NAIL Can Hill is one of the toughest challenges going around but it goes to a whole other level when you can’t see where you’re planting your feet.
Which makes Daniel Searle’s time of 67:28 even more remarkable given he lost most of his sight at 16 to a rare eye condition.
Searle took on Nail Can just six weeks after beginning training with Fabrizio Andreoni.
“He suggested we try Nail Can and stupidly I said ‘yes, that’s a great idea’,” he said.
“It was very tough, but I’m really glad I did it and happy I finished.”
Known for representing Australia in the Twenty20 World Cup for the Blind in India in 2012, Searle ran the race tethered to junior athlete Sean Jones.
“He’s talking the whole way describing the uphill and downhill parts, the turns and when it’s rocky,” Searle said.
“So it’s hard for him as well, but he did an awesome job.
“Sean feels bad if he forgets to describe something, and he slipped up at one point just to give me a scare.
“But it’s quite daunting — the uphills aren’t so bad, it’s the downhills and some can get quite steep.
“We’d trained on the track a few times but it seems to change from week to week, and the rain changed it again — it keeps it interesting.”
Originally from Barham, Searle has called Albury home for the past seven years.
Andreoni suggested Nail Can just six weeks after starting to train with Searle.
“It’s been a gradual process but he’s integrated very well into my squad,” Andreoni said.
“He’s very passionate.”
Andreoni said Searle was heading to the Australian cycling championships in Echuca next weekend and would begin preparations to try for triathlon Paralympic selection for Rio in January.
As coach for the Triathlon Australia paratriathlon team Andreoni knows the journey ahead will be tough.
“We have one of the top athletes in the world and Daniel is very far from him,” he said.
“But if you have something to aim for that’s the best thing for improvement and we haven’t found any limits yet.”