The man who chooses to run ul­tra-long dis­tances for fun

Fraser Coast Chronicle - - SPORT - Matthew McIn­er­ney Matthew.McIn­er­ney@ news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

YOU may have seen Fraser Coast fa­ther-of-three

An­drew Dower pound the pave­ment in lo­ca­tions across Her­vey Bay.

Whether it is at the start of his early morn­ing cour­ses, ap­pear­ances at weekly events like Parkrun, or any pre­mier run­ning event that ties in with his stacked train­ing program, Dower spends as much of his ‘spare’ time on the foot­path.

Dower is a long-dis­tance run­ner.

Now, what­ever dis­tance you imag­ined, you need to mul­ti­ply that by as much as 10, pos­si­bly more.

While most peo­ple took full ad­van­tage of the sun­shine and seem­ingly per­fect Septem­ber weather last Satur­day, Dower was at Beer­bur­rum for the Glasshouse 100.

The 100 stands for miles. Think Com­mon­wealth Games gold medal-win­ning marathon le­gends Steve Moneghetti or Robert de Castella, and mul­ti­ply their race lengths by four.

At the time of writ­ing, Dower had been run­ning for about seven hours.

In the week prior to the event, this un­fit, non-ath­letic writer met Dower at the Uran­gan Pier for an ‘easy’ 5km jog down Charl­ton Es­planade.

It is one of Dower’s fre­quent des­ti­na­tions, demon­strated by the fact he knew just about ev­ery other walker, run­ner or cy­clist who hap­pened to be out for a 6am ses­sion.

Dower’s jour­ney to ul­tra-long dis­tance run­ning was sim­ply born out of a love for run­ning.

He started with triathlon, then as his in­ter­est in the mul­ti­sport waned, he chose to fo­cus on the run leg.

The ath­letic base helped him work to­wards the hal­fand full marathon dis­tances, and from there the length of his cour­ses con­tin­ued to in­crease.

He has tack­led events like the Glasshouse 100 for the past few years.

Ear­lier this year he fin­ished the Ul­tra-Trail Aus­tralia Blue Moun­tains

100 in 17 hours, 2 mins and 27 secs and was third in the 16.5km Wild Horse @ Night in June.

So how does he do it? There’s the tight train­ing plan com­piled with BMee Mul­tisports coach Lars Olsen, which sets out Dower’s weekly run sched­ule.

The idea, like any train­ing, is to peak on race day, but with so many com­mit­ments, in­clud­ing those of his chil­dren and ris­ing sport stars in their own right, gym­nasts Indi and Piper, and scooter rider, Ethan, it gen­er­ally means he’s up be­fore the sun.

If all goes to plan, he should peak for race day, where, us­ing Septem­ber 9, 2017, as the ex­am­ple, he starts a 160km course.

He said he breaks the race into sev­eral sec­tions.

The first 40-odd kilo­me­tres is the ‘party’. It’s where, he said, he em­braces his pas­sion for run­ning.

“It should be fun,” he said as we jogged.

It’s the part where he shares a laugh with other run­ners and en­sures he gen­uinely en­joys be­ing out­side and amidst the el­e­ments.

As the next 100-plus kilo­me­tres un­fold, Dower ad­mit­ted it be­came more of a men­tal chal­lenge as the body fa­tigued, but, pro­vided the base fit­ness was there, any­one could fin­ish.

■ Dower com­pleted the Glasshouse 100 in 28 hours 51 mins 21.7 secs.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED / SOK IM­AGES

LONG ROAD: An­drew Dower in ac­tion dur­ing an ul­tra­ma­rathon.

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