Ultramarathon runner smashes record by FIVE hours after running across Australia’s 230-km Larapinta Trail
A Polish runner has stormed into the history books after becoming the fastest man to run unsupported across Australia’s 230-km Larapinta Trail.
Ultramarathoner Piotr Babis smashed the previous 2018 record of 58 hours and 48 minutes by five hours after completing the grueling run in an astonishing 53 hours and 50 minutes during his first ever attempt at the cross-country challenge in northern Australia.
The delighted 33-year-old said: “When I started out there was a point, I thought I can go a little bit faster than that [the record].
“But then you get into those slower sections, and I actually started questioning if I can go on below 58 hours, but I got a second wind and finished strong.”
An experienced athlete who has run all over the world, this was Babis’ first unsupported run, meaning he had to be self-sufficient and carry his own safety devices, food and water.
Starting on the evening of August 17th at 5:31PM, he calculated that he needed 17,000 calories to last for two-and-a-half days, which included jellybeans, nuts, and pre-cooked fried eggs.
Born in Mazowsze and Warsaw-educated, Babis who now works in Tasmania as a hiking guide said one of the most difficult parts of the run was sleep, as he only managed to get around 5 minutes in two days.
With the freezing cold nights and blazing hot days, the lack of sleep soon brought on hallucinations.
He said: "There was this big chunk of wood or branch which looked like a witch.
"It really scared me at first.
"I only had a sleep after the second sunrise at Standley Chasm.
"I just lay down on the dirt trail and had a beautiful five-minute nap, which was rejuvenating."
Just before 11pm, nearly 54 hours after starting the grueling 230-kilometre run, Babis was met at an old telegraph station near Alice Springs by 10 people, including former record-holder Simon Duke who had brought a wheelbarrow in case Babis couldn’t walk to the car.
Babis said: "I got home and went to bed, woke up six hours later and went to work.
"I went back on the Larapinta Trail for a 60 kilometer, six-day hiking tour."