Kylie Salm has run into the history books by setting the fastest known time on the 659 km Australian Alps Walking Track, along with two friends.
Kylie and Phil Robinson from Lorne and John Riley from Melbourne knocked nine hours off the record and made an impressive time of 11 days and nine hours.
A well-known face in Wauchope, Kylie works at the swimming pool and has always loved swimming and running. The Byabarra mother-of-two thinks nothing of lacing up her trainers and running to Comboyne via Swans Crossing and back.
"Sometimes I look at my watch and realise I've been running for six hours and that its time to go home," she said.
The Alps challenge was a big one, but this year, she was more than ready to walk and run along the designated walking track, taking in various national parks.
"A lot of the sections are very hard to get to, and it's not a maintained walking track. You have to use your compass and GPS and maps. Normally it takes most hikers 42 days to walk it; we did it in 11 days and nine hours," said Kylie.
"It was very emotional when we finished. My feet didn't have much skin left on them. They were very painful.
"We were on our feet for up to 17 hours a day in very rough terrain, sometimes going through water. You can't just stop and change shoes and socks," said Kylie who wore the same special trainers for the whole event.
The trip was far from luxurious. Every night, Kylie jumped into a bivvy bag and a sleeping bag wherever they were. There were two huts along the way, but no showers, and very few toilets.
The trio had tried to do it the Alps challenge last year and only got to Thredbo before they got sick.
This year, they were carrying packs weighing nine kilos each, and they ran the flats and fast-walked up and down hills. Before they started, they did food and water drops along the route, and preparation was a key to their success.
Now, Kylie is back to her job at Wauchope pool, but she is dreaming of new challenges.
"It gets to you. You want to see if you're able for it. We were all quite good fitness-wise, and mentally, Phil and John were a great support. We gelled really well. We want to do a few more treks and find some other fastest known times to beat in places like Tasmania," she said.
Her sons, aged nine and seven, love the stories when their Mum comes back, and they enjoy being able to go to school and tell their friends about Kylie's achievements.
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