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Beyond the Bale : Aug 07 - Sep 07
By Kellie Penfold One Driza-Bone® Activ shirt, 221 kilometres, seven days, the Sahara Desert ... and the end result is worth framing. Victorian outdoor-education teacher Shaun Bacon put Australian Merino wool to the extreme test when he competed in what is known as the toughest marathon in the world, the Olympic event of endurance sports -- the Marathon des Sables (MDS) -- held in Morocco at the end of March. Without the luxury of water to wash with, he wore the 100 per cent Merino wool, long-sleeve t-shirt for every kilometre. Back home in Australia, that jumper is awaiting framing. It is full of red dust and smells of salt, but Shaun says he will only ever compete in Merino wool. He is now devising innovative ways to trial wool in humid conditions in his preparation for the Jungle Marathon, which covers 200 kilometres over seven days in October in the Brazilian Amazon jungle. "I need rain and heat to train in and that's pretty hard in Victoria, so I'm wetting the t-shirt before putting it on and then wearing a totally windproof jacket and a tight-fitting shirt over the top. I'll also have to look for a sauna at some stage." Shaun hooked up with Driza-Bone® in a roundabout way shortly before he left, and took delivery of the Activ shirt only two weeks before leaving for Morocco. He had worn a lot of wool while pursuing his other passion, mountaineering, and appreciated its thermal qualities in extreme cold and wet conditions. "I must admit I was sceptical and people did think I was strange, wanting to wear a long- sleeved wool garment with a high neck, but now I can't see how I could do without it," he says. Apart from water to drink, which is provided at the beginning of each stage and at each checkpoint, competitors must carry all their own food, clothing, sleeping equipment and medical supplies, resulting in a pack that may weigh upwards of 10 kilograms. MDS attracts 770 competitors and in its 21- year history, according to organisers, no Australian has come in higher than 147th. Despite a case of dysentery the day Wool triumphs in Sahara trial A 100 per cent Merino shirt keeps Shaun Bacon cool and protected throughout his desert marathon 20 OUTDOORS BEYOND THE BALE before it began, and his luggage arriving three days after he did, Shaun finished in 77th place. In the process he raised $15,000 for charity. A fellow Australian came in 32nd. Next year, Shaun says the challenge is to make the top 50. There will be some refinements to his clothing in the meantime. This year, Shaun took a non-wool garment for sleeping, but it will be replaced with Australian Merino wool Driza-Bone® Activ clothing in 2008. "I'll also put in some more pockets for things like headphones and a heart-rate monitor," he says. "I'd love to get some wool gear to replace the shorts we wear running and the pants worn for recovery. "Overall the 100 per cent Australian Merino wool Activ t-shirt surprised me in many ways: it was cool, it breathed well, I was protected from the sun and there was no friction." ú More information: www.drizaboneactiv.com; www.wildframes.com Shaun Bacon competing in the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert -- in Australian Merino. AWI shareholders will have received a flyer with this issue of Beyond the Bale offering a discount on Driza-Bone® Activ tops. Other readers can purchase Driza- Bone® Activ from the usual retail outlets. 50 50 Yield & Micron Staple Length & Strength Colour Dark & Medullated Fibre Fleece Measurement WOOL TESTS AVAILABLE FOR: AUSTRALIAN WOOL TESTING AUTHORITY LTD ABN 43 006 014 106 PO Box 240, North Melbourne Vic 3051 Email: email@example.com Web: www.awta.com.au 70 Robertson Street, Kensington Vic 3031 Tel: 03 9371 4100 Fax: 03 9371 4191
Aug 07 - Sep 07 Supplement
Jun 07 - Jul 07 Supplement