19 MAY 2017, CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA: Heavy rainfall over
the next two days will make it very tough and wet for Paralympic
champion, Michael Milton, competing in his first ultra-marathon in the
Blue Mountains this Saturday.
The Bureau of Meteorology updated its forecast at about 5pm on Thursday
and is now predicting up to 80mm will fall on the region in the next two
days. Milton's 50km race starts just before 8am on Saturday and he
expects to be out on the course for 10-12 hours.
"That's a lot of chances to get very wet," said Milton who arrived in
Katoomba late yesterday. "The last few hours will be after sunset which
means we'll also get cold."
He and his running mate James Crook, also from Canberra, have experience
running in the rain in the Blue Mountains. In March during a training
weekend they spent 11 hours running in torrential rain over two days.
"They'd had 350mm the week prior and it poured the whole weekend. Parts
of the course were inaccessible due to swollen creeks and stairs were
turned into waterfalls. I'd never seen anything like it. We were wet from
head to foot the whole time.
"It turned out to be quite an adventure. It was still warm and, although
we were drenched, we had a lot of fun," said Milton.
The rain and water really slowed the pair down but they consoled each
other with the sure knowledge that race day in May was likely to be dry.
"We really thought we'd had our dose of running in the rain. Now we're
back to talking about running in the wet. Plus it could be a lot colder
this time," said Milton.
Ultra-Trail Australia (UTA) is the Southern Hemisphere's biggest trail
running event. There are five different races catering to varying levels
of fitness and skills: the gruelling long distance 100km UTA100 and 50km
UTA50 trail runs, the Pace Athletic UTA22, the thigh-pumping 1.2km stair
climb Scenic World UTA951, and the free Injinji 1km-4-kids trail run.
Milton will tackle the 50km route on crutches and is most concerned about
how his hands will hold up.
"My hands take a battering when I run, even in normal conditions. But in
the wet the thick calluses I have from walking on crutches daily become
soft and the skin starts to break down. It can be very painful,"
He plans to carry a few changes of gloves and some peanut butter and
"The science says I use twice the calories per kilometre running on
crutches so I need some real food to give me some healthy energy boosts.
I'll be looking forward to the occasional cup of tea at the rest stops
too if I get cold."
Milton is a five-time Paralympian and one of only a few who have competed
at both the winter and summer Games. He's won 12 international gold
medals, half of them at a Paralympic Games. He holds the open Australian
speed skiing record at over 213km/hr, ran the Gold Coast Marathon on
crutches, has walked Kokoda twice and scaled Kilimanjaro. On Saturday, if
the weather doesn't stop him in his tracks, he will become the first
person with one leg to complete a UTA race.
While acknowledging it will be difficult, Milton is looking forward to
"No doubt the UTA50 will be tough; it's an enormous endurance test,
physically and mentally. But after months of training I'm excited to get
going, even if it is raining."
For further information please visit http://www.ultratrailaustralia.com.au
. You can also download the Ultra-Trail app for Android and iPhones to
follow your favourite athlete.