DUDLEY’S Grant Maughan had hundreds of American’s shaking their heads and wondering ‘‘who the heck is this Aussie guy’’ this week after he finished second in the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 217 kilometre endurance race across Death Valley in California.
Maughan, a 49-year-old professional sea captain, was second across the line in a field of 96 starters in the time of 24 hours, 53 minutes and 57 seconds.
The winner Portugal’s Carlos Alberto Gomes De Sá, 39, finished about 15 minutes earlier.
He described the feat – achieved in 46 degree heat – as the crown in his endurance career.
‘‘It was incredibly hard,’’ he said.
‘‘The first 42 miles (67 kilometres) are the hottest down below sea level in Death Valley.
‘‘If you make it through that then its a 5000 foot (1.5 kilometres) climb, then 4000 feet (1.2 kilometres) down into the next valley then another 5000 foot (1.5 kilometres) climb.
‘‘Then a long 30 mile (48 kilometres) leg to Lone Pine before the last really brutal 5000 foot (1.5 kilometres) climb to the finish.
‘‘The finish was epic with the top three spots on the the last mountain all close.
‘‘I managed to grind it out and moved into second going up then closed on the winner all the way to the end.
‘‘It was definitely the pinnacle of my endurance journey so far but the best part was everyone asking ‘‘who the heck is this Aussie guy’’.
Mr Maughan, who used this year’s Boston Marathon as a warm-up event, will head to Colorado in three weeks to attempt the Leadville Trail 100 run.
The event starts at higher than 10,000 feet (3048 metres) above sea level, finishes at 14,000 feet (4267 metres) and spans 100 miles (160 kilometres).
ENDURANCE: Grant Maughan is competing in several US ultramarathons.