Less than 24 hours after the world premiere of a stirring documentary that captured his first epic trail running race across the Blue Mountains in 2017, Winter Paralympian Michael Milton completed his second such race today.
In the Ultra-Trail Australia 22km race from Wentworth Falls to Katoomba, the one-legged alpine skiing gold medallist came in 1715th out of a field of more than 2000 runners.
He completed the race in 4 hours 58 minutes 55 seconds with plenty of daylight left. It was a different story to last year when he completed the 50km UTA race in darkness with a time of more than 12 hours.
Milton was philosophical of his UTA22 effort after racing across the rugged terrain at an average speed of 4.31km/h using prototype light-weight carbon racing crutches he has helped develop and ultimately hopes to commercialise to make it easier for other disabled athletes to go trail running.
The 45-year-old said his experience had taught him some fresh UTA wisdom: “Don’t be an idiot in the first half [of the race], don’t be a wimp in the second half, and if you are an idiot in the first half then grow balls of steel.”
Milton said he was “naturally an idiot” who had to grow balls of steel after going out too hard on the steep downhill of the first half. He also admitted to “a little bit of underprepared idiotness” that contributed to “a little bit of suffering at the end”.
“My performance was not about my performance, it was about finishing and about having fun and helping create a good atmosphere,” Milton said.
He certainly contributed to the atmosphere with the massive roar the crowd gave as he crossed the finish line at Scenic World. The documentary is aptly titled Best Foot Forward.