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Ultra-marathon man hopes to be king of the hill

COMMITTED: Raelene and Gavin Bendall preparing for the C2K ultra marathon.
COMMITTED: Raelene and Gavin Bendall preparing for the C2K ultra marathon. Chris Ison Rokcmarathon

SIX years ago, Gavin Bendall was heading down a road leading to poor health.

Overweight and unhealthy, he was at risk of developing diabetes like his parents.

A lifestyle change was in order, so Gavin got fit and started running.

Next month he will take on Australia's longest single stage footrace of 240km from sea level to its highest point of Mount Kosciusko and back part of the way.

He will have 46 hours to complete the distance, crossing several peaks in slippery and icy conditions, even in December.

"Why I am doing it is simple. The challenge. There's nothing more iconic than running from our coast at sea level to our highest point to stand on the top of Australia. I really hope the view is spectacular.

"Opportunity. This race is the peak of Australian ultra racing and therefore is the stepping stone to qualification for many overseas races," Gavin said.

Entrants must submit resumes showing that they meet the minimum qualifying standards and are then interviewed by race directors. Only 50 competitors are selected.

In the past 18 months Gavin has run two 100 milers, a couple of 100km, a 12-hour race and numerous others to qualify. His preparation includes running 150km a week. His biggest supporter will be his wife of 18 years, and committed training partner, Raelenewho came very close to qualifying, was on the waiting list as a reserve.

However, at the weekend she found out she would not get the opportunity to run.

After running for 14 hours, Gavin is allowed a running buddy, and Raelene will support him.

"So I will still get to see the summit," she said.

C2K CHALLENGE

What: Coast to Kosciusko (C2K) is Australia's longest single stage footrace of 240km from sea level to the summit of Kosciusko and back down some of it

Where: The start line is at Boyd Town Beach at Two Fold Bay on the NSW Coast

The peak is the Strzelecki monument at the 231km mark at the top of Mt Kosciusko and the finish line is back down at Charlottes Pass

When: The adventure begins on at 5.30am on Friday, December 6

Topics:  health marathon running



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