Newcastle runner Vlad Shatrov says he "always wanted to do an Everest".
This means running the same elevation as Everest. That's an epic 8850 metres.
"I picked an iconic hill with a good view, close to home and just went for it," he said.
The hill was Mount Tomaree in Nelson Bay. The run, which he did three months ago, took 22 hours.
He used the super-steep run as mental preparation for Saturday's 100-kilometre Ultra-Trail Australia event in the Blue Mountains.
Vlad is a professional trail runner, ranked third in Oceania - which includes Asia.
In 2019, he won his first world tour event - New Zealand's 100-mile Tarawera Ultramarathon.
"The feeling when you win something like this is just incredible," he said.
Vlad particularly enjoys the Ultra-Trail Australia event because it involves professional and amateur runners.
"It's unique. Other events have the professional and amateur events separated," said the 42-year-old, who also coaches runners.
Asked how he deals with the pain of long runs, he said: "The training definitely helps. You need to be as strong in the mind as you are in the body".
"The pain sits at a certain level and doesn't get any worse. If you can deal with that, you get into a trance. It's hard to explain.
"It's why you have such an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when you do complete one of these 100-kilometre or similar events, because it's so hard and takes so long. You go through these emotions on the day. A lot of sacrifice goes into it. So when you do complete it, it's a lot more rewarding."
Long trail runs, he said, "strip everyone back" to their human nature.
"You become friends with anyone who is randomly around you, at one of the checkpoints or at the finish line," he said.
"It's just really nice. Life is pretty crazy and stressful. These days, people are less and less friendly. When you do one of these events, everyone is instantly a friend. You come away from it thinking it's not all bad.
"We might be about to go to war with China, or we're in a pandemic, but we're in this together."
Dunk a Mariner
When the Jets play the Mariners in the big F3 derby on Saturday night, competition winners will be watching the match in style from a pop-up bar dubbed the "fan deck".
Inspirations Paint established the fan deck to mark its sixth year as major sponsor of the Jets. As well as an INXS tribute band [fans ritually sing Never Tear Us Apart at home games], the festivities will include fans being able to "dunk a Mariner" on the northern hill by hitting a target and plunging a Mariners jersey-wearing Coastie into a cold-water tank.
"The F3 derby is the biggest game of the season for many Jets fans, so we wanted to create a party atmosphere for the clash," said Joel Goodsir, of Inspirations Paint.
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