Preparing for a 100 mile race when your regular training ground is on fire has been an added challenge for Brendan Davies, but he's taken it all in his stride.
The Woodford runner has entered the Tarawera 100 Mile Ultra Marathon in New Zealand on February 8, completing a lot of his long training runs in Sydney.
"The bushfires were a terrible time and disheartening. In times of crisis it's good to keep your life as normal as possible," the 43 year old said.
He's been training in the Marramarra National Park in the Hawkesbury, the Heathcote pipeline trail, and around Dural, Berowra Waters and Hornsby.
One of his longest runs was the newly opened 80km Bondi to Manly Walk, which he completed in just over 8 hours.
"It's a great track to showcase Sydney harbour," Davies said.
"I've been trying to get trail body ready and get the body tough enough to get the body through 100 miles."
The Tarawera race, based around Rotorua on New Zealand's north island, is a combination of trails and forestry roads with some sealed roads, through beautiful, lush forest.
"It's a lot of single track and a fast course. I prefer that to technical, gnarly courses," Davies said. He expects to complete the race in 16 hours.
"Endurance is my biggest strength in these types of races."
Running 100 miles is about being mentally tough as well as physically tough, but doesn't require the same intensity of training - in particular speed work - as a 100km race, he said.
After the 100 miler he'll be training specifically for the 100km Ultra Trail Australia in the Blue Mountains in May.
"After this one I will have a really good base," Davies said.
Could 2020 see Davies take the UTA 100km honours for a third time?
"There's not many 43 year olds who win. It's so tough now. I just do my best. It keeps me going and fit," Davies said.