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Runner on a mission

By Michael Inman, Summit Sun
-17 Dec, 2009 10:43 AM

Billy Pearce on the Dalgety BridgeTwenty-seven runners took part in Australia’s toughest ultra marathon- the famed 240km Coast to Kosciuszko on the weekend.

The runners started at Boydtown Beach, Eden, at 5.30am on Friday and most reached Dalgety before the 6.30am cut off time on Saturday. From Dalgety they ran to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko and finished at Charlotte Pass 46 hours after the race began.

One of the runners, Billy Pearce often ponders how his life got to this point. What started as a way to lose a few kilos has blossomed into a passion for distance running.

The father-of-two from Collector began running seriously 10 years ago, starting with the odd 5 to 10km fun run before moving on to marathons and 100km races. The journey has taken the English-born 45-yearold around the world, from his hometown London marathon to Paris and New York.

“I ran the whole 24-hours at the Goulburn Relay for Life and when I finished I jumped online and put a note on a forum saying ‘When did I start doing 100-mile training runs? At what point in my life did that become a reasonable thing to do?’” Mr Pearce said.

“The answer is, just bit by bit. There was no epiphany, you just think

“Well, I’ve done 50km, so I’ll do 60km’, then you think I’ll try a 100km race, then you try 100 miles [160km], it’s a slippery slope.”

Mr Pearce’s running has proven a coup for his adopted hometown of Collector. In October, he ran the 160km from Collector to Young to raise money to buy a defibrillator for the village.

As an emergency room nurse at Queanbeyan Hospital, Mr Pearce realised the importance of such a device in a life-or-death situation when the nearest help is 40km away in Goulburn.

Mr Pearce raised $3,000 to buy the machine, which will be mounted externally on the village hall, easily accessible should an emergency arise.

Unfortunately Mr Pearce had to cut his run short on the weekend due after suffering severe blistering on his left foot.

“That’s the nature of these events, the longer the event the more time for you to be paid back for small mistakes,” he said.

“In a 5 or 10km run you can suck it up to get to the end, but when you run two days and nights little things can turn into monstrous things.

“A badly positioned seam on your sock can turn into a show stopping, half-your-foot-ripped off blister.”