Running hot for cold water

IT WAS around 40 degrees in Kerang when Ruslan Shakin jogged into town pushing a pram. 

On the road again... Ruslan Shakin is running to raise money for water for people in need.

On the road again... Ruslan Shakin is running to raise money for water for people in need.

The 38-year-old Russian, who now resides in Los Angeles, was about 3000 kilometres into a 4300-kilometre journey from Perth to Sydney, which he deliberately embarked on in the hottest months.

"I wanted to feel the thirst," says Mr Shakin, who is running to raise money for a charity that builds clean water projects in 24 countries, mostly in Africa.

His bulging pram contained all his equipment and bore a sign explaining the mission. 

Everything he needs for the journey – from clothes to tent to tins of beans - he pushes.

There is no support crew, which probably explains a fund-raising total of just $1400 so far.

"I didn't have that much media coverage," Mr Shakin says. "Ceduna was the first time after Perth pretty much – in almost 2000 kilometres. They call it Nullarbor-ing for a reason I guess."

Travelling at between five and 10 kilometres per hour – and running 80 per cent of the time, the "ultra-runner" - the term describes someone tackling distances greater than marathon length - averages around 50 kilometres per day. 

"In December it was 53.9km on average. Now I slow down a bit because of the heatwave."

This is his second epic run, and it wasn't originally planned as a charity mission, Mr Shakin said. He previously crossed Japan as a personal challenge.

But close to the end of it he found a bigger motivation.

"When I was finishing up running across Japan I listened to this book Thirst, by Scott Harrison, and it inspired me to do it for water projects."

"Six hundred and sixty-three million people in the world live without clean water. One water project costs about $10,000 and it provides a community of up to 300 people with clean water access. It could be a water filtration system, it could be a water pump."

Ruslan Shakin is on Facebook at @runacrossaustralia, which links to his gofundme page. 

His chosen charity is: charitywater.org.

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