The distance from Sydney, Australia, to Melbourne is dread inducing enough even to the heartiest of ultra-marathoners—and that’s before you throw in the fact that challenging hills populate the expanse.

Hailed by many as “The World’s Most Grueling Athletic Competition,” the Westfield Run is not for the faint of heart, to say the least. On a scale of 1 to 10 for difficulty, this challenge measures “sadist.” One can only imagine the level of athletic prowess and preparation required to compete in such a horrifically grueling event.

So on race day, April 27, 1983, it wasn’t surprising to see a supremely fit-looking ...

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