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The London-Sydney Marathon is the icon of all long distance events. It captured the imagination of the world when it was first run in 1968; it was hailed as the ultimate competitive motoring adventure. Now, over 30 years later, it is still the event that stirs memories and inspires drivers from around the world to pit themselves, their cars and their wits against the elements and the clock.
The London-Sydney Marathon 2000 was a Millennium celebration of that first epic event. In 34 days and over 16,000 demanding kilometres 100 selected competitors faced a gruelling schedule that took them through 15 countries. In some countries we retraced the route of the original epic 1968 event.
Such is the magnetic attraction for this event that nearly all the 100 places in the competitive category were snapped up within six weeks of its announcement.
The 34-day route was in three legs. The first 14-day leg took competitors across the Channel into France and Germany and then into the Czech Republic and the picture book capital of Prague. From there south into Slovakia and Austria and onwards to Budapest in Hungary. Across Romania and into Greece and the sparkling blue waters of the Aegean.
Then into Turkey and along to the Mediterranean coast and inland through tiny forgotten hill villages and into the moonscape mountains of remote eastern Turkey. Antonov aircraft lifted the cars out overnight to northern Thailand.
The final 8-day leg took the survivors into the deserted outback of the Northern Territory and into the edges of the Simpson Desert where, when the temperatures gets above 40 degrees, it's possible to fry an egg on the bonnet of the car.
The route took in an overnight stop at Alice Springs and then swooped out of the desert into Port Augusta, one of the stop overs on the old '68 event, and then into the spectacularly beautiful Flinders Ranges.
Across country to Broken Hill, into the snowy Mountains to Canberra and its pine forests eventually to finish on the steps of one of the worlds most recognisable landmarks, the Sydney Opera House.
Thirty four days, 16,000 kms, three continents - a journey and a competition of epic proportions. Those who finished were heroes, the winner could lay claim to victory in the most demanding of all motoring competitions. The London-Sydney Marathon is the Blue Riband of long distance events.