Tasmanian ultra runner Piotr Babis to cover seven most famous multi-day walks in a week

Tasmanian ultra runner Piotr Babis to cover seven most famous multi-day walks in a week

If things have gone to plan, trail runner Piotr Babis is currently part-way up Federation Peak, having started running towards its summit at 4am today.

His aim is to complete the challenging five to nine-day walk in just 15 hours. But he has no plans to rest after this momentous feat.

Over the six following days, he will run the South Coast Track, Western Arthurs, Frenchmans Cap, Overland Track, Three Capes Track, and Freycinet Circuit trails.

The week-long running “project” will see him cover almost two-and-a-half times the height of Mt Everest in elevation, and 380 kilometres in distance, on “muddy and very technical” trails.

Mr Babis calls the project Impossible 7 for a good reason.

“I’m not delusional. I understand that the project … will be very difficult, hence the name,” he said.

“But I wouldn’t attempt it if I didn’t believe it could be done.”

Grabbing a good weather window

Mr Babis, who works as a guide on the Overland Track, first had the idea for his current adventure two years ago.

He had been running the 480km Tasmanian Trail and, on day three, thought of linking a number of Tasmania’s iconic multi-day walking trails in a single project.

“After two years of thinking about it and a little bit of planning, it’s [now] happening very soon,” he said.

However, weather conditions forced Mr Babis to change his start date and the order of his runs.

Mr Babis said having dry weather for the “very exposed” Federation Peak trail, which involves a lot of scrambling over and climbing steep rock, was “the most important” thing.

“I twisted things around, looking at the forecast,” he said.

“Although I may be … compromising other things, at least I know I have good weather for Federation Peak — that’s crucial.”

The Federation Peak trail is the only one out of the seven trails Mr Babis will run that he has not yet done, and he considers it “the most challenging bushwalk in Tasmania.”

“I’m very excited to go there, but at the same time, I’m a bit scared,” he said.

Staying safe on ‘technical’ trails
Mr Babis will be accompanied by at least one runner on each of the trails in his project for safety reasons.

He will also carry spare warm clothes, a full set of waterproof gear, a personal locator beacon, a snake bandage, plus food and water on each run.

“Based on the weather, I might need to take some additional gear,” he said.

Mr Babis said staying safe on the track would become more difficult as the project progressed.

“Because I’m going to be tired and sleep deprived, and it will be much more difficult to maintain my body temperature.”

Mr Babis said trail running always involved the chance of becoming injured but that he was planning on “moving very slowly.”

“We’re not going to be breaking any records on those trails,” he said.

Mr Babis said running a trail that involved summitting a mountain usually meant a faster descent than ascent.

“But not in Tasmania because the trails are so technical, and you take almost as long to go down as to go up,” he said.

“You have to be very careful, especially [on] peaks like Federation Peak or Frenchmans Cap — you can’t really save much time going down.”

Time to take in the views
Despite needing to cover a lot of ground each day of his project, Mr Babis said he would stop a number of times on each trail.

“We try to enjoy it as much as we can,” he said.

“So we definitely stop to take photos, or have a snack, or just soak in the views.”

Mr Babis’s evenings over the week will be spent eating and sleeping in the car as he is driven to his next start point, where he would try to “relax as much as possible.”

He said he expected to get very little sleep throughout the project but would camp by the start of his next track on most nights.

“It’s just the safest way to be at the next track,” Mr Babis said.

“It’s best to wake up there just in case something happened on the way to the track.”

Mr Babis has about 20 people ready to help with driving between the trails, which are “spread around the island.”

“Many people raised their hands [to help], and I’m very grateful to have so many support crew,” he said.

All running funds raised for charity
Mr Babis’s running project is raising funds for Tasmanian Rescue Helicopter.

Mr Babis said the fundraising for his current project was “rolling along” and that the community had “really come together” to support it.

“Having done some [running] projects in the past, which brought some sort of attention, I thought it would be a great idea to give a little bit back to the community and raise funds for a good cause,” he said.

“So it’s been a great journey up to now,” he said.

In the lead-up to beginning the running part of the project, Mr Babis said he was optimistic about completing it as planned.

But, he said he wasn’t “looking too far ahead” in planning future adventures.

“I never really sit down and think about what can be done,” he said.

“Usually, an idea will just come to mind and spark my interest, and I’ll think, ‘That’s what I want to do.'”

“The best part about living in Tasmania is there are so many beautiful tracks.”

Impossible 7 will begin on Wednesday at Federation Peak at 4am.

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