There’s no stopping Terry Diamond.
Despite turning 60 this year, Diamond is showing little sign of letting up and recently completed the North Face 100, a grueling 100km ultra-marathon through Blue Mountain trails.
The numbers alone are terrifying: it’s by far the longest off-road run in Australia, featured more than 4300 metres of accumulated climbing, and took Diamond 17 hours and 55 minutes to finish.
“The young guys do it in 10 hours, but they’re prepared to jump from rock to rock,” Diamond told The AJN.
“At 60 I’m a little bit more cautious.”
Diamond, who is a endocrinologist based in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, boasts a history of endurance feats.
He did all four of Australia’s major marathons last year, has previously tackled the 90-km Comrades in South Africa, and, most famously in 2009, ran seven marathons in seven days to raise money for osteoporosis sufferers.
But the North Face 100’s rocky paths and rough-hewn stairs presented a new challenge for Diamond.
“Trail running is a shock to the system; so incredibly difficult and completely different to road running,” Diamond said. “Whatever time you get on the road, you can double that in the bush. It’s actually a bit gentler on the body, because in road running you’re using the same muscles all the time.”
Winding through the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains and featuring breathtaking views, Diamond maintains he never considered dropping out of the race that 20 per cent of participants didn’t finish.
“It’s a mind game,” he said. “Doubts go through your head at nine o’clock at night when you’ve been running for more than 12 hours and it’s two degrees and you’ve got another huge climb ahead of you.
“But I think I planned the race well and I was really strong at the end.”
With the event held on a Saturday, Diamond, an observant Jew, walked to the starting line and said he used various rest stops for Sabbath requirements, including the morning prayer and Kiddush, which also gave him time to enjoy the scenery.
“You’re standing at the top of the Blue Mountains thinking ‘this is beautiful’, but then you’ve got to get to the bottom and come up again so it’s hard work.”
Pictured: The spectacular Blue Mountains trail.