Keith ‘Keeto’ Muscat is preparing to run an ultra-marathon around the picturesque town of Crookwell in the Southern Tablelands to raise money for Police Legacy’s Run4Blue and the Crookwell Community Trust charities.
On 28 May the 46-year old amateur runner will test his endurance over 80 km traversing the local area, which takes in parts of Laggan to Roslyn, Woodhouselee and Pejar.
“In the ultra world, they talk about the pain cave and you will enter it in an 80 km run and you just have to get out of it,” Keeto said.
“It’s a real physical push when you leap past marathon level – past 42 km – it becomes a mental challenge and different fuelling. I’ve read a lot about it, I haven’t experienced it.”
Keeto started running around five years ago. Now he’s planning this event in his new hometown to remind people anything is possible, if you’re willing to do the work.
“You need to push every day,” he said, adding that perseverance yields some of life’s big rewards.
He aims to raise $20,000 for the charities to which he has strong ties and preparations are underway for a festival finish at the Crookwell Showground.
Keeto’s running career began at school but he struggled to remain committed until five years ago, when he started entering park runs around Canberra. He soon started keeping pace with the guys near the front and dedicated much of his time towards breaking his personal bests.
“My competitive streak and nature, which was probably dormant for so long, just woke up,” he said.
“I was a musician, I had thousands of dollars worth of guitar equipment and I sold it all and brought running shoes, running gear and I was hooked.”
He trained under the guidance of Canberra distance runner and Inside Running podcast co-host Brad Croker and began running five km in under 18 minutes.
More recently, he spent months in physical therapy after an injury sidelined him and a doctor told him he had to stop running for nearly a year.
“I did and, of course, you bulk up and your body heals but you get so unfit. I was running 100 km a week, that injury really turned me. When I moved to Crookwell in November 2020 that was when I started running again.”
Around this time Keeto met Ryan Seaman, a local nutritionist and 2583 Fitness gym co-owner and Haley Snape and together, the trio set out to plan the 80 km challenge.
Most recently, Keeto finished 18th in the 30 km race at the Stromlo Running Festival on 5 March, running at a pace of five minutes 30 seconds per km. He is training to complete 80 km in under 10 hours at a pace of seven minutes 30 seconds per km.
“There are a lot of hills that can break you in a short distance,” he said of the route.
“If I can run at my casual pace of five minutes 45 to six minutes then I can start to bank some minutes for some good walking.”
Joining him will be his wife, riding a bike and members of the Goulburn Runners and Walkers Club for part of the run. Locals can also join in at different sections and the NSW Police and State Emergency Services will escort Keeto in the final km towards the Showground.
The event is sponsored by running brand Hoka, True Protein, Skins compression gear, MD & JJ Anderson stock and station agents, Star Pumps and 2583 Fitness.
Donations can be made at some local businesses or via Crookwell Community Hub on Facebook. To find out how to contribute or about sponsorship opportunities email [email protected] or [email protected]