The man who chooses to run ultra-long distances for fun
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.
LONG ROAD: Andrew Dower in action during an ultramarathon.