Whitsunday runner laces up to be last man standing
A WHITSUNDAY runner will throw on his shoes in hopes of becoming the last man standing in an global race that is set to take days to finish.
This weekend Chris Murphy will compete in the Big Dog Backyard Ultra, a “last one standing race” where competitors run 6.7km every hour on the hour.
They continue through the night and into the next few days until there is just one runner left, which for last year’s winner took 60 hours and more than 400km.
The event takes place across the world and competitors from 19 countries will run simultaneously in a bid to take out the top spot.
Mr Murphy will keep the pace alongside 14 other Queenslanders for the Australian team and landed his spot after placing third in the Clint Eastwood Loser race in August where he ran 201km.
“I couldn’t say no,” he said.
While Mr Murphy now clocks up 160km every week, his career pounding the pavement has been relatively short.
He started running in 2016 after some health complications and a move into a desk job.
“There was a guy I used to go to school with who is quite into adventure racing and running long distances, and I remember seeing an article about him in the paper one time and I thought that was just the stupidest thing I’d ever heard of,” he said.
“Running was always something you did as training for something else, like playing soccer (and) basketball.
“I started running around the block and then a mate said I should do the five kilometre (race) in Airlie.
“I did that and then I bumped into another mate who said I should do Parkrun and do five kilometres every Saturday morning, so I started doing that.”
Mr Murphy completed his first half marathon in 2017 followed by the Great Whitsunday Trail and from there set his sights firmly on ultra-marathons.
While he usually spends the hours running “solving the world’s problems”, Mr Murphy said events with no real finish line were “a battle”.
However, the team element may be the saving grace as countries will get a point for every lap completed, meaning there is an individual and group winner.
Mr Murphy will also be cheered on by his wife and support crew throughout what he hoped would be two full days of running.
“The hard part is that it would be easy to set yourself a goal (because) once you reach that goal you can convince yourself to stop,” he said.
“I definitely want to go longer than last time, which was 30 hours and 200km, I’d love to hit 200 miles, which is 48 hours.”
The race starts at 10pm on Saturday night in Brisbane.