If you've ever wanted to check out Norseman, here are 10 facts to know about raceday in the Western Australian town.
1. 2500 athletes from around the world register each year in the lottery for a race start. Just 300 lucky people are chosen. Up to 50 will drop out prior to race day.
2. The race begins at 5am. T1 opens at 3am. A car ferry transports athletes out to the start and it leaves at 4am and waits for nobody. Athletes jump off the back of the ferry – a 20-metre drop into the icy cold Hardangerfjord (note the word ‘danger’ in Hardangerfjord – very appropriate). There is then a 100-metre swim to the deep-water start. (This is a true deep-water start with the bottom 450 metres below.)
3. There are no aid stations during the race. It is mandatory that you supply one official vehicle and person to assist you throughout the day. They can help you in transitions and out on the course. They must collect all your gear as you finish each leg.
4. It’s one of the only iron-distance races in the world that starts from point A and finishes 226 kilometres away at point B. Don’t like loops? Then this one is for you.
5. Throughout the bike and run legs you will climb 5000 vertical metres. Five major passes on the bike will test you, two of them involve 1300 metres of climbing. Expect single-digit temperatures for most of the day. The final ‘Road to Hell’ is a 30-kilometre descent on the bike that lives up to its name.
6. Ever wanted to do an uphill marathon that finishes on top of a big, scary, extinct volcano? Here’s your chance. The name Mt Gaustatoppen and ‘Zombie Hill’ will haunt your memories for days after.
7. From the 25-kilometre mark of the marathon you will climb from 200 to 1883 metres above sea level. The remaining five kilometres are virtually un-runnable as they take athletes over a slate-and-boulder-strewn track to the top.
8. Of the 250 starters, only the first 160 that make it to the 32.5-kilometre point of the marathon are allowed to continue up to the very top of the mountain. The remainder are turned early for an alternative full marathon finish, but this terminates at 1200 metres of altitude.
9. Just six Australians have earned either a black or white finisher’s shirt since the event’s inception. That total now stands at nine thanks to a further three Australians finishing this year’s Norseman.
10. It is billed as the toughest iron-distance event in the world, and after 19 hours of torturing myself, I am inclined to agree.