The description “gnarliest race in the Southern Hemisphere” is what caught Mick Marshall’s attention.
“That immediately grabs us crazy-types,” he said. “The race has over 8000-metres worth of incline and descent, which is equivalent to Mount Everest.”
The local adventure racer has been doing ultra-running for five years now, but he has never done anything like this before. No one has.
The Down Under 135 is a new event where Marshall will attempt to run 217km in less than 40 hours.
It is rocky, hilly terrain, starting on the outskirts of Bacchus Marsh, and includes tough technical climbs and descents through the Lerderderg Gorge and Wombat State Forest.
Crews will not have access to the runners until the 33km mark due to no access points.
“This is a very unique event and to have it in your backyard is awesome,” Marshall said. “I think that will give me some fairly good motivation.”
To ensure their safety, participants have to meet tough criteria to qualify for the event. Marshall said nutrition, training and mindset also had to fall into place.
This involved racking up the kilometres in similar terrain, participating in other events and training through sleep deprivation.
“The main thing is getting your head around being able to do it,” he said.
“You have to break it down into little bits so you are not running 217km, you just concentrate on getting through the first hour.”
However as a personal trainer and hypnotherapist, Marshall has always enjoyed pushing himself to his limits both mentally and physically.
“In these sorts of events, no one looks at whether you win or not,” he said.
“Just completing it, you’re already a massive winner.”
Marshall is hoping to raise $10,000 for the two causes through his efforts.
“It would be really nice to see some familiar faces at the halfway mark and at the finish,” he said.
“If anyone wants to see something extreme, just come out and have a squiz.”
The dates for the event are April 7, 8 and 9.
To support River’s Gift go to www.givenow.com.au/micksos or to support JDRF go to www.everydayhero.com/mickmarshall.