UPDATE (Monday afternoon): Bargara ultraman Mat Grills has completed a gruelling double-marathon 84km run in 9:39:43.
Mat crossed the Ultraman Australia finish line at Noosa in 27th position.
His daughters joined him for the final triumphant metres.
Asked by Bundaberg Now on Saturday after the first leg about his goals for the event, Matt said “Finish!”.
He's achieved that in the top 30 among elite competition, much to the delight of his family, support team and friends.
Posting on Ultraman Australia Facebook, Libby Matapo-Bremner said it was a phenomenal effort.
“What an inspiration and legend you are! Time for some well earned rest and celebrations!” she wrote.
“What an amazing entertaining support crew you had too. It was just fabulous to watch your journey as you pushed through all barriers … truly you are a super hero (kids words)! What an awesome achievement; tears watching you come over that line, just sensational strength and determination and never-give-up attitude. You are GOLD.”
Top 30 finish after 281km bike ride
UPDATE (Sunday afternoon): Bargara ultraman Mat Grills finished the gruelling 281km bike ride at Noosa today in the top 30 to stay in touch with the leaders.
It was a fantastic effort by Mat whose strongest leg is running, which he faces at Ultraman Australia tomorrow with a 84km double marathon.
His time today was 10 hours and five minutes.
Strong opening day performance
UPDATE (Saturday afternoon): Bargara endurance athlete Mat Grills is ranked 24th after a strong performance on day one of the Ultraman Australia event at Noosa.
Renowned for his long-distance running, Mat impressed observers with his effort today, which involved a 10km swim and 140km bike ride.
“It's a great performance when you consider he's never done a half-Ironman and he's never done an Ironman,” commentators said as Mat crossed the line in 8 hours, 53 minutes and 41 seconds.
“He's certainly an amazing runner but his swim today was 3:27.33 and the bike ride was 5:26.08.
“It's a huge performance from the man who has a great team.”
Tomorrow's leg involves a 281km bike ride while the competition concludes on Monday with a double-marathon 84.3km run.
Mat will be hoping to stay in touch with the leaders to come home fast in his favourite discipline.
Epic journey for Bargara ultraman
EARLIER: Bargara cafe owner ultraman Mat Grills is undertaking an epic journey as he swims, cycles and runs hundreds of kilometres over three days.
Mat is competing in the Ultraman Australia event at Noosa, which starts Saturday morning with a 10km swim followed by a 140km bike ride.
On Sunday, competitors will cycle 281km before finishing on Monday with a double-marathon run of 84.3km.
Mat, 36, owns and operates The Journey cafe in Bargara with his wife Tegan and they have two daughters.
Born and bred in Bundaberg, Mat is known as the Tattoo Runner for his distinctive body art. He’s also a vegan, proving that non-meat eaters have the energy for any physical task.
He’s had a varied career including stints in the music industry and Queensland Police Service before opening The Journey in late 2016 after overcoming brain surgery for a tumour in 2009.
His Dad previously had prostate cancer and 10 years ago they each ran 500km between Bundaberg and Brisbane in a fundraiser called Run Man Run.
An ultramarathon is any distance longer than a standard 42.2km marathon and Mat has completed more than 30, running up to 320km in a single event.
“My addiction to long-distance running has continued to flourish and the lure of seeing how far I can go continues to intrigue me,” he said.
“I also have a fascination with the body’s movement and experimenting with different footwear.
“I have massive goals for my running and desire to continue to push my body’s boundaries.
“I have many runs I dream of taking part in, both in Australia and overseas. The continual search and striving for the limits of my endurance continues.”
Ultraman Australia is a three-day, 515km annual endurance race which starts and finishes at Noosa Beach.
It’s divided into four stages over three days, and each day has a 12 hour cut-off.
“Your training will take you places you’ve never been,” race director Tony Horton tells competitors.
“The three day event – the distances – will test your physical and mental endurance.”
When he’s not training for ultramarathons, Mat is happy serving customers in his café and learning more about nutrition.
“I love the lifestyle at Bargara, being close to the beach,” he said.
“They’re lovely people here, really interesting. It’s a pleasure coming to work each day and having social interaction.”
Bargara ultraman Mat Grills is sponsored by Greensill Farming Group.
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