Trent Sattler embarks on grueling challenge at Ultraman China

FOCUSED: Trent Sattler will compete in the Ultraman in Noosa this month. IT’S about 3am and Trent Sattler is running.

The suburbs are silent, but as Sattler heads in closer to the inner-city there’s that unmistakable buzz.

That thump of music, the screeching of the intoxicated masses, who fall out of taxis, yell on street corners and beg bouncers to be let in.

But unlike almost everyone else up at this hour, Sattler is stone-cold sober.

And focused.

It’s still too early to head through the heart of the city, so Sattler hugs the outskirts.

But he’s not the only one running.

On Darby Street he sees a man, completely starkers save for a pair of shoes and socks, going for a run.

“At first I thought it was a dare,” Sattler says.

“But then I saw him over at Honeysuckle half an hour later and then coming back along Union Street half an hour after that so he was clearly going for an hour-long naked jog.”

You can see some bizarre sights in Newcastle at 3am, or even 1.30am, which was when Sattler first set out.

But when you’re as “time poor” as Sattler is, juggling his job as a plumber, TAFE, renovating a house and training for the biggest physical challenge of his life, then you need to find a few hours wherever you can.

For Sattler that has meant several very early starts as he looks to prepare, both physically and mentally, for the Ultraman event,a three-day, 515 kilometre endurance race held at Noosa this month.

Sattler, 30, is one of only 50 competitors from around the world who have been granted entry.

He had to submit somewhat of an athletic resume, a list of the Ironmans he’s competed in and he’s best time.

And then the word came back that he was successful.

That was nine months ago.

Since then he’s been training, with the help of his swim coach Ty Martin and Boyd Conrick, a former professional triathlete, who has helped him with the bike and run legs.

As the title suggests, an Ultraman is a lot tougher than a regularIronman.

On day one, instead of a 3.8km swim, Sattler will plunge into the ocean on the Sunshine Coast and swim 10km.

Then he’ll get out and ride 140km on the roadfrom Noosa out to near Gympie before turning around and coming back.

Then he gets a reprieve; some sleep.

Day two, he’s back on the bike and cycling for more than 280km around the Sunshine Coast region, including climbing to an elevation of about 244 metres.

Then sleep.

Day three is probably going to suck because after all that swimming and riding (420km all up) Sattler and the other competitors will have to run a double marathon (85km).

Each stage must be completed within 12 hours or less, Race Director, Tony Horton, says.

Sounds crazy, but Sattler doesn’t think so.

“I enjoy it so it doesn’t seem crazy to me,” Sattler says.

“It’s almost like going for a surf.

“I enjoy it, it’s not a chore as such, its a source of enjoyment in a sense.

”I suppose if you sort of slowly build up and cover certain distances in training, you’remaking it sound normal in your own mind.

“It’s not as daunting as it was nine months ago when I first gained entry to know now that we’ve done it in training and put all the pieces in place to hopefully get to the end unscathed.”

Sattler’s talking about how, about a month ago, he completed about a 90 per cent simulation of the Ultraman here in Newcastle.

It was three days of swimming in a pool, running and riding silently through Newcastle in the dead of night,into Nobbys and out to Redhead on the Fernleigh Track and back.

When talking to Sattler, we become curious about what makes him want to keep pushing himself.

There are plenty of people content with doing the 5km Newy parkrun every week, or the City2Surf once a year, so what makes him want to be one of those people who do what the rest of us think is utter madness.

“I did my knee three times when I was playing rugby and I had three knee reconstructions,” Sattler says.

“I said to the surgeon how am I going to stop doing my knee and he basically said start riding and swimming.

“So I figured I would take up triathlon.

“Then it just grew from small races at Maitland and half-Ironman eventsto Ironmans and eventually an Ultraman.

“But it was just once I finished a race and got through it I sort of picked a goal that was slightly tougher and focused on finishing that.

“So its been a slow process, but I’ve picked a race that’s longer each time and trained up towards it and eventually come to this one.

“Idon’t know what I’ll pick next.”

The Ultraman is on May 13 to 15 and Sattler will have his family and his wife, Sally, up at Noosa to support him.

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