We are Janette Murray-Wakelin and Alan Murray, veteran raw vegan runners. We ran 15,782 kilometers together around Australia—366 marathons each in 366 consecutive days throughout 2013. We finished running 365 marathons in 365 days in Melbourne on December 31, 2013. On January 1, 2014 we ran one more marathon, No. 366, setting a new world record for the most consecutive marathons run by a couple over 60 years of age and fueled entirely on a raw vegan diet and wearing barefoot shoes!
Originally from New Zealand, we are internationally acclaimed endurance athletes and inspirational speakers and have traveled and lived worldwide. We are now living a conscious lifestyle near Melbourne, Australia, with our son and daughter-in-law and three of our grandchildren. We have many stories to tell about our very diverse, adventurous life. Our personal lifestyle throughout 46-plus years of marriage and raising a family, extensive world travel and having a successful business partnership has always been centered on health and wellness and a conscious lifestyle.
From sailing in our 40-foot sailboat with our two young children throughout New Zealand, the South Pacific and Papua New Guinea to working our 400-ton freight boat on the inland waterways of Europe; from traveling in our converted bus from Holland to Portugal while homeschooling our children to residing on Vancouver Island, Canada, while our children furthered their education; and from operating a 100-foot hotel boat in France, taking guests on health-oriented canal cruises, to running the length of New Zealand with the support of our two (adult) children; we have enjoyed a physically active, healthy lifestyle throughout our traveling years with our family.
We have collectively participated in 60-plus international marathons and ultraruns, and to celebrate the year 2000 and Janette’s 50th year, we ran the length of New Zealand, covering 2,182 kilometers, running 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days.
The next chapter in our lives created the biggest challenge. At 52, Janette was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the prognosis was only six months or possibly a year with conventional chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
The conventional medical process that was being offered just didn’t make sense to me,” Janette said. “I decided to do my own research, and I discovered truths and lies about cancer. This led me to make conscious lifestyle choices that have changed my life forever. So, rather than waiting those six months to die, I chose to live. I chose to help my body do what it is designed to do—take you to a state of optimum health and keep you there. I chose to do 100 percent the best I could and give my body 100 percent nutrient-laden food so that it could heal, rejuvenate, revitalize and reverse the process. Ten years after my ‘death sentence,’ I wrote the best-selling book, Raw Can Cure Cancer. Prevention is the key to optimum health, and everyone has a choice about how well they want to live,” she added, “but my advice is not to wait for the diagnosis!”
The natural path I, Janette, chose to take with the support of our family resulted in an inevitable journey to healthy living and the passion to share our extensive knowledge and experience with others. We founded a Centre for Optimum Health in Canada, where our focus was on encouraging healthy lifestyles through living nutrition and exercise for the mind, body and spirit. Our vision was to share our knowledge gained through our multitude of life experiences and to encourage natural, healthy lifestyles within our community. We established a highly successful Living Food & Conscious Lifestyle Course and shared our secrets of good health through a series of inspirational presentations internationally during the following 10 years.
During this time, we moved to Australia and, when asked why we decided to run a marathon a day around the country, we answered: “We asked ourselves, what can we do to inspire and motivate conscious lifestyle choices, to promote kindness and compassion for all living beings and to raise awareness for a sustainable future? How can we share the information and experiences we have gained through conscious living so that others may make their own informed lifestyle choices that will make a difference to their health, the health of their family and future generations, the health of their community, the health and well-being of the animals and, ultimately, the health of our precious Earth where we live?”
We decided that the answer was to lead by example, walk or, in this case, run the talk,” Janette said. “By running a marathon together every day for a year around Australia, we hoped to inspire others to believe in themselves, to follow their dreams, and to achieve their goals through making more conscious lifestyle choices.”
While we were Running Around Australia during 2013, we had the opportunity to show that by eating raw living plant-based foods, we are healthier, more physically fit and have unlimited energy at beyond 60 years of age than in our earlier years, including when we ran the length of New Zealand 13 years previously,” Alan added. “Inspiration is what motivates people to ‘never stop pushing’ for what they believe in and for what they want to achieve. We are living proof of what can be achieved by making conscious life choices.”
