Athletes will get a taste of the unique Simpson Desert experience when they head to Birdsville in June for the town's inaugural ultramarathon.
The Simpson Desert Ultra is one of Australia's newest ultramarathons comprising of a 25km, 50km, 75km and 100km clover leaf patterned run through the Simpson Desert on June 5-6.
The event is the brainchild of Birdsville local Jenna Brook, who wanted to provide an avenue for people to seek adventures outside their comfort zones and achieve what they perceive impossible.
Rick Leeman is one of 13 Mount Isa athletes who have registered to take part in the event and will be completing the 75 kilometre course.
"I haven't run down at Birdsville before so this will be a new challenge for myself and the other Mount Isa runners," Leeman said.
"A few competitors including myself have competed in ultramarathons or adventure type runs over the years. However this will be a first for a number of us running in sand an open gibber plains, so it will be very challenging staying upright and climbing up and down the dunes."
Despite the inaugural event in 2020 being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, competitors remain keen to take part in this year's event and have been busy training.
"We have been doing some Sunday morning sand sessions running along the riverbed, doing an hour up and back," Leeman said.
"Some of us have also being trying to do some elevation training getting used to going up sand dunes, so a number of us have been going up Telstra Hill or Pamela St Hill.
"I think it is going to be a fantastic adventure, it'll be very challenging for a lot of us."
If running through sand wasn't enough, competitors also have to face the chilling cold and windy conditions.
"Birdsville is ultimately known for its heat, however the Ultra will be taking place through the night which competitors will face freezing cold and windy conditions," Leeman said.
"In our race packs we gave to take thermals and wind proof jackets that can combat the extreme cold.
"The Ultra will be a staggered start on Saturday afternoon so that everyone finishes around the same time on Sunday morning. Which is really good for morale when you're finishing a long run like that."
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