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Dave's Desert Challenge5 June 1997
by: TAMARA GAMBUZZA
Reproduced with permission from the Lake Times
Some will describe him as brave, others just plain stupid, but it seems nothing will stop Lake Heights ultra marathon runner Dave Taylor from once again putting his body to the ultimate test.
Dave Taylor's last effort saw him racing the clock as he attempted to break the world record for running 1000 hours, non-stop in 41 days. Although he didn't break the world record, he did break an Australian record, and raised thousands of dollars for Camp Quality, his massive effort endearing him in the hearts of many.
But this time, Dave will be facing challenges far more gruelling than just lack of sleep - he will be taking on one of Australia's best marathon runners in Pat Farmer, as well as the daunting Simpson Desert.
Farmer, the current Simpson Desert record holder, has taken up Dave's challenge to finally see, as Dave puts it, who 'really is the best'. "Last time it was just me and the clock, this time it will be Pat and the desert that I am going to have to try to beat", said Dave.
The pair will take on the 380km Simpson Desert run in summer, and as Pat describes it, it will be like running through hell - literally. "It will be the middle of summer and the temperatures will go up as high as 60 degrees Celsius. Just surviving the event will be a feat in itself", Pat said.
Farmer broke the desert record last year, ending the 10 year reign of Ron Grant, who set the record in a similar two man showdown. After the run Pat had vowed to never attempt it again, but he just couldn't say no to a challenge. "If Dave had not challenged me I don't think I would have done it again. I know how hard this run is and I really am not looking forward to having to do it again", Pat said.
"Dave and I can certainly go the distance, but going the distance under the searing heat and over thousands of sand dunes which are all about three stories high and everything else you have to go through - mentally it's tough, it's soul destroying and physically probably one of the most demanding runs I know of."
The Taylor-Farmer match up is set to end at the Birdsville Pub sometime in January and despite being aware of just how gruelling a run it will be, Dave is determined that he'll be shouting the first beer. "I know it is going to be tough, but I think that Pat and I are pretty evenly matched and it's just going to be who is the most mind tough and physically tough on the day that will determine this race", Dave said.
Dave will spend three weeks in the desert, prior to the race, to acclimatise, and has already lined up a support crew of riders from the Simpson Desert cycle classic.