Runners aim for a baggage start weight of “the golden 6kg”, but usually only the professional runners manage this. Dr Upsdell started at 9.8kg and she met one man with a whopping 20kg pack.
To keep the weight down, most of her food was freeze dried, supplemented with beef jerky, chips, salt tablets, sports powders, emergency jellybeans, and muesli bars.
Everyone on the race goes through their mental and physical ups and downs, she says. Her plantar fasciitis was so bad on the first day, she wasn’t sure she would finish. It’s a game of trying to manage yourself, keeping the balance of salt and hydration right, and pushing through nausea and self-doubt, she says. But overcoming these obstacles and coming out on the other side is an incredible feeling.
She would like to be a race volunteer, as her husband was this year, and learn more about musculoskeletal medicine in an endurance situation in the future.
Dr Upsdell brushes aside the difficulties but is loquacious in her praise.
From pushing yourself to physical and mental limits, the camaraderie, meeting people challenging themselves from all around the world, the incredible mental and physical space you enter trying to complete one of these, it’s such an amazing experience.
“I feel super humbled and grateful for having the chance to do this kind of event,” she says.