Check out the back cover of the Dave Alley- and David Lees-authored book “Headwind” and you can’t miss the words, “Just how much punishment can the human body take?” emblazoned in red ink. Good question. And exactly who is crazy enough to test that hypothesis? None other than Dave Alley, Queensland police officer, father of four and man on a mission to complete the 14,000 km running challenge on record. That goal is impressive on its own. Pair it with his 2011 achievement — bicycling around Australia in record-setting time — and we couldn’t wait to interview him to see what drives this Renaissance man. Our conclusion? He’s a one-of-kind action hero in the flesh.
RS: Race Around Australia 2 (RAA2) has begun and you are a month into your journey. How are you coping with the experience?
Dave: Well, it’s been three months and I’ve completed over 6,900 km, and has just passed the half way point. As you can imagine, I am sore and fatigued, but at this stage, it’s to be expected. I’m most concerned about avoiding major injury that can short-circuit my progress. Right now, there are multiple blisters on my right foot and I’m having Achilles soreness, but I can’t complain. This wasn’t meant to be easy. No worthwhile goal ever is!
RS: You have all of the traits of an exceptional athlete—but why did you become a police officer?
Dave: I have always wanted to give something back to my community, and being a police officer allows me to do just that. I enjoy working with my colleagues to solve problems and help make our community a safer, more cohesive place.
RS: How do you maintain your athletic form every day?
Dave: No mysteries here; eating properly and getting adequate sleep are keys to top performance for anyone. I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by the best support crew on the planet. They ensure that I remain focused and disciplined at all times.
RS: Your “giving back to the community” philosophy includes raising funds for charities. Why is this important?
Dave: Because our community gives us so much that I feel it’s everyone’s obligation to pay it back. Not everyone is as fortunate as I am; I have a great wife, children and parents. I’m healthy and I have a job that I love that also provides an income so I can keep a roof over our heads. Sadly, not everyone can say the same.
RS: Do you think that Australians do enough to give back to the community?
Dave: I think that all countries can do more in terms of giving back to society.
RS: When undertaking consecutive daylong races, you require fast recovery time so you’re prepared for the next day. What are your recovery secrets?
Dave: I hope you don’t mind me repeating myself, but the answers are food for fuel and adequate sleep so I’m able to do my best the next day. I have the luxury of crew members who attend to my feet and legs and I have a rigorous cool-down regime that I follow. One recovery therapy that helps the most is a nightly ‘ice bath’ that reduces swelling and releases lactic acid.
RS: Have you set a personal goal for yourself?
Dave: After becoming the fastest person to cycle around Australia in 2011, I’m now hoping to become the fastest person to run around Australia. If I’m successful, I’ll be the first person to have done both, so that’s my personal goal.
RS: What motivates you and keeps you going?
Dave: I want to raise at least $100,000 for the White Cloud Foundation, an organisation supporting Australians suffering from anxiety and depression. Every time I see donations flowing in, I’m energized and motivated to keep going because I can see that my mission is worthwhile and that my efforts make a difference.
RS: Every athlete uses certain products that help them perform so they achieve new records. What’s in your “must have” bag when you cycle or run?
Dave: I cannot recommend pjur active highly enough. I have not had a solitary issue with chafing during my pursuit of these two records thanks to this outstanding product. It is crucial to my daily performance.
RS: We know it’s a bit early to celebrate your RAA2 victory, but we’re compelled to ask about your love of crazy and extreme athletic adventures. What other challenges are in your future and will there be an RAA3?
Dave: (laughs). At this stage, my focus is strictly on RAA2, trying to stay injury free and get it done. In order to make sure I reach this goal, all of my focus needs to stay in the present. As for RAA3, I never say never!
As you can tell, Dave Alley is focused to the extreme on his race and isn’t about to turn his attention to his next extreme goal until this one is history. We’d like to know if you have this much focus when you set your own personal goals. Are you capable of staying strictly in the moment so your mind doesn’t stray or are you the sort of person who is always thinking of the next goal or achievement, no matter how daunting your present challenge may be?
Stay updated on Dave’s race progress at Race Around Australia site.