Wieden aims for third crack at mighty Pyramid challenge

TALL TASK: John Wieden with daughter Tamiesha ahead of the start of the Pyramid Race last year.
TALL TASK: John Wieden with daughter Tamiesha ahead of the start of the Pyramid Race last year. Contributed

IT IS generally accepted among John Wieden's former teaching colleagues at Gordonvale State School that every male staff member should run the formidable Pyramid Race at least once during their stay.

So he did and he hasn't looked back, returning later in his career to continue the legacy and better his personal best time of 1:40:21.

The now Emerald school teacher is in training for his third run on the unique 12km north Queensland circuit alongside daughter Tamiesha who will be making her second appearance in the shorter 5.7km leg.

But don't be fooled, this run is not for the feint of heart with more than 6km of near vertical ascent and decent hill climbs on Walsh's Pyramid - a unique geographical feature south of Cairns.

"It's described on the webpage as a 'never ending uphill scramble and controlled downhill freefall'," Wieden said.

"It is not a well-used track, it is rocks, trees and lots of elevation. It is hard to explain the exhaustion climbing for nearly an hour, then running down with totally exhausted legs."

He said the Pyramid run idea was born when two farmers wagered a bet to see who could climb the hill the fastest.

It has grown into a nationally-recognised event on the endurance running calendar, both here and overseas.

"What I like about the race is that anyone can do it, so not just the gun runners but lots of fitness levels and there are runners who run three hours plus," he said.

Although still six months out from competition, it was "steady as she goes" on the training front which has been punctuated by niggling injuries and a seemingly endless pursuit of the required fitness to complete the "Great Race". But things are looking up.

"I am already lighter and fitter than when I have completed the race in the past three years," he said.

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