For Louise Edwards of Upper Ferntree Gully, the 2019 Great Train Race at Puffing Billy is an extra special one.
Having run the race eight times since 2001, this year it will provide her with an important training race in the lead up to her completing the Antarctic Ice Marathon in December.
Finishing the Ice Marathon will also make her a member of the 7 Continents Marathon Club, something only seven Australian women have achieved before her.
Louise, who says she was not a ‘sporty kid’, only started running as an adult to improve her fitness on the squash court.
It didn’t take her long to find her groove and she is now a regular competitor in marathons all over the world.
Being a local of the Dandenong Ranges, Louise said she has a soft spot for the Great Train Race and loves the change of racing a train instead of the clock.
“I started out running around my local area, building up to shorter fun runs, which then moved into longer runs and half marathons,” Louise said.
“My first full marathon was the Melbourne Marathon in 1998, and not long after that I moved to Upper Ferntree Gully and decided to give the Great Train Race a go.
“There is nothing like the atmosphere of the Great Train Race and the excitement of trying to beat the train. The start is a lot of fun, with the driver running to the engine as the runners take off from the start line. You can hear the train throughout the race but never quite know where it is.”
This year, the Great Train Race will be important training for Louise, as she goes on to competes in the Australian Outback Marathon in Central Australia in July, followed by the Ice Marathon in Antarctica in December.
“I’m really excited about the Ice Marathon, which is the only marathon held on mainland Antarctica. Completing this race will make me a member of the 7 Continents Marathon Club, which is for people who have run a marathon on all 7 Continents,” she said.
“There are currently only 334 members of the 7 Continents Marathon Club, of which 79 are female … only seven of the 79 females are from Australia, so I am excited to raise that number to 8.”
The Great Train Race takes place on Sunday 5 May 2019.