Cairns resident and endurance athlete Mike Le Roux is aiming for the record books this year with his USA Grand Slam attempt, and leaves on the 16th June for three months in America.
Now, training full time as an endurance athlete, Mike has put aside his flippers, goggles and bicycle to concentrate on Ultra Trail Running. Last year Mike ran his first 100 mile events and in September he won the Glasshouse 100, the oldest and largest 100 miler in Australia. Mike broke the 2007 record by 59 minutes to win in a time of 15h38, finishing ahead of the record holder Dave Waugh, the defending title holder Dave Coombs and the Australian 100km Champion Dave Eadie.
Now ‘The Big Australian of Ultra-Running” will take on one of the world’s most gruelling challenges, in the 2012 Summer Racing Season in the U.S.A. where he will run 100 miles in four different states. No Australian has ever finished the Grand Slam of ultra-running before and Mike, with his unique and punishing training regime plans to be the first.
The “Slam” consists of officially finishing the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run and the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run within in a period of 11 consecutive weeks, all in the same year.
The first race in the Slam is the Western States 100 in California (it starts at Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe). The race entry works on a lottery system and is extremely difficult to get into. Every year only 2,000 qualifying spots are accepted and of that only 300 coveted lottery spots are awarded to race.
In 2012, although unsuccessful in the lottery Mike was awarded a ‘special consideration’ spot and will be the only Australian to compete in this year’s event. The fastest Australian time over the course is 20h11 and Mike is keen to come in under that time. “I’m not training to peak at Western States because I still have three events after that, but for me it is the most prestigious race and it would be fantastic to place well there and to earn the top Aussie time. It just can’t be at the cost of the rest of the Grand Slam. I’ll have to see how I go on the day”.
An added challenge is the fact that most of the racing is at altitude. Leadville for example the race starts at 9000ft. “Running at altitude is going to be tough for me as I do all my training in Cairns at sea level. I’ll have three weeks in Colorado before Leadville to hopefully acclimatise to the altitude but I have no doubt it will make the racing harder for me.”
To win ‘The Grand Slam of Ultra-running’ in the USA Mike will need to have the lowest cumulative time over four of the oldest and toughest 100 mile trail runs in the U.S.
“This next challenge of the Grand Slam will be the hardest I have taken on for a number of reasons, the altitude and elevation gain but mainly backing up so many 100 mile races in such a short space of time. I’m just hoping I recover and freshen up well in between each one”.
Asked who he admires as an athlete, Mike concludes anyone at all who is prepared to live out of their comfort zone and push the boundaries of what they’re capable of. “That’s living and I’d admire anyone who’s out there following their dreams”.
Mike Le Roux on Red Bluff
- Stoney Creek
Photo by extremephotography.com.au
by Kirsten Le Roux
For further information on Mike Le Roux visit www.mikeleroux.com.au
For more information on local trail runs go to www.roadrunners.org.au