SYDNEY runner Andrew Hill made it a successful first attempt at Beach to Brother on Sunday when he conquered North Brother Mountain.
With sweat dripping off every part of his body and bordering on total exhaustion, Hill dragged himself up the mountain to cross the finish line first.
Hill admitted the 42-kilometre distance was his absolute limit in conditions he described as the toughest yet.
“I’ve done maybe 50 marathons before and I’ve never been so hot and dehydrated in my life,” he said.
“This one, given the conditions, 34 and a half degrees I was told up the top of the hill – I’ve never cramped as much and was about to pass out.
“Another kay I think I would have been out.”
Another kay I think I would have been out.
Hill completed the course in a time of four hours and 10 minutes – half an hour slower than last year’s winner.
He admitted he had kept a close eye on the weather forecast and was prepared for the temperature to soar.
Experiencing it, however, was something quite different.
Runners started just after 7am when the mercury nudged 30 degrees and it slowly crept into the mid-30s by the end.
“I don’t know if I was pushing myself to get it done quicker and before it got too hot or not,” Hill said.
“I was expecting it to be really hot and it took about three times as long as normal to get up the hill.
“Nothing compares to it … it was tough, plus some.”
Nothing compares to it … it was tough, plus some.
Hill said he carried the bare minimum weight on his shoulders throughout the course due to his small frame.
“I’m a sucker for not taking a backpack,” he said.
“I know all my mates do when I go training and they gave me the nickname of the camel because I don’t drink as much water as I should which was probably to my advantage today.
“I just brought the minimum 500ml water bottle and just filled that up at each station because any added weight I feel the difference.”
The main challenge Hill faced came right at the end as he prepared to go up the stairs to the top of North Brother.
It was the sting in the tail he wasn’t quite prepared for.
“The first 38 kay was alright because it was just along the beaches and trails; it wasn’t too steep and I was pacing myself,” he said.
“I’m normally pretty good at going up hills, but today I really struggled.
The finish is as hard as it gets; the stairs are relentless to get to the top.
“The finish is as hard as it gets; the stairs are relentless to get to the top.”
Hill felt Beach to Brother could be as successful as Sydney’s renowned Coastal Classic.
“It’s only 30 kay but is really popular and sells out with 800 people in days so I’m sure this one could be just as popular in due course,” he said.
“The reason I knew about this one is that I went on holiday to Port Macquarie the week after this race last year.
“I thought I’d make an effort to come back a year later and do it.”