Local runner gets his Molesworth

Postgraduate sports scientist Brent Harris is known to fun-runners and serious athletes as the operator of specialist sports store Running Science in Rozelle. But he is likely to become known more widely in ’09 and beyond as a freak beginning his ascendancy.

For most, the event that closes the Olympics – the marathon – is as long as any human should ever run: a 42.2km muscle-melting psychodrama that always ends somewhere between glory and heartbreak. But the marathon has proven inadequate for Harris’ personal experiment in sports physiology and endurance.

This is why he recently visited his homeland, New Zealand, to compete in the Molesworth Run. “I saw the race three years ago,” said Harris. “I thought 84k? That sounds mental; I’ll give that a go.”

After a frosty morning start, temperatures climbed to the high thirties. This forced many runners out and profoundly challenged those who remained. With a race plan built around cooler expectations, Harris pushed well beyond the ‘zone’, taking second place and reaffirming what he knew as key to endurance running.

“You’re going to hurt, that’s just a given,” he says with no trace of braggadocio. “It’s how you tolerate it and how you manage it.”
In a field of 20 solo runners, running at ultra distance for only the second time, Harris finished in 8h24min behind local veteran John Bayne.

Ultra-running is a small scene where experience and seniority dominate but this 29-year-old shares one trait with his older competitors: determination.

Wanting to post a “good 100km time”, he is now training for the NZ Nationals in February and the Australian Championships in June. The longest distance officially credited by the IAAF, the international governing body for athletics, his target time for the 100 sits just under eight hours.

It’s one reason why on most Sundays Harris can be found doing his long run for the week, pounding out the equivalent of five half-marathons while the rest of us try to catch up on sleep.

Roger Hanney

*Couldn’t find any Finger this year. What the bloody hell is the matter with beer outlets in Tassie?

 

Meanwhile Roger Hanney has another story of endurance madness ...

“You’re going to hurt, that’s just a given,” he says with no trace of braggadocio. “It’s how you tolerate it and how you manage it.”
In a field of 20 solo runners, running at ultra distance for only the second time, Harris finished in 8h24min behind local veteran John Bayne.