For fit friends Dale Rackham and Rosina Oliver, next Sunday’s ‘Outback to the Stack’ run will be their 28th go at this iconic Mount Isa event, formerly known as 'Mine to Mine’.
Starting in 1989, the course originally took keen local runners along the main highway from George Fisher mine to Tony White Oval.
In 2017 runners will start just past Lake Moondarra, travelling into town towards the famous stripey stack., finishing at Tony White Oval.
Distance options include half marathon (21.1km), 5km, 10km, or a 21.1km walk, as individuals or in teams.
“There used to be a cycle leg”, remembers Dale, who placed second in the inaugural event.
Dale produces a photo of the finish line, and certified time of 1h 36m.
“I’ve done 20 half marathons, four team events, two short courses, one bike leg, and no walks.”
“I’ve got to do the walk before I retire,” Dale said.
Neither of the 73-year-olds show any signs of stopping.
They regularly train in swimming too, and compete in triathlons.
“That’s our format for the week, we train five days a week. We’re in the IsaRATS club but we just do our own thing,” Rosina said.
“We don’t walk,” said Dale.
So, what has 30 years of running in the hot desert taught these women?
“The heat is really good because when we go to Dirt n Dust in Julia Creek, all the ones that come out from the coast they think, ‘oh the heat, the wind, the muddy water’, and they’re stuffed before they start!”
“You see us Mount Isa guys, they’re the conditions we’re used to, so we just say ‘bring it on’,” Dale said.
Dale holds the record for number of completed Dirt n Dust triathlons at Julia Creek, with Rosina one behind.
“I missed the first one and then I broke my jaw, so I’ve missed two. I’ve done 21 out of 23,” she said.
“I’ve only done 20 now,” Rosina said.
The women say they are “not really competitive” but do the best they can on the day, for themselves.
Outback to the Stack is on Sunday, July 23. Register now via IsaRATS online at www.isarats.com.au.
More than 220 runners registered last year, and the club is hoping to reach 250 in 2017.