Malibuite’s Wicked Race No Match for Australian Endurance Athlete

Timmy Garrett

Australian Timmy Garrett has competed in endurance competitions around the globe. In stages of ultra-triathlons, the 57-year-old has run from New York’s state capital to Times Square and swam Cook Strait, the waterway that separates the North and South Islands of New Zealand. 

However, Garrett said last week one of the more grueling challenges he has had to swim, bike, and run through during his nine years participating in endurance events has Malibu roots. The Sydney resident wrote in a June 18 email that Malibuite Dan Bercu’s Uberman competition is a great challenge for athletes accustomed to racking up miles upon miles in the water or on land. 

“It can’t be done by the ordinary athlete. A person needs to be a marathon swimmer and then an ultra-runner/cyclist,” he typed. “Uberman was good, lots of problems to negotiate. Any one of the problems encountered could have stopped me continuing and highly likely to have stopped people not prepared or focused.”

Garrett, a building property manager when not racing across various terrains, won the 2017 Uberman. He finished the three-part race in 214 hours and 30 minutes. 

The Australian decided to participate in Uberman because of his completion of another competition in the United Kingdom.

“I did the Arch to Arc, which is run 87 miles, swim English Channel 21 miles and biked 181 miles,” Garrett recalled. That competition begins at Marble Arch in London and ends at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The 556-mile Uberman encompasses a 21-mile ocean swim from Catalina Island to Palos Verdes, then a 400-mile bike ride that passes through Malibu, out of the Los Angeles area and up 20,000 vertical feet before dropping to Death Valley’s Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America. The finale of the competition is a 135-mile run through the northern Mojave Desert to the trailhead of Mount Whitney at 13,000 feet. 

Bercu, a commercial real estate developer, described Garrett as self-reliant and added Garrett had the “ability to endure pain, lack of sleep and the challenges of the Pacific Ocean, Mojave Desert and Sierra Nevada Mountains back-to-back.” 

The Malibu resident previously said he created the long-distance spectacle for individuals looking to test themselves. Garrett, who won the event at age 55, fits that mold. The endurance athlete never thought about not finishing the three-year-old contest once he started. 

“It is not in my DNA to quit, Garrett wrote. “Experience and strong personal traits are essential to make sure you don’t quit. These traits are: stoic, tenacious, focus and I think a wicked sense of humor.”

Garrett is Uberman’s third winner. Italian Giorgio Alessi won the first Uberman in 2016 with a time of 190:49.00, and Canadian Gerard Charlton won it last year with a time of 166:40.00. Of the Uberman’s more than 20 enrollees, the three are the only participants to complete each stage of the race. 

The next Uberman is set for Oct. 10. 

Garrett said practice in swimming, cycling and running long distances is a must before attempting Uberman. He trains for a minimum of five hours on days he works and seven to eight hours on other days. Garrett said completing each stage of the race is a challenge, whether it’s swimming against ocean currents, riding a bicycle uphill against up to 30 miles per hour winds and running through the desert heat. 

“I am at ease in difficult situations and there are many in Uberman,” Garrett recalled. “For anyone considering this event: You will have problems and you will need to proactively address them. I meditate and I get lost in the moment; this is very relaxing despite the physical difficulty and fitness required. This is a mental game.”

Garrett, an ultra-level endurance race participant since 2010, swam 26 miles in Cook Strait, biked 534 miles, and ran another 69 miles in New Zealand in March. This month, he swam 28 miles around the island of Manhattan, then biked 521 miles in New York and Massachusetts, before running 145 miles from Albany to New York City. 

Garrett called Uberman a brilliant event that he would undertake again, but now he is looking for other challenges. 

“Done and dusted,” he wrote when asked how it felt to be one of the few with have conquered Uberman. “I have moved on to other ultra endurance races which I have set up, which are equivalent.”

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