Mid­field to moun­tains

Multisport Mecca - - Front Page - Grant Ed­wards

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.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

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.

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