Sport

TV turned Jaidyn’s life into an ultra existence

By Brayden May

WATCHING TV isn’t meant to be good for your health — but Jaidyn Shenfield proved it can be.

After seeing an ultra-trail running race on TV, Shenfield was immediately hooked and needed to give it a go.

Last month, the 21-year-old travelled to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains to compete in the Ultra-Trail Australia 50.

Despite entering with a fitness base developed from a pre-season with Echuca Football Club — combined with extra stair climbs after training — Shenfield completed the 50km course in 9.13:58.

‘‘Crossing the line was one of the best feelings I’ve had,’’ he said.

‘‘Being able to push my body to the limit gave me a tremendous feeling.

‘‘I took about a week and a half to recover from exhaustion.

‘‘It was definitely the hardest activity I’ve ever done.’’

During the race, elevation can rise as high as 1000m — while competitors must also combat approximately 8000 stairs.

While it may sound like a daunting task running uphill, Shenfield believes the 5km stretch of downhill slopes was the toughest challenge he faced.

‘‘I was just focused on getting one foot in front of the other,’’ he said.

‘‘The rough track make it difficult on your ankles and joints.

‘‘Trying to maintain a decent speed going downhill in those conditions was certainly tougher than I expected.’’

When the going did get tough, Shenfield found himself easily distracted as he took in the surrounds — while his fellow competitors continued to offer words of support.

‘‘In tough conditions, you’re lucky to be surrounded by such natural beauty and terrific people,’’ he said.

‘‘Every participant was willing one another to the finish line.

Despite the toll the gruelling event took on Shenfield, he is already planning to return in 2020 — stepping up to the 100km event.

‘‘I want to push my body even further,’’ he said.

‘‘The road ahead is going to be tough but I’ve proven myself wrong before.’’