The Clyde Mountain was the final leg of Jason Lester’s epic run across Australia – and the Clyde River was where he finally got his legs in the water.
On Thursday the Hawaiian legged it through the final roundabout, up past the Batemans Bay sign and his final hill, reaching the river just on dusk.
It was a journey that began in Scarborough, Western Australia, 135 days earlier in 43 degrees heat.
Mr Lester ran on 118 of those days (he was rained out on the rest), hauling his own supplies in a cart – until he reached the Kings Highway.
There, a Queanbeyan motel operator insisted she carry his cart in her vehicle down the highway as it was too dangerous.
Road workers on the Kings Highway wanted him to get in the vehicle too, for safety reasons, but Mr Lester negotiated a 5km sprint instead, so as not to void his chance of being the “first American male to run across Australia”.
“I said, ‘I just ran 4200km and if I get in, it will void it,” Mr Lester said.
“If you can run fast,” was the reply. “They had a car in front of me to pace me.”
The road workers had the question he heard everyday since his run began: “Are you really going to run to Batemans Bay? That is a long way.”
“Everyday at least one person said, ‘you have a long way to go’,” Mr Lester said.
“On day one, I told a truckie I was going to the East Coast and he said ‘you have a long way to go’.
“In Braidwood, the guy at the gas station said, ‘you have a long way to go’.
They were questions a man who had run across China and America could take in his stride.
“Today, officially, I ran halfway around the world,” Mr Lester said on Thursday.
“There are less than 10 people in the world who have done what I have done. I am going to Europe in the next year to complete the loop.”
Mr Lester begged and borrowed a bed each night from friendly farmers, pubs and motels.
Just once, he thought he would have to sleep rough, when the South Australian pub he had run 70kms to reach was closed. A kindly cleaner had other ideas.