By Greg Gibson
The scene would resemble something out of a war; the darkness of night split by the pierce of torchlights that dance up and down to the rhythm of running feet. Adrenaline-filled bodies each set for a monumental task, bodies to be exerted to the limit. For at least one of these combatants, the comparison to war would no doubt cause discomfort, as there was no conflict, no danger caused by anyone other than themselves. There were battles, however, make no mistake, but they were to be fought within, not without. This eerie, unusual scene was taking place in peaceful rural northern Victoria with the hustling feet belonging to dedicated amateur runners.
It was 2am on the 25th of October 2015 in Wangaratta, and for Marcus Volz and his fellow runners, the 100km Ned Kelly Chase had begun. With the race underway, great stretches of track lay ahead, along with the question that must be part of the attraction for each competitor in any ultra-marathon: will I finish?
To even contemplate participating in such an event, one must be supremely fit, so in that context, that question is a fascinating one. The answer to it will no doubt involve what unfolds ahead, but must always be linked with what’s come before, and for Marcus, the race was three and a half years in the making.