There was no shortage of true Aussie Grit on display at Ultra Trail Australia 2019.
More than 8,000 runners tackled the 11km, 22km, 50km and 100km courses in the Blue Mountains over the weekend, showing themselves and the running community that their mental determination can outweigh their body’s desire to stop running.
One incredible athlete that particularly embodied this was Paralympic Champion, Michael Milton. Milton has six gold, three silver and two bronze medals to his name and over the weekend, he reminded us why, time and time again.
We caught up with Michael the day after his UTA22 finish, where he was still working hard, volunteering his time at the UTA information tent.
“Six weeks before the race I swapped from a 50K to a 22K after I fractured my ribs and my hands. My recovery is a good reflection of my lack of preparation but I guess the temporary pain of recovery is far outweighed by the feelings of satisfaction and the awesome day out that we all had together.”
When asked what the toughest part of the 22km track through Katoomba was, Milton laughed.
“It was all tough… You know, there’s so many ups and downs in that course and I think your emotions kind of go with that. Your confidence and pain levels go with that too.
“The course is built around the Furber Stairs at the end and that’s always going to hurt the most! On the way up you’re thinking, it doesn’t matter how slow you go, you’ve just got to keep moving forward and while you’re still going forward, you are getting closer to the finish.”
Milton completed the course decked out in his Aussie Grit Apparel flint Running Short and flint Trail T-shirt, which he said performed highly throughout the race.
“The gear was great, you know I love wearing Aussie Grit stuff. I’ve been running in separate compression shorts and over shorts and stuff for years but to have it all in one is fantastic and the quality of the gear is fantastic.”
Ever the determined adventurer, you can’t help but get the impression that Milton always has one eye on his next challenge.
“That’s one way of looking at it, pretty sure my wife would use terms like “pig headed” and “stubborn”, but there’s lots of things in the plan for this year.
“I’m looking forward to a great winter of skiing and some back-country ski touring. In the end for me it’s about living an active lifestyle and you know, staying fit maintaining my health and fitness as much as I can and being able to live life with energy and passion and having fun.”