Rocky, hilly forest terrain enhances 100km endurance test
FOR competitive long distance runners, a decent road or recognised track can help them achieve their goals.
That was far from the case in the Nerang National Park where Paul "Shardy'' Shard completed his amazing 100km journey.
Runners were allowed 26 hours to finish after starting at the Nerang Velodrome and venturing into the nearby national forest.
Shard won in just over 13 hours.
"It was just amazing,'' he said.
"I'd done some training runs at Lake Manchester and the hills are a little bit similar there but it (the Nerang course) was just so rocky.
"There was a kilometre and a half stretch in the middle where you had to make up the extra three kilometres to make the 25km loop and it just kept going down and down this big gully. And you knew you had to come back up.
"A lot of mountain bikers run bikes in there but there wasn't even any run paths to follow.''
However, the only real scar from Shard's epic effort along the unforgiving forest trails was a lost toe nail and fatigue.
Shard only walked up some of the monster hills, advice he received from runners who had tackled such a physically demanding endurance event.
"They said don't be afraid to walk the hills,'' Shardy said. "So every steep hill, I walked like a power walker.
"I was actually walking faster than some of my pacers were running. That technique worked and it saved the legs for later on.''
The distance he ran in four loops around the forest terrain was further than driving from Ipswich to Nerang.
Asked whether he would tackle the 100km event again, he smiled.
"The boys at work said that I have to go back and defend my title,'' he said.
"Being the inaugural event, that means my time is actually the course record.
"I'll have to do at least one ultra every year now leading into this time of year.''