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Hard at it . . . Waimate runner Scott Wilson taking part in the Australian bushfire Relief Run last month as part of his training for the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN

Scott Wilson had been looking for a challenge.

For someone who is “not much of a runner”, he has definitely found one in the 323km Alps 2 Ocean Ultra marathon.

Mr Wilson is following in the footsteps of his wife, Lesley, who took part in the event last year.

She bought him his entry as a Christmas present.

“I was talking to the physio about wanting a destruction test – I’m 48 years old and for the next 50 years I need the discipline of training and nutrition to see me through,” he said.

“I think it was exactly what I was needing, to be honest.”

Mr Wilson and his wife are originally from Fife, in Scotland, but now live in Waimate.

In the past, he had made it through events he had signed up for with a good base level of fitness, but the idea of a “destruction test” was to force him to prepare properly.

“Historically, I’ve just turned up, and that is becoming harder as you get a bit older,” he said.

“Maybe that will spur me on to be a bit more regular and disciplined like my wife, because she is the exact opposite.”

He had completed two marathons before but this would be his biggest endurance test yet, he said.

Given two months to prepare, he had a bad start to his training when he was struck down with food poisoning over the Christmas break.

“I’ve run 80km in the whole of January, so you can see the challenge I’ve got.”

But, as a local, he is familiar with the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail and he has a clear game plan for the run.

“It’s not about time, it’s just about walking when you have to and getting from the start to the finish.

“I’ve just got to get past that big stage, making sure that I look up, take some photos and look at the scenery, I think that takes your mind off it.

“You couldn’t do it in a better part of the world could you?

“It’s absolutely stunning.”

He also has the support and guidance of his wife, who competed in the stage race last year.

“She’s been awesome – she is my nutritionist, my trainer, my run co-ordinator, my gear purchaser.”

And giving him extra motivation was the memory of his son Charlie, who died at 10 weeks old in 2015 from a congenital heart defect.

His death had given Mr and Mrs Wilson the push to get themselves into running.

“We always run with Charlie in our hearts,” he said.

“When you have that kind of motivation in your corner, it helps a lot.”