If Michael Milton could replicate his top downhill skiing speed, he could complete Saturday's Ultra-Trail Australia 50km race through the Blue Mountains bush in less than 15 minutes.
In 2006, the one-legged Canberra local famously clocked 213.65km/h when he became Australia's fastest ever person on skis. But while having just one leg has some aerodynamic advantages when it comes to downhill skiing, it presents nothing but monumental challenges when it comes to the steep, rugged and slippery mountains' bush.
Watching Milton compete in the 2017 UTA50 is no doubt going to be one of the highlights of their 10th anniversary year. He will climb and descend about 2400 vertical metres, made all the more difficult due to the rain forecast and the fact he will be on crutches.
The 44-year-old expects his hands, wrists and calves to bear the brunt of running on crutches, and he'll pack four pairs of gloves which he'll change regularly to limit the blisters.
"My hands take a battering when I run, even in normal conditions. But in the wet the thick calluses I have from walking on crutches daily become soft and the skin starts to break down. It can be very painful," he said.
"It's hard to predict how my body will react. But I will give it my all and won't be giving up without one hell of a fight."
To keep him going over the 50km event he'll be hydrating regularly and munching on peanut butter and honey sandwiches.
"The science says I use twice the calories per kilometre running on crutches so I need some real food to give me some healthy energy boosts," Milton said.
He'll need all the energy he can muster to complete the gruelling event, which he anticipates will take up to 12 hours.
But challenge is something Milton has embraced his whole life. At age nine he had his left leg amputated due to bone cancer. A determination to learn to ski again ultimately led him to win a swag of medals for Australia at winter Paralympic Games before successfully switching to a bike for a summer Paralympics.
Milton has also competed in triathlons and in 2013 completed the Gold Coast Airport Marathon with crutches in the amazing time of 5:23:30. That was Milton's last competitive long-distance run.
On Saturday he will use ultra-lightweight carbon fibre crutches and use the event as a training run for the Kokoda Ultra Marathon in July.
with Ilsa Cunningham
The story How Michael Milton, who has one leg, will race in a 50km Blue Mountains event first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.