FOR the vast majority of the population, the idea of running 240km non-stop is unfathomable.
Combine such a lengthy trek with a climb up Australia’s tallest mountain and you have the Coast to Kosciuszko (C2K) – one of the world’s toughest ultra marathons.
Australia’s leading ultra-running couple, Wangaratta locals Justin and Sharon Scholz, etched their names into the history books when they became the first ever husband and wife team to complete the brutal event on December 6-7.
While Sharon was lining up for her fourth straight C2K, having set the women’s record on her first attempt at the race in 2010, Justin came in relatively green in comparison.
Although he has previously completed 100km ultra marathons and 24 hour events, the C2K was a huge step up, and Justin said taking on the challenge as a team made it even more difficult.
“I had crewed for Sharon over the past three years, and after the 2012 event we had a bit of a ‘what if?’ moment, where we wondered whether it might be something we could do as a team,” Justin said.
“We marked this in as the biggest thing we wanted to achieve for 2013, and we have both focused on it since about April.
“In the lead up we did a 56km trail run, a 100km race in Melbourne and a 24-hour walk, where Sharon became the Australian champion, but this was much tougher.
“It is an individual event, and nobody runs in teams because to go side-by-side means that you always have to adjust for who is slower at any given time.
“Throughout the race there were times when one or the other of us would have picked up the pace, but at the times when one of us was struggling or needed to stop to change a shoe or have a toilet break, the other would have to slow down and wait.”