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Runner's Epic Battle
Against the Elements

(Scott Howlett - Northern District Times. 8 Dec, 2010)

Kevin HeatonA NORTH Ryde softwear engineer has been hand-picked to compete in the Coast to Kosciuszko Ultramarathon on Friday, December 10.

Kevin Heaton (pictured), who works for Toshiba, can be regularly seen treading a path around Epping, Carlingford, North Ryde and Castle Hill.

He joins other contestants from China, Malaysia, Ireland and New Zealand in the 240km-long race, which began with only four athletes in 2004.

The route takes the runners from Twofold Bay, near Eden, on the NSW south coast, to Australia’s highest peak, the 2228m Mount Kosciuszko, above Thredbo Village.

Prospective entrants are required to present a history of ultramarathon finishes before earning a coveted position in the starting line-up.

Heaton, of Pennant Hills, was eligible because of his past ultramarathon experience, including running the previous three Coast to Kosciuszko ultramarathons and the Australian Ultra Grandslam in 2009.

The Ultra Grandslam entails finishing four 160km races between September and December in a single year.

Heaton hopes to finish the Ultra Grandslam again in 2010, racedirector Paul Every said.

For the first time it is compulsory for each runner to have a designated support crew to provide them with food, fluids and clothing through out the event.

“While Jo Blake set a blistering record of 26hrs, 1 minute and 40 seconds in last year’s race, many of the competitors will be on their feet a lot longer, with the final cut-off of 46 hours meaning many will go well into the second night, usually without sleep,” Every said. “In previous years competitors have been exposed to conditions from days approaching 40C to nights of near-freezing temperatures, pelting rain and winds over 100km/hour.

“Just completing Coast to Kosciuszko requires tremendous stamina, mental fortitude and an organised support crew.

“For the top men and women approaching it as a competitive race, their efforts are even more extraordinary.”

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