Cairns ultrarunner Mike Le Roux primed for high altitude lung buster
CAIRNS ultrarunner Mike Le Roux is confident his Colorado training base has prepared his lungs for the oxygen-thin altitudes of this weekend's Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run in the US.
The race (160km) is the third event of the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, which Le Roux leads by 24 minutes.
The 36-year-old has been based in Pagosa Springs at an altitude of 7500ft in recent weeks to train for the Leadville course, which peaks at 12,600ft.
Le Roux, who finished third in the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run last month, feels he has done everything possible to be ready.
"Hopefully, I will have acclimatised to a certain extent," he said. "Although in reality everyone is going to suffer at this height. Just some a little less.
"The main thing is going to be to maintain a smart pacing strategy.
"At this height you don’t recover easily and over 160km it tends to become exponentially worse."
A bad run could prove disastrous for Le Roux’s Grand Slam hopes, with US athletes Paul Terranova and
Jay Smithberger well within striking distance.
"I’m only 24 minutes ahead of my nearest competitor and with 200 miles to go that is considered virtually equal," Le Roux said.
"Having said that, I’m going out to race my own race.
"I don’t think about the Grand Slam or Leadville. I purely focus on the first aid station and the next one.
"The race is so long and hard that you have to get to the back end before you can really start making decisions on racing or not. A mistake too early can cost valuable time at the end."
Le Roux left Cairns in June to compete in the Grand Slam and won’t return to Australia until after the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run on September 7. It’s a long time to be away from home, but Le Roux has been boosted by the arrival of wife Kirsten in the US this week.
"I haven’t seen her for more than seven weeks," Le Roux said. "Given that Kirsten has supported me in most of the races I have done to date, the last seven weeks have been a bit empty."
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Grand Slam leader: Cairns’ ultrarunner Mike Le Roux is in a confident mood for the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run in the US this weekend.