Long distance running becomes an elixir
When Dwight Grieve took up running six years ago in attempt to lose some weight never in his wildest dreams did he contemplate the bizarre path he maybe taking.
Grieve wanted to be more active and as time went by dropped 20kg as he found a new love in running.
But achievement after achievement the bar continued to be lifted higher and higher until at the weekend he put himself through something that most people would get tired just thinking about.
That challenge was the Sri Chinmoy 24-hour running event in Auckland.
Basically the crux of the event was competitors had to run around a 400m running track and in 24 hours had to rack up as many laps as possible.
Finishing the 24-hour haul in itself was accomplishment that can be marvelled but the Te Anau policeman wasn't comfortable with just that, he pushed his body to the extreme to ensure he claimed a second place finish.
He completed an astonishing 462 laps in the 24 hour timeframe which totalled 184.8km.
Running 184.8km obliviously tests a person's physical boundaries, however that is not the only thing runners like Grieve had to contend with in the race which started at 9am on Saturday and finished at 9am Sunday.
There were also the mental demons to overcome.
"It's a mental game," Grieve quickly pointed out.
"Basically your body gets to a point of pain and it doesn't get much worse. It sounds stupid, but you get to a point that your body is screaming to stop because there is the ultra pain but it gets to a level you can hold. From there it becomes a mental battle to keep yourself going."
"I did hit a dark patch, a dark, dark patch. I had to get into the tent and have a rest for half an hour and the will and amount of effort to get back out of that tent and get running was huge, I was just about vomiting and collapsing. It took some real hurt and pain to get going again."
Grieve said he had a good support crew with him who pushed him through the tough times and said without them he wouldn't have got to the finish.
Not surprisingly Grieve is proud of his efforts when he reflects.
"I still remember the first time I looked on the computer and saw there was a 100km race and I thought, wow, that would be something amazing to do. And now I look at what I've done and it's just a bizarre feeling to have achieved what I have."
Just when you thought 24 hours running was tough enough the first male ahead of Grieve was Wayne Botha, who completed the whole event barefoot totalling a remarkable 211km.
He set the world barefoot record for the fastest time to 100km and it was the first time anyone had ever gone 200km barefoot.
Grieve this week is sporting a swollen ankle, three blisters, he is also set to lose some toe nails and his body his aching all over - that though hasn't stopped him eyeing his next ultra-distance assignment.
Grieve plans to complete the 160km Northburn race in March and with the terrain he is hoping to complete it in under 30 hours.
- © Fairfax NZ News