Our 100 percent low-fat raw vegan diet is based on fresh, ripe, organic fruits and vegetables with no animal products, no processed or junk foods and does not include any supplements, “superfoods,” stimulants, drugs or pain-killers. We follow the 80/10/10 principle of 80 percent carbohydrates, 10 percent protein and 10 percent fat derived from fresh, ripe, organic fruits and vegetables. By eliminating all acid-forming foods and increasing the amount of alkaline foods in our diet, we have attained a higher level of optimum health, improved our physical fitness and increased our performance level, even at our age!”
When in training during the year before we started Running Around Australia, our typical daily menu included:
- Before a short (15-kilometer) training run: 10 ounces of pure spring water and one banana
- Breakfast and after short run: Green smoothie (fruit, greens and water), five-plus bananas
- Lunch: Either 20-plus mandarines, 10-plus oranges, one melon, one pineapple, five-plus bananas and/or other fruits
- Dinner: Either a large green salad with the savory fruits tomato, cucumber, courgette [zucchini] and capsicum [bell pepper]; or a large fruit smoothie; or 1 large fruit such as a melon, papaya or pineapple
- Snacks: Any fruit or a freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juice
- Before a long (15-plus kilometers) training run: 20 ounces of water, 10 ounces of fruit smoothie, two to five bananas
- During a long (20-plus kilometers) training run: water and dates
- After a long (20-plus kilometer) run: breakfast plus extra fruit, especially bananas
During the Run around Australia, we settled into a routine where every morning we were up at 3:45, had a banana and grapefruit smoothie and were out the door by 5 a.m. running in the dark for the first couple of hours. Their fuel for the rest of the day was bananas, green smoothie, fruit salad, oranges, dates and more bananas, finishing the run with a fresh veggie juice, an avocado and a large green salad.
The first 60 days up the East Coast was abundant with fresh, ripe tropical fruit—pineapples, mangoes, bananas, oranges, peaches,” Alan recalled. “When leaving the East Coast, heading West, we had to stock up, buying 10 boxes of bananas, five boxes of oranges, three boxes of apples and several boxes of greens. Often, we had weeks between towns, and one leg of 1,300 kilometers (27 days) with no town or shops, only road houses with stale meat pies, Coke and chips, none of which we consume!”
When asked, “Where do you get your protein?” I, Alan, smiled and replied: “The answer is simple ‘The same place that the cow gets it from: greens. Protein from a plant-based diet is healthier than the protein derived from animal sources and does not contribute to health issues such as heart disease and cancer.’ We are also asked where we get our calcium or B12 or any other nutrients a person thinks to name. Again, the answer is that we get all our necessary nutrients from the food we eat, just the same as animals in their natural habitat do.”
During the entire Run, we had no running injuries, although we both tripped and fell on different occasions, sustaining cracked ribs and minor abrasions to our arms and legs. However, we were able to continue without taking any days off, healing as we ran.
We chose to run in Vibram barefoot shoes and went through 16 pairs each. That’s 1,000 kilometers or 23 marathons a pair—and no blisters! On extremely hot days when the road temperature was above 50 degrees, we alternated three pairs, keeping two pairs on ice in the freezer! Our average running time was 6 hours daily, and we tried to get at least eight hours sleep to help keep our energy levels up.
We also raised awareness and funds for selected charitable groups instrumental in making a difference to the health and welfare of the people, animals and environmental sustainability within Australia and worldwide.
We believe that the survival of our human species is dependent on our kindness, compassion and caring for all living beings, and that this is achieved by making conscious lifestyle choices,” Janette said. “By doing so, we can make a difference.”
Since finishing their record-breaking Run Around Australia, we have been inundated with global media interviews for TV, radio, podcasts, newspapers, magazines and blogs. We have been invited to speak at schools, festivals, seminars and conferences worldwide, including the Toronto Raw Vegan Festival and the Toronto ideacity Conference in Canada, The Woodstock Fruit Festival in the United States and the Raw Vegan Festival in Hong Kong, as well as several events throughout Australia.
People around the world are fascinated by what we have achieved on a raw plant-based diet,” Alan said. “They are genuinely interested in learning more about what they can do for their own health.”
We have been approached by a filmmaker who wants to make a documentary based on our Run Around Australia and the positive message that we have to share with the world. This is a fantastic opportunity to help bring about the change we all want to see in this world, a positive change for the future. It is our hope that with a crowd-funding campaign we will be able to bring this to fruition, in the true sense of the word.
To be a part of this feel-good story and help fund the film, visit IndieGoGo.com.