SIMON Austin and Ross McPhee are preparing to push their bodies to the absolute limit.
The Bendigo athletes are in training for the epic Great Southern Endurance Run, to be staged November 17-19.
They will run 181 kilometres through the Alpine National Park from Mount Buller to Bright.
Their adventure will include 10,058 metres of ascent and 11,338m of descent.
The race is billed as one of the “most physical challenging events in the world” and is being staged for the first time.
McPhee, a senior constable with Bendigo police, said the run needed to be completed within 53 hours.
“The winners would be expected to do it in somewhere around 30 hours,” he said.
“(Organisers) would certainly be expecting there would be a number of runners who enter that don’t actually complete it.”
The runners say the preparation for a race like this is the culmination of years of marathons, ultra-marathons, half-marathons and other endurance events.
In recent months, Austin and McPhee have trained eight-to-12 hours per week – mostly on trails through Mount Alexander and Mount Macedon – often rising as early as 4am.
The duo is certainly no strangers to epic runs.
Earlier this year they competed in the 100km Ultra-Trail Australia event, through the Blue Mountains.
It was McPhee’s third attempt at the race and Austin’s first.
Austin, who is an air-conditioning mechanic by trade, said it would be the longest run either man had undertaken.
“Ross found out about the race, but it didn’t take much to twist my arm to get involved,” he said.
“Being the first (race), you ask yourself ‘who else would be able to do something like this or want to do it.’
“That’s certainly part of why this race appeals, being the first, but it’s certainly starting to feel a lot more daunting the closer we get to the race.”
Austin and McPhee will be required to carry plenty of gear on their Alpine adventure.
Mandatory items include two headlamps or torches (with back-up batteries), thermal pants and long shirt, waterproof jacket and pants, a 200 weight fleece, two litres of water, mobile phone, battery pack, snake bandage, maps, beanie, gloves and reflective vest.
“The purpose of that is if you do get injured or can’t run any further in the night, hopefully you have enough stuff to keep yourself going until someone else comes along,” McPhee said.
“Between check points can be four or five hours, with the longest being eight to 12 hours.”