Piotr Babis loves a challenge, even if it means running against the freezing wind and wading through waist-deep snow.
- Long-distance runner Piotr Babis goes up and down Mount Cradle 10 times in a row
- His challenge was to match the rise of Mount Everest
- Babis says weather conditions during the race were the worst he had ever seen on the mountain
The Polish long-distance runner, who has lived in Tasmania for over two years, is known for his breathtaking physical feats, such as running twice the length of the Overland Track.
And his latest test of endurance and mental endurance is epic.
Dubbed his “Cradle to Everest” challenge, Babis completed 10 laps of the top-to-bottom race on the summit of Cradle Mountain in freezing winter conditions.
“When I finished round five I knew I was going to get there, but rounds seven and eight I was really tired and the end was still a long way off,” he said.
“I was obviously exhausted and the feeling of accomplishment didn’t really touch me at first.
“After that, I just wanted to go to the car, have a hot shower and something hot to eat.”
The cradle challenge
Babis, who has spent over a year living and working at Cradle Mountain, says the challenge was imagined after running up and down the mountain peak with a friend.
“The elevation gain on my watch was 849 meters, or one tenth of Mount Everest,” he said.
This is how the “Cradle to Everest” challenge was born: 10 circuits, 102 kilometers and 9,200 vertical meters.
“Cradle Mountain is a very special place for me.
The worst possible conditions
After pondering the challenge in his head for a few months, Babis knew it was almost time to go.
The weather at Cradle Mountain in July had been terrible. Babis said it rained and snowed every day for two weeks.
“I decided to do it at the last minute after postponing it several times [due to the weather],” he said.
So last Sunday at 8:00 a.m. it started and finished 32 hours later at 4:00 p.m. the next day.
“The first lap I did I was worried because it was very windy.
“When I came back down I couldn’t see the trail. The snow was waist deep.
He did the first four laps in 10 hours – the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service estimates it would take someone eight hours to complete the summit once.
“I had to take breaks to slow down the average, but it took me about three hours up and down,” Babis said.
And when the sun went down, that posed another challenge.
“The last lap before sunset I had to clear all the marker posts of a very thick layer of ice. Luckily it worked so I could see the posts and knew where I was going,” did he declare.
“After the first night lap, the wind calmed down a bit so it was pretty nice and there was no one around.”
The time of a spell
After completing his Everest challenge, Babis rested for a bit before returning home to Strahan.
“There was no celebration – I just had to make sure I felt comfortable again.
“I went back to the hotel and had a very long hot shower and as much food as I could and fell asleep.”
But he’s not the type to rest too long.
“I have another project in mind that I thought would be in November, but I could postpone it,” he said.
He also has a number of ultra-racing races to run during the rest of the year.