UK woman faced extreme weather and dingo in run across Australia

UK woman faced extreme weather and dingo in run across Australia
Nikki Love ran across Australia (Sharif Owadally/PA)
Sharif Owadally

A woman from Nottingham has completed a near-2,500 mile run across Australia, facing challenges including extreme weather and a dingo, to raise money for an ADHD charity.

Nikki Love, 56, from Nottingham, covered the distance over 77 days, from Cottesloe Beach in Perth, Western Australia, to Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club in Sydney,  to raise money for the ADHD Foundation’s Umbrella Project.

The project offers support and educates people within schools and businesses about neurodiversity.

Ms Love, who was born in the UK and grew up in Australia before moving back to the UK at the age of 33, first conceived the challenge 10 years ago after she was inspired by one of her friends.

She said the run was “surreal” and that completing the challenge in Australia felt like “coming home”, while she also hopes she has set the Guinness World Record for the feat.

Nikki LoveNikki Love said the run felt like ‘coming home’ (Sharif Owadally/PA)

“For me, coming to Australia was about coming home and running through my home country, but I call the UK home too,” Ms Love told the PA news agency.

After completing her run on Sunday, she said: “It feels very surreal, I just can’t believe really that it’s done.”

Adjudication is taking place to determine whether Ms Love has set the Guinness World Record, and she said it would be “an amazing feeling” if she became a new world record holder.

The keen runner, who ran for more than 30 miles a day, said she experienced “all the extremes of Australia”, including drought, rain and freezing cold early starts, but felt happy to share the experience with her partner, Sharif Owadally.

“It was wild and it was exactly what I thought Australia was, or knew of being the country that I grew up in, and I was just really happy to show Sharif the extremes of the place, the beauty, the rawness, the emptiness,” she said.

“It’s empty, but there’s so much to look at, so it was just a spectacle to watch. It was hard to run – just in love with the place.”

Ms Love also ran while experiencing perimenopause, the transitional period before a woman reaches menopause, which she said has been “emotional”.

Nikki LoveNikki Love, who was supported by her partner Sharif Owadally, faced a dingo and extreme weather on her run (Sharif Owadally/PA)

“I have my ups and downs, and at certain phases of the months I’m more emotional, but they tend to be times I feel physically weaker and I’ve tended to be more injured during those times,” she said.

While she had to find ways of managing the perimenopause, she said: “It was never an excuse.

“It was just ‘this is a fact, so how do I manage it?’ and that was part of the preparation for the last two years, making sure that I understood myself and planned for it to be able to manage it.”

She also faced environmental challenges and encountered a dingo, a wild canine native to Australia, which ran beside her for nearly two miles. She described it as an “amazing and scary” experience.

“A dingo was running alongside me for a good two or three kilometres, about a feet away from me,” she said.

Nikki LoveNikki Love hopes to raise money for the ADHD Foundation (Sharif Owadally/PA)

“(The dingo) was following its own line and I was following my line, and I kept watching to make sure it didn’t veer towards me – it was both an amazing experience, but also scary, but incredible.”

She hopes her challenge will inspire others to “always back yourself” and to find ways to reach your goal despite people’s opinion.

“When you have an idea, have a big dream, have a goal, you’ll get a lot of people say to you the reasons why you can’t, and take those comments on board, but break them down to find out ways to make it happen and always back yourself,” she said.

“Whether you knew you hit the finish line, the fact that you’ve actually given it a go you have backed yourself, so always back yourself.”

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