Runners conquer 100km challenge

Most people can't picture themselves running a marathon (42km).

So to run two-and-a-half marathons, up and down stairs and hills, continuously in one day would be out of the realms of imagination.

But that's exactly what a group of dedicated Naracoorte athletes did last weekend.

Eight runners travelled to the Blue Mountains in NSW to take part in a trail running event which required them to run a brutal course of up to 100km with an extreme elevation gain of 4.4km through climbing and descending stairs and hills.

Participating in the Ultra-Trail Australia event in the NSW Blue Mountains, Charlie Legoe, Paul Schroder, Mark Edwards, Ben Wood, Naomi Feder, Matt Drew and Rob Handbury all took on the full 100km course, and Emily Edwards ran the 50km course.

The once-in-a-lifetime challenge required participants to run non-stop virtually all day, starting early on Saturday morning and not crossing the finishing line until after midnight - between 15 to 20 hours later.

The organiser of the "Big Guy" team, Charlie Legoe, said all of the local runners had done months of training and were well prepared for the event, but despite the picturesque scenery and fantastic atmosphere, it was a brutal experience.

"It was a gruelling experience that showed a true test of mental and physical strength and one that will live in our memories forever," he said.

Team member Paul Schroder added: "It was pretty amazing, it's hard to describe."

Charlie said: "Our event set off at 7.54am with the first 57km looping out along a ridge, up the Iron Pot mountain to the indigenous 'Welcome to Country' and back down through beautiful farming valleys, before ascending Nellies Glen back to Katoomba. In the grand scheme of things, this 57km was relatively straight forward, with the climb up Nellies Glen being the most challenging.

"The back half of the trip though proved to be a lot harder than expected. Night time hit fast which made the 60-78km even more challenging. This section saw us climb and descend steep stair cases from Echo Point, down through the Leura Cascades eventually to Fairmont resort, before reaching our final check point, still 22km out from Katoomba.

"The final section took us all the way down to Jamison Creek, an 8km descent, before hitting our final challenge, the ascent up the Furber steps to the awaiting support crew and dedicated onlookers at the finish. A final total of 100km which included 10,400 stairs and around 4400 metres of climbing (approximately half the elevation of Mount Everest)."

Charlie said the group was very well supported by a crew of family and friends both at the event and in the long lead-up, with many trips to Mount Gambier and the Grampians required for elevation training.

While all of the runners were feeling it in the aftermath of the event, they all appreciated the enormity of their achievement.

Despite still being sore days after the run, when asked if he'd consider doing the event again in the future, Paul responded: "I'd do it again in a heartbeat."