42 at 42 in 2020
Why run? People are always saying find your why, and you’ll never lack for a reason to get out and run. Well, my name is Kelly and I can’t think of my why. But I know how much I enjoy being out and about with my friends, whether at parkrun, on a trail, exploring an urban area, or heading off on run-cations to take part in adventures – AKA. running events. PS. everything’s an adventure to me 🙂
I’m slow – but stubborn enough to finish what I start, and overweight – my love of food is life long, I hoped running would combat this but it seems the more I run the more I like food… I’m a mum to a handsome 18 year old young man, step-mum to three gorgeous young ladies, one who has now had the pleasure of making me a junior step-grandparent five times over (still questioning if she knows what causes this… hahaha), stand by mum to another two gorgeous young ladies, one who has two cutie pies of her own now, Aunty Kel of two nephews, two Godsons, and countless other young people (I like being Aunty Kel), and the fur and feather mum of an old doggo, canaries, ducks and chooks. If I had the ability I’m sure I’d expand the family more.
My earliest memory of running is the classic primary school running race. And coming last. Which is no big deal, I come almost last in many things when it comes to sport. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m all about participation and giving it a go. The issue with the coming last at school however, was when it was against the year below, and I still came last… As you may have guessed, I didn’t run much after that.
Roll on a number of years and I came across the Wings for Life World Run. The Wings for Life run is a worldwide event that has all entrants starting at exactly the same time globally, or 10:00 UTC, with the first event for Australia being held in Busselton, Western Australia on 4th May 2014, starting at 6pm. The concept of the event is different to your standard run where there is a set distance and you simply cover that distance in the best time you can manage. The Wings for Life event has everyone starting and racing against the catcher car, that starts 30minutes after the runners do, travelling at 15km/hour for the first 1hour 30 minutes, then incrementally getting faster over time until all runners have been ‘caught’.
This concept appealed to me, how far could I manage when there wasn’t a finish line and I simply had to keep going? I’d not trained or had any real running behind me other than a season of hockey which is more a sprint than a distance run. So, with all proceeds going to Spinal Cord Research I thought “what the heck?” and signed up. I was now committed to running for those who couldn’t.
On the evening of the run, a gorgeous West Coast sunset was giving us a show, and my mum and son were waiting on the sidelines for me to be returned to Event Central. While I now know you don’t try anything new while on course, as I made my way through the leafy suburbs of Busselton, accompanied by smells of roasts and barbeques cooking, cheers from the community and thumping music from driveways and lawns, I came across an aid station offering gels and other things I couldn’t tell you about (it was quite a dark aid station by this point). One chocolate flavoured, sticky-as-all-heck gel later and I continued winding my way to the main road and out of Busselton towards Dunsborough. This is about where I was ‘caught’, a very happy distance of 8.40km, with a global ranking of 28,544, and 1,649 in the F35 age group. A short walk to the designated pick-up spot to catch the bus back to Event Central and my mum and boy, I basked in the extraordinary vibes and energy on the bus. No one cared that they had been caught – the air was electric with happy chatter, hot sweaty bodies, and good aches.
Mum and boyo happily told me on my arrival that I had made the big screens that live stream the 34 event locations around the world, so to make a 5 second cut from the thousands of people running across the globe was pretty cool.
A quick stop at a local fast food establishment gave an instant food fix for me – and what 13-year-old doesn’t like junk food? before we were off to the house. That was when I discovered the chocolate gel I had tackled was in fact lemon-lime flavour. And that the effects kick in later if you haven’t actually run enough to use up the energy provided. Boyo had a speed game on his iPad that I annihilated! I can’t play more than a few rounds normally before getting out, but apparently my fingers where using up the spare gel energy and ripping through his game, setting a record that took him quite some time to break 🙂
And so there you have it, the thing that got me starting to run, and the reason why I haven’t stopped since. So I guess I do have an answer to ‘why I run’ The energy, the excitement, the whole “tribe vibe” following an event, feeling of being part of something that so many others of so many different abilities take part in. And knowing that while I may not be your “typical” runner, I can still throw on the shoes, step out the door, and become part of yet another exciting adventure, whether during a solo run, with a group of like-minded individuals, or as part of the awesome volunteer force that help make events happen. Importantly, just like other activities, be it a team sport or an individual pursuit, there’s the coffee catch up afterwards where we tell tales of just how HUGE that hill was, the “nope rope” stick snake that scared the life out of you, or learning to utilise what nature had available when there were no ‘facilities’ nearby and a bull ant that tried taking advantage of your weakened moment of relief.
There’s my why. So what’s my “what’s next?”. Well, for a little accountability, to hopefully connect with other people considering their own monumentous goals, and to share the tricks of the trade that I learn along the way, I am aiming to take part in the 2020 Australian Outback Marathon (AOM). It’s the first marathon I ever came across that made me say to myself “I want to do that one day”, and after reading a post by a fellow runner who is aiming to do 42km at age 42 in 2020, I set myself the silent goal of achieving that outcome too.
So there you have it. Over the coming 12 months I will be looking into shoes (mine are so broken), nutrition, support services, general running, and the tales of fellow runners, while documenting the trials, triumphs, tribulations and terrible tiredness as I aim to complete a marathon in 2020 (I won’t quite be 42 at 42 when I run at the AOM, but I’ll be that age a few months later, so it still counts). This year’s event was held on Saturday 27th July, so its pretty much spot on a year from now…
Till next time, keep smiling, chin up, head high, breathe, and put one foot in front of the other.