Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Article in Canberra Times

'Crazy' Fryer on the mend after discovering it's a long, long way to the top
Rebecca Wiasak
Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Canberra endurance runner Martin Fryer returned from a record-breaking effort in a Coast to Kosciuszko Ultra Run but instead of celebrating his win the athlete was visiting the doctor.
Two doctors were needed to assess Fryer and, while they labelled the runner "crazy", the recommended medication was for an inflamed foot rather than his psychiatric state.

Seven competitors embarked on the two-day journey that started at Boydtown Beach, south of Eden on the NSW South Coast, on Friday. Only five finished.

Fryer was the first across the finish line at Charlotte's Pass more than 30 hours later.

His time 31hrs55min broke the race record by seven hours and was three hours ahead of his nearest rival Paul Every, a zookeeper at Sydney's Taronga Park.

Fryer, 44, said he was sometimes "paranoid" during the 246km journey to the summit of Mt Kosciusko, but crew members Ian Wright and Seb Dunne's clever tactics helped him maintain the lead.

Wright and Dunne are accomplished ultra-marathon runners, and when the gap between Fryer and Every narrowed they chose not to post updates to a public forum updating interested parties on the race progress.

"Some of their tactics allowed me to do better than other teams," Fryer said. "They were a critical part of it."

The Weston Emus orienteering club member decided to enter the gruelling event after completing a 24hr track race in Queensland last year. He said part of the attraction of the event was to go from sea level to the highest point in Australia.

"The thought of it was intimidating but the way to get through it is to break it up in micro chunks to the level you run to the next snow poll then walk to the next pole.

"The worst part for most people was between two and three in the morning.

"You body wants to shut down at that stage and it ends up being willpower rather than physical that gets you there."

The Coast to Kosciuszko race was one in a series of 'Fat Ass' events which are gatherings of like-minded athletes following the motto: 'No Fees, No Awards, No Aid, No Wimps'.

There are no entry fees, no course marshals and no help if runners encounter trouble on course, making crews of helpers integral to the events.

Fryer hoped the extreme mountain run would attract sponsorship so the event could grow.

He believed the entry of more competitors would eventually bring the race record to well under 30hrs.

"It's basically a purist, experiential running group, sort of like an underground current of getting people and supporting them to get into running longer distances, even though there are no prizes."

AT A GLANCE1 Martin Fryer 31hr55min; 2 Paul Every 35:28; 3 Kelvin Marshall 39:07; 4 Jan Hermann 41:22; 5 Brendan Mason 41:47.

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