Queenslander Mick Thwaites has a knack for making a name for himself when it comes to ultra running, but you wouldn’t have guessed that the 44-year-old from Banyo only started the sport back in 2012 as a means to get more fit and lose weight.
“Running for me also acted as a medicine for mental and physical illness,” he reveals.
“And then as I progressed from my first half marathon through to marathon distance, I found that the challenge of seeing how far I could go and push myself was actually feeding a desire.
“I was not only becoming more fit, but I’d found that I had a good engine for endurance so it was natural for me to progress through to ultra distances of 50k, 100k, 100mi and then the 24hr races.”
Thwaites has been a part of the last two 24hr World Championship teams and successfully managed himself a PB of 247.9kms. His qualification for the 24hr Asia & Oceania Championships Australian team was due to his 24hr distance of 228kms achieved at the 2017 Canberra 48hr race.
While Thwaites’ interest in the 24-hour distance stems from a mindset of pure running for both the body and the mind, his secret to maintaining good mileage for a 24-hour race is speed work.
“My current training is not far from a typical marathon program, with a bit of variety on my long runs,” he reveals.
“Speed work is still a key to these events, as well as toughening up the body for constant loops on a track.”
Having much experience being on Australian teams in the past, Thwaites is still modest when it comes to getting that phone call that he’s made the cut.
“It’s always humbling and exciting to represent your country and fellow runners,” he says.
“I was very pleased to be selected as a part of this particular team because the depth of runners and their qualifying distances are some of the highest ever.
“All I can say to the ultra community out there is never give up on your dreams or goals, and be patient.
“Only control what you can, and let the rest take care of itself.
“And always run happy.”
Thwaites will be racing alongside his Australian team mates at the 2018 IAU 24hr Asia and Oceania Championships in Chinese Taipei the weekend of December 1-2.
Pictured: Mick Thwaites at the 2018 EMU 6 Day race in Hungary, where he claimed first place following a successful 837.605kms. Photograph – Silvia Oszi/Supplied.