|Australian Desert, photo by Andrew Ingersoll
First of all, I hope everyone had a good New Year’s. Unfortunately, it’s now back to the grind for many.
This year I’m vowing to be healthier and I’ve decided to run/jog my first marathon. In the spirit of true frugal travel fun, I’ve decided on a destination race.
When I look at the map of Australia, I’ve traveled to Broome in the Northwest, Perth and Fremantle on the West Coast, Adelaide and the Barossa Valley in the South, and Melbourne in the Southeast, so I naturally think: Why not head to the Red Center?
Alice Springs town is the gateway to Uluru, or Ayers Rock, a large sandstone rock plopped in the middle of the Australian outback. Uluru is a highly sacred place to the local Aboriginal people. The World Heritage listed area teams with wildlife, cool waterholes, caves, and ancient Aboriginal rock paintings. Temperatures soar well above 100 degrees in the summer and dip close to freezing on a winter’s night. Seems like a good place as any to run my first marathon. Thankfully, the Australian Outback Marathon
organizers and QantasAirlines
can make it happen for me.
I used my prized American Airlines
AAdvantage partner award redemption scheme, called up American, and snagged a seat into Alice Springs with the return to Sydney from the small Ayers Rock Airport. I love the open jaw option as I’ll be able to make the few-hundred-mile drive from Alice Springs to Uluru through the Australian Outback. Total cost of the ticket: $90 + 20,000 AAdvantage miles. Had I purchased the seats on Qantas, the ticket price would be above $900 USD! I love using American Miles on Qantas.
I like the idea of a destination running race. This will provide me with the opportunity to do something good for my health while I’m also able to see one of the world’s most unique landscapes.
I’m sure I’m not the only one of us who has made a resolution to get back into shape or lose some holiday pounds. So my challenge to those of you looking for a healthier self in 2012: Combine your New Year’s resolution with a bit of travel adventure. Let us know what sort of resolution/adventure combinations you’ve got planned for this year.