Perth ultramarathon runner Erika Lori has carved out a new record on the Bibbulmun Track, completing the gruelling 1000km trail in fewer than 11 days.
The 32-year-old set off from Albany on October 15 and arrived in Kalamunda just before midnight 10 days and 19 hours later, smashing the 11 days and seven hours record set by Perth exercise physiologist Shane Johnstone in 2018.
Lori has competed in ultramarathons across the globe for the past decade, and said this was her longest challenge yet.
Despite a sunny start in Albany she faced a “bit of everything on the trail”, wading through knee-deep floodwater, climbing over and under fallen trees, and running through downpours.
With the support of her family and friends and endurance coach Corrie Johnstone, Lori fought on to run 80-110km each day.
“It was amazing, I couldn’t believe it. It was just one heck of a journey,” she said.
“The last couple of days were a bit longer, so I did over 100km for the last two days.
“I knew the hills around Kalamunda because I run around there a lot, so I knew that they were going to be tricky with 900-plus kilometres in the legs.
“So it was a bit tough and I finished just before midnight on the Monday. But it was amazing because I had my family and lots of friends and support crew out there hiking the last bits in the dark with me.”
It took a toll on her body, with Lori visiting the emergency department the day after completing the run with swelling in her face and legs.
Lori said when the going got tough she made sure to focus on the beautiful landscapes she was running through.
“Every time I thought that it was getting a little bit tough I just either slowed down and looked around and reminded myself that I had chosen to be out there and it was my adventure,” she said.
“I knew that at the time it usually feels like it’s hard but then it usually passes and gets easier again … it was kind of coming back to the fact that I was out there to enjoy myself.
“It was a great trip, a good adventure, and I highly recommend it to everyone.”
Lori’s run raised about $5000 for the Blue Tree Project, an organisation which aims to spark conversations around mental health.