Ultra running veteran preparing for Burnett backyard event
AFTER competing in ultra-marathon events all over the world, John Pearson has his eyes set on unique running event here in the South Burnett.
Throughout his career, Pearson has ticked off some remarkable achievements including captaining the Australian 24 Hour team, running 242km at a 24 hour race in Italy and competing in the Coast to Kosciuszko, just to name a few.
The long distance specialist has however never competed in a backyard ultra-marathon and has booked himself in for Dead Cow Gully in Nanango next year.
Pearson said after running in events all over the world, he loves the community atmosphere the Nanango event showcases.
“I love the concept of it being community spirited and being on a rural property creates this warm and welcoming feeling,” Pearson said.
“Most of the big commercial races are so competitive right from when you get there so something like this really stands out from some of the other big races.
“The whole circuit is relaxing, the scenery is good and everyone I have met at the training sessions have been really friendly and welcoming which makes for a good event.”
The backyard ultra format follows a 6.7km loop circuit that must be completed every hour before the next loop starts.
A relatively new concept born out of America that is only just beginning to gain popularity throughout Australia.
According to Pearson an event like this requires a whole different mindset compared to that of a regular ultra-marathon race.
“It’s a very interesting format, it certainly creates a different mindset in perpetration and it’s obviously different for every runner,” Pearson said.
“For different events you have different expectations on how long you are going to run for and how long your body can last, but with no finish line backyard ultras are quite the challenge.
“When preparing for 24 to 48 hour and beyond races so many factors come into play from nutrition to pacing yourself to conserve energy and sleep deprivation is a big one in those longer events.
“Backyard ultras are quite novel and I am looking forward to seeing how it goes and the different challenges it will bring.”
Pearson has been running ultras since 2003 and was first selected to represent Australia in 2008, racing in a 24 hour race where the winner was the runner who could run the furthest in that time frame.
Now 17 years on, Pearson said with the calibre of runners coming to Dead Cow Gully next year, the record is sure to be pushed.
“I definitely think the capabilities are there for records to be broken,” Pearson said.
“A good number of the guys and girls who will be running at the event have run together on international teams and they will all work together to push that Australian backyard ultra record.
“Easter is usually pretty hot, which could take a few hours off the total, but with all the runners coming the possibility is definitely there for the record to be broken.”