MOUNT Martha athlete Thomas “The Tank” Dade is used to pushing his limits in the mountains and the ocean, so it’s no surprise that he has been named as the Australian Ultra Runners Association’s Young Male Ultra Runner of the Year.
Ultra running is any running event longer than the traditional marathon distance of 42.195 kilometres and is often run on off-road and trail courses.
Dade, who said he was overwhelmed by the award, was recognised for his performances throughout 2022 – in particular, being the sole finisher in last year’s Down Under 135 (about 227km).
The 24-year-old has won plenty of firsts at ultra events around the country, including the Oscar 100 Hut 2 Hut, the Wilsons Promontory 100km Trail Run, and the You Yangs 100 Mile event.
Dade said he was grateful for what the sport had brought to his life.
“I’ve had some difficulties, but this sport has made me feel like part of something and I am honoured to be recognised,” he said.
Dade, who works as a lifeguard at the Yawa aquatic centre in Rosebud, trains for two to three hours a day, using a combination of running, weights, swimming and cardi boxing.
“It’s a hard sport, but it’s a lot of fun,” he said.
Kate Dzienis from the association said Dade was getting noticed in Australia and beyond in trail and ultra running due to his determination and resilience.
“Most ultra runners find discovery in the sport in their 30s, 40s and beyond; there aren’t a lot of young endurance runners out there, but here’s Tom, who turns 25 in December, making waves in trail and ultra running,” she said.
“He’s even had a feature story showcased in an edition of Trail Run Magazine Australia and New Zealand.”