Midfield to mountains
FOR more than 30 years Todd Mumberson was a dominant force through hockey midfields on the eastern seaboard. Nowadays you’ll find him in Parklands rather than on the pitch.
Preparing to race the 50km event as part of the Blackall 100 next Saturday, October 20, Mumberson said trail running had become his happy place.
“It’s a good way to clear my head,” the 38-year-old said.
“Some people like surfing and sitting out beyond the breakers. I grew up in a farm so I like being in the bush.
“It’s great to run with mates but some of the best runs are by yourself, just with the birds and trees for company.
“I do miss the hockey but I find I get a bit more out of running...a good balance of sport and the rest of my life.”
Growing up near Canberra, Mumberson had a hockey stick in his hands from the age of four.
Over three decades he made representative sides for New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland after moving north while studying at university.
Playing regularly at the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast, hockey was a major part of his life until he was asked to join a friend training for a marathon.
“I had never run more than about 10km,” he said.
“In hockey I was never the fastest, I just had endurance.”
Struggling through the initial road running introduction, he joined regular weekly social runs at Parklands with the likes of Dylan Cole-Jones, Phoebe Nance and David Schloss, which saw his ambitions literally take a new trail.
Off-road running became his new passion and has led to some strong performances across varying distances, culminating with 14th place in the men’s 30-39 category at New Zealand’s Tarawera Ultramarathon in February this year, which took 11hr 34min 22sec over 102 wet and muddy kilometres among quality competition. That was followed in May by successfully finishing the Ultratrail Australia 50km with a time of 5:30:24.
During 2016 he finished sixth (20-39 age group) at the Surfcoast Century race in Victoria with a time of 9:52:03, while last year he was fourth in his age group and sixth overall after finishing the Blackall 50km race in 4:23:18.
While keen to run the 100km this year, family commitments with his two boys mean he’ll again return for the half distance.
Coached by ultra runner Scotty Hawker of Mile 27, Mumberson runs five days a week. He said when preparing for a 100km event he’ll cover between 120-130km a week, and about 20km less for 50km races.
Each week includes a long run, two recovery runs, speed session and hill repetitions.
Following the Blackall 50, Mumberson said he’s looking forward to The Buffalo Stampede, a 75km event in the Victorian Alps in April, some local events, and possibly being part of a Sunny Coast team in the Gold Coast’s 96km Kokoda Challenge.
BLACKALL EXPERIENCE: Chevallum ultra runner and former hockey player Todd Mumberson (left) with NUTRs member Howard McCann, who will race the 100km event this year.