HITTING THE ROAD: Murwillumbah’s Lionel McLoy, Michael Biltoft and Ross McLennan.
HITTING THE ROAD: Murwillumbah’s Lionel McLoy, Michael Biltoft and Ross McLennan. Larissa Nicholson

Challenge set for 42km race

MURWILLUMBAH Volley running club member Michael Biltoft could run like hell and get the agony over with, but then he would miss the spirit and atmosphere of the 42 kilometre Gold Coast Airport Marathon.

The long-distance running event started 31 years ago and attracted 124 athletes in the first full marathon, expanding greatly to a current field of more than 5000.

Biltoft said getting through the marathon would be a mental achievement, not only on the day, but also through the lead-up training.

“In preparation I have been running six or seven days a week which is about 80 to 90 kilometres of running per week,” he said.

“When we train for marathon, we run 34 kilometres because in a marathon it is the last eight kilometres when you run out of glycogen stores which are the hardest.

“You feel great at the start but you have to hold back, stop at every drink station and also have power bars to keep up your carbohydrates to keep in control of yourself.”

Carbohydrates are converted by the liver and muscles into glycogen which burns quickly.

Most runners store enough glycogen for about 30 kilometres and then when supplies are low, the body must burn stored fat for energy which burns slowly, creating dramatic fatigue which is described as hitting the wall.

Energy gels or bars usually contain certain amounts of sodium and potassium but can also contain caffeine which helps reduce or avoid the effects as they are digested easily.

Biltoft made the decision to seek out new sights just on the strength of his feet and the courage of his lungs.

“I did a couple of marathons in my 20s about 25 years ago and I remember the pain,” he said.

“Your body begs you to stop and it doesn’t matter how slow your speed is, it is irrelevant.

“I usually do half-marathons and I have done a couple of 10 kilometre runs in the past five or six years. I usually do the Mullumbimby to Brunswick Run every year. The aim is to finish is the first challenge and the time is secondary.”

Biltoft trains with fellow clubman Ross McLennan and Lionel McLoy every Saturday.

Other Volley members who are set to compete in the 42 kilometre run are Neil Gibbons, Matt Cupit and Steve Walters.

The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is scheduled to start at 7.10am on Sunday at Southport near the Australia Fair Shopping Centre.

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