Max - you are fairly new to the world of multisport and adventure. What was your background before you decided to get dirty?
My background in exercise of any sort was non-existent! I had a pretty stereotypical life wake-up call a while back when I realised I was almost 40 and overweight and way unfit, so I thought I’d best do something about it! I started with yoga which was great. A few years later a friend talked me into joining her at boot camp and my sister inspired me to try a couch to 5km running program. Next thing I knew I’d been talked into doing the Taste of Adventurethon on Maggie in 2015. It all escalated quite quickly from there! I’m about 20kg less than what I was and have a lot more carbon fibre and lycra in my life now!
You've had a massive year of adventure racing!!
Can you even remember all the events you have competed in? And if so ...GO!
Yeah the last 18 months have been somewhat busy. The Destination Adventure weekend at the beginning of last year started a pretty hectic ride! Adventurethon Magnetic Island Enduro in March. First ½ marathon distance trail run at Alligator Creek with Outer Limits in April. Zach Mack Adventure Challenge near Mackay in May (in a team with my inspirational friend Kim!). Adventurethon Townsville Ultra distance then Paluma Push Intermediate distance in July. Grin n Bear It Challenge at Atherton solo in August. Ona Mission at Mission Beach in September – long course as a pair with Kim again. A group of us hiked the Kokoda Track in September as well. There were a few of the NQ Paddle Series races throughout the year that I participated in including the round the Island paddle in October. Then there were no more competitions til late February this year when the Outer Limits trail run series started up again with the Castle Hill trail run. I ran the 30km+ Thorsborne trail on Hinchenbrook Island with a group of friends in a day in March. Adventurethon Maggie Ultra distance then Alligator creek trail run again in April. Zach Mack again with Kim and Ultra Trail Australia 50km Ultramarathon trail run in the Blue Mountains in May. Ross River Rush trail run and Spartan obstacle race in June. Adventurethon Townsville Ultra + a couple rogaining (orienteering) events including Townsville Tropical Orienteering Clubs Mingela 2 hour event and an 8 hour event up at Mareeba plus Paluma Push Comp course (first time I’ve had the horrible DNF (did not finish) letters after my name…) in July. Hells Bells 24 hour adventure race on the Sunshine Coast with my amazing team mate Laura! And finally the most recent event was Grin n Bear it again at the end of August (in a team this time).
You recently broke your wrist riding the Paluma Push . What happened?
I was doing the 70km Comp course and had a bit of a stack with an over the handle bars experience about 40km in. My wrist seemed functional when I dusted myself off so I kept going but after another 20km it wasn’t quite so functional anymore so I had to stop.
And then you went on to compete with Laura Dunstan at Hells Bells with it broken. How in Hells Bells did you do that? And can you tell what is involved in the race for those who don't know what Hells Bells is?
Hells Bells is an adventure race requiring teams of 2 or 4 to navigate to a series of about 35 set control points using maps and a compass utilising various disciplines. It included approximately 35km of running, 15km of kayaking and 107km on mountain bikes with a bit of a swim. We were only given the maps a couple hours before race start and had to work out how to get to where we had to go along the way and what equipment we needed to take with us in that time. We also had to pack 2 boxes with equipment including whatever clothing, food and water we would require. These were dropped off by the race organisers at set points where we transitioned from 1 discipline to another during the course of the race. So basically it’s a multisport race that requires teams to stick together and find their way with no knowledge of the course until just before it starts that they have to try to complete in under 24 hours!
I was determined that I was going to do Hells Bells. We’d put a lot of time and effort into training and learning to navigate and were both really excited (and a little scared and apprehensive….) about the event. Initial x-rays on my wrist didn’t show any fracture so I just strapped it up and went!
What ski do you paddle, bike do your ride and your trail shoe of choice?
I paddle an Epic V10L ultra spec surf ski, ride a Norco Revolver FS 9.1 and strap my feet into Saloman S-Lab Sense Ultra trail running shoes. I am open to the concept of sponsorship by anyone though!
Favourite moment at a DA event?
My favourite moment wasn’t swearing copiously whilst falling out of my fairly new surf ski while Clint Robinson was enjoying my discomfort during his paddling clinic earlier this year! However we did have a lot of fun doing the team races over in Horseshoe bay the next day. I think my favourite moment was probably the night ride we did on the first Destination Adventure weekend. That was the first time I’d ever ridden at night and even though it was just a relaxed bike ride out to West Point I just really loved it!
What does 2018 hold for you?
Next year I’d love to do more adventure races and of course I want to keep doing trail running, mountain biking, paddling and multisport events…. so many things to do!!! My most serious goal is probably Surf Coast Century 100km ultramarathon trail run in Victoria in September. I’d love to travel to more interstate and international adventure sport destinations and enjoy the amazing parts of the world in which we can indulge our athletic addictions!