running until he physically couldn’t do it any more. (Picture: Contributed)

Holleran completed a 32-year-long goal of crossing all 14 deserts in Australia in 2014 by crossing the Great Victorian Desert, which he said was the hardest of them all.

“I can’t tell you how incredible it felt to run across that last Australian desert and it felt like I have fulfilled a lifelong goal,” he said.

“The road was difficult with corrugations and sand dunes, as well as 40-knot headwinds at times, and temperatures below zero in the early mornings and up to 30 degrees through the day.

“I have a lot of footage from that last desert crossing and I remember being in such immense pain that even when I watch the footage I feel like vomiting.”

Holleran now has his eyes set on the Wondai Country Running Festival, followed by the Dead Cow Gully Backyard Ultra in April next year.

South Burnett

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