Marathon man

Steve Pearce crosses the finish line after completing 50km last Saturday in the Hume and Hovell ultra-marathon. Photo courtesy of Action2Image.

RUNNING for 50kms across a rugged terrain is not for everyone. Most would prefer to avoid the arduous hours of lead-up training that accompany such feats and the blood, sweat and tears that is race day.

For those like Tumut’s Steve Pearce, however, the challenge of such events is motivating and the run a great experience. It is also a chance for his mind to be still and forces him to take a break from the various projects around his and wife, Rachel’s, property.

Not a professional circuit runner but never an idle man, Steve is very modest about his second placing in last weekend’s Hume and Hovell Ultra Marathon 50 km event. Steve simply runs because he likes it.

“I started running about six years ago because I wasn’t playing union anymore and needed to be doing some exercise,” Steve said. “I started off with a small amount and progressed to what I do now.  Once you get fit it is quite enjoyable, I miss running when I don’t do it.

“I don’t have the time to do more than a few runs a week. I do enjoy it, I guess it’s my thing for the moment.”

Working in the forestry industry as a machine operator and a plant mechanic, Steve, to the amusement of his fellow forestry workers, heads to the bush trails and runs before heading home after work.

It relaxes him and has become part of his weekly routine.

Over the past few years the 38-year-old has participated in several events further from home including several City to Surf races, Lake to Lagoon events in Wagga and as recently as two weeks ago, Steve was part of a three man team who finished second in the teams event in the strenuous Upper Murray Challenge.

“I ran the 25km leg, Dan McDonnell rode the 38km bike leg and Drew Miller did the 26km canoe leg of the race,” Steve said. “It was a terrible day weather wise but was alright when I was running but not very enjoyable after you had stopped. Running in the Upper Murray Challenge was hard, it was more like a hike as it was really steep in parts, it was pretty gruelling.”

A participant in the Wagga Trail Marathon both this year and last, Steve admits the 42kms is challenging but competing in the odd race assists him keeping him motivated on his daily run.

“Going in events gives you something to work towards in your training and helps to motivate you,” Steve said. “With the Hume and Hovell race I thought it was close to home and should support it. The course was pretty good, maybe a bit more undulating than I thought it might be. At about the 35km mark my legs started to cramp and I it wasn’t so much fun then.”

Steve estimated he would take between five and six hours to complete the course and although he had stepped up his training slightly, he knew his training schedule was still well below par of the more serious competitors.

“I finished the 50kms in five hours and13 minutes, which I thought was pretty good considering I hadn’t done heaps of training,” Steve said. “I’m still sore but getting better, I think the heat made the run harder.”

The man that crossed the line in front of Steve with a time 10 minutes faster, Paul Cuthbert, was using the race as a training run leading into a 100 mile race in several weeks.

“When we were running we had a yarn and he said he was training for this big race,” Steve said. “I did wonder at the time what I am running against this guy for? There are some seriously fit people out there.”

For Steve there will be no more races this year but he will continue his afternoon bush runs and the occasional 20km run into Tumut from his Wondalga home, just to maintain his fitness.

“I’ll probably do the same races again next year, but no more this year as the summer is not as fun for running,” he laughs.