Gladstone man the fastest runner on red dirt
GLADSTONE engineer Andrew Hopkinson was the fastest Australian on red dirt last weekend.
He was surprised to beat all the other Australians at the Australian Outback Marathon, running the 42km race in 3 hours and 17 minutes.
"I smashed it, which I was very surprised about," he said.
"All but two kilometres of the race is on red dirt which is soft under foot, up and down red sand dunes."
After running the Melbourne Marathon twice, he said the best part about the Outback Marathon was the scenery.
"At the start everyone is all friendly, excited and ready to go. Then the crowd starts to thin out," he said.
"In the end I finished one minute behind the person in front of me and the next person was two minutes behind me. I was on my own for a long part of the race.
"Every 3km there is a drink station where they give you encouragement and a quick chat. But mostly you're running by yourself with the back drop of Uluru."
He runs marathons to push the boundaries of what people thought was possible.
"I like doing what people say I can't do," he said.
"The hard part of the marathon is normally 30-35km, that's when you fight your mental demons.
"The last five you know you're going to finish.
"With 10-15km left your body is aching and you still have an hour of running to go."
When Hopkinson finished he sat down to rest and drink water when an Asian competitor came over and asked to get a photo with him.
"They announced I was the first Australian to finish, so the Japanese man must've wanted a selfie with me."
Hopkinson trains with 3D Coaching in Gladstone and has been running 50-60km a week since Christmas.
"The longest runs were 32-34km but it's a lot of road running," he said.
"It takes you so long to recover from a real marathon, to do it in training would be worse for you."
When he ran he wore a Superman shirt his wife Rach bought him.
"She has been great support through this whole thing. She did the half marathon too," he said.
"She ran the whole 21km which was her goal. She was happy but doesn't want me to talk her into doing any more running."
But Hopkinson might just try and get Rach to join him again in October when he competes in the Melbourne Marathon for a third time.