Nathan Bourke, crew member Michelle Wyndham and pacers Megan Sleswick and Danny Sleswick.
Nathan Bourke, crew member Michelle Wyndham and pacers Megan Sleswick and Danny Sleswick.

Blood, sweat and spew: M’boro dad’s marathon effort

SOME people rarely test their true limits but Maryborough father Nathan Bourke wanted to know what he was made of.

He found out when he successfully conquered a gruelling 161km marathon in 25 hours.

The local athlete pushed his body further than ever before.

Despite a stint where his legs stopped working, hallucinations and vomiting, he pushed on to complete the 100 mile race at the weekend.

Working multiple jobs, raising four children and with only four months to prepare for the race, Mr Bourke would get up at 4-5am to fit in training.

"In a perfect world you can train as much as you would like all the time," he said.

"I think me finishing shows, despite time restraints, with decent support and a will you find a way to achieve what you want to do," he said.

40 racers started in Yarraman on Saturday with about a quarter failing to cross the finish line at Ipswich.

The Maryborough resident had completed a number of 100km races in the past but always had the goal to complete 100 miles.

"The 100 mile was a lot different to the 100km distance," he said.

The endurance runner said he felt good on the first 80km but at around 94km, problems started.

"There were a few rain showers which I loved and I had pacers running with me," he said.

"I had made really good time and was on par to finish in 22 hours.

"But at 100km I threw up for the first time on the race and it really started to go down hill at 120km.

"By the time I got to 140km my legs stopped working and I was walking and hiking along.

"My head wanted to keep going but my legs didn't want to do it."

The runner said despite the race length it went by quickly.

"You see so much out on the trail while you a running, it's cool to run through all the little towns," he said.

"At one point I almost stepped on a snake but my pacer luckily pointed it out to me.

"You occasionally hallucinate and you ask your pacer 'who is that strange person standing over there' but they tell you it is a tree."

"You just have to have a little chuckle after that."

Nathan Bourke and Danny Sleswick at the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail race.
Nathan Bourke and Danny Sleswick at the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail race.

Finishing the race in 25 hours and 34 minutes was longer than the experienced runner had hoped for but he said he was happy to tick the race off his bucket list.

"My wife laughs at me because every morning after these events I say 'never again' but then always sign up for something even crazier," he said.

The next race in his sights is a backyard ultra.

"It is a 6.7km loop that you run until it is the last man standing," he said.

"It is just as much as a mental challenge as it is a physical one."

The Maryborough man said he had seen more people getting into the sport since the pandemic and encouraged anyone interested to give it a go.

"We have a great running community on the Fraser Coast," he said.

"You can reach out and get a group together to hit the trails."

Some groups include Fraser Coast Runners and Walkers Club Inc. Official or Hervey Bay Trail Runners.

Nathan also offers run coaching if you are interested in getting some advice contact him at

Primal Functional Training.