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The closest Oamaru woman Rhiannon McLean has come to taking part in any kind of long-distance run is a 100km walk she did a couple of years ago – quite different from what she will tackle next year.

McLean is one of three people who has won sponsored entry into the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra, a 300km run from Aoraki Mt Cook to Oamaru over seven days in February and early March.

Her entry was confirmed when she finished first in an “amazing race”, organised by Alps 2 Ocean director Mike Sandri, out of three nominated to compete for a team made up of members from the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre.

McLean, co-ordinator at Sport Waitaki, said she was encouraged to throw her hat in the ring by recreation centre manager Di Talanoa, and said she looked forward to lining up on the start line among the more than 120 confirmed entrants.

“I think it’s going to be amazing . . . I’ve never done the A2O, so I’m looking forward to doing the track from Mt Cook to Oamaru. I think it’s going to be quite a cool, almost spiritual adventure because Oamaru is my home town.”

McLean has never competed in an event even close to the ultra – the closest being a 100km fundraising walk for Oxfam a couple of years ago.

“I was in so much pain after that.”

She is already in training, and will increase her workload as the Ultra nears.

“At the moment, my exercise regime is going for a couple of 5km to 10km runs a week. In the next six months, I will build up to 20km, and in the six months after that, I’ll start doing ultra marathon training.”

McLean will also start a blog named “Accidentally Active” to document her progress.