…. It never fails to inspire, get the tears flowing on the finish line and make you feel like anything is possible…
This year, we had OzSquadders in the 22km, 50km and 100km events – and all 15 crossed the finish line without injury, issue or losing a toenail (yet). In a race where DNF’s are common and with major course changes at the eleventh hour for the 50 and 100 guys, this is amazing in itself. I then realised that every single runner had a bit of a story to tell that make this feat even more amazing. BIG congrats to each and every one of you – no one can take that result away from you now, job done! 🙂
Oh – Anything IS possible by the way.
Manuela Curzon Von Arx – After ticking the 6ft track marathon off the running bucket list, Manuela battled with injury which probably should have forced a UTA deferral. Not wanting to sacrifice family time again for the training required another year, her only option to give a chance of making the start line was walking in a pool and using the cross trainer instead of running. Anyone who can do 6 hours straight on a cross trainer, inside a gym, can do bloody anything they put their mind to in my book! (And should probably go get a sanity check!). A total machine that not only made the start line, but calmly cruised across the finish line too.
Kate Saunders – Rewind 4 ½ years or so ago and Kate is at an OzSquad PT session point blank refusing to do high knees and trying to negotiate for no more running after the warm up. Fast forward (via a broken ankle or two) and she made 100km look easy. This truly is the type of incredible running journey to inspire all other high knee haters and I can’t wait to see what’s next. Kate you legend you.
Will Askham – I admit it, I thought he was utterly bonkers to be even contemplating the 100 distance without really ever running on trail or try as we might, devoting much time to training other than on the rugby pitch. But, it just goes to show that with grit, determination and a beer with your name on it at the finish line, 100k is just a longer than usual run/walk to the pub. Can you use your legs again yet Will? 😉
Joe Rivers – From zero to hero, one half of OzSquad’s latest poster couple, Joe has well and truly caught the running bug. He even got a little too excited, clocked up the km quickly and was forced to rest to make the start line injury free. He did, cruised through (and wishes he hadn’t stopped for a wee 😉 ) and is ready for the next big race. They’ll be many more fab results, I just know it.
Claire Bodenes – The other half of the running duo. I think if you had told Claire a year ago that she would be running in Australia’s hardest half marathon, she would have laughed you not just out of town, but out of the entire country. After her first parkrun in the pouring rain, I thought that Claire was firstly going to kill everyone who spoke to her and secondly never step foot outside at a pace more than a stroll ever again. But Claire, here we are – 22 amazing km later! You are a runner!
Winsome Denyer – Winnie got to the start line via blisters that almost covered her entire soles – enough to make some people hang up the running shoes for good. Not this girl – and when she crossed the finish line, it was the furthest she had ever run, like ever. And it was the most she had ever spent on socks. 😉
Blair Amber Milne – Not one to be put off by last year’s grueling 50k, Blair thought he’d come back and tackle the hardest bit of the course again. Again he pulled himself up the last (vertical) km in the face of cramps, but on the plus side – no chafing!!
Scott Albin – an OzSquadder by defacto-default, we haven’t managed to get Scott to sessions but do manage to nag him to enter the odd race or two. He got to the finish despite this one giving him the shock of his life – having never seen the course, the elevations took him by surprise. Yep Scott, when we said it was hilly – we meant THAT hilly! You’re welcome. J
Carly Steggles – yeh me! 5 months after giving birth, it was bloody great to be back on the trails in a race. With no real expectations, it was awesome to cross the finish line (thankfully with pelvic floor intact). Not practicing what I preach (do as I say, not as I do), my training was lacking – and a first-hand learning experience for me was that whilst on the day stubbornness can still get you through, a lack of specific training = a bloody painful recovery. Sorry Miss, will do better next time.
Sarah Austin – having been forced to watch last year’s event from the sidelines due to injury and battling through training nervous of the same happening again, Sarah had a big ghost to put to rest at this event. Consider that ghost rested! So very pleased for you lady!
Kady Leibovitz – Again, after a false start to training for this event last year, Kady was determined to knock this one off as one of her last OzSquad challenges before leaving Aussie shores. Teetering on the edge of injury, forced to walk some of her training, taped up to the 9s – Kady was not going to miss it this year! Miss it, she did not. Kady took the course changes in her stride and smiled her way round the course. Onya girl.
Laurie Scholtz – a big Bucket List year for this little lady. One 50km in the mountains wasn’t enough for her first half of 2017 and she also ran the Two Oceans 56km road ultra-marathon in South Africa. Feet and ankles obviously took a pounding, but Laurie rested up and kept faith in the training plan – the second 50km of her year looked like a walk in a (hill) park. Two big TICKS off that list, many more to come. J
Nikki Trask – Thinking this was her last chance to give an ultra a shot (which is nonsense btw lady!), Nikki put in 100% effort in training, nutrition and last minute race planning when the course changed. Throughout the process, this formidable force did whatever it took to get to the start line and then flew round the course without a care in the world. Simply stunning – and proving there are many years left for many more ultras!
Jess Leask – from the OzSquad Learn to Run course to 50km in the mountains in little over a year! Jess, astounding effort and I think that means you have graduated as a runner!
These kind of achievements don’t come without the support crew and family/friends behind the scenes either. Big shout outs to Faye, Toni, Mark and Blair who followed their runners around all day and night, to Sarah-Anne for keeping 5 of our guys on the straight and narrow with personalised plans and to all the family/friends who haven’t seen their runner all year because they have been, well out running!!
Phewee. Amazeballs. Who’s in for next year? 😉