It’s always the same, every year I look back and reflect on the year that’s been and the way that everything has unfolded and how it has lead me to where I am now. It’s been a huge year and I am so happy to share this journey with everyone.
After finishing high school I always planned to have a ‘gap’ year; to have some fun, travel the world and to challenge myself personally and challenge the mountains and all those on them. It all happened, and some more! I found some hard times, I dealt with injuries and I learnt from many mistakes, but looking back now I see it all culminates to form this strength and belief that I now carry with me in my racing, my training and my heart
It’s like this quote I found recently that I think has so much power “You lose yourself in the things you love, but you find yourself there too”.
The year started with the plan to run Bogong to Hotham, I trained in the Victorian alpine area to strengthen my legs and myself and hopefully find some success in this iconic Aussie race, but due to bad weather in the lead up the event was cancelled. I was so eager to run I chose a speedy coastal race, which I was unprepared for. I ran and I finished, but I hadn’t trained for the speed of this type of event. Needless to say it wasn’t the start of the year I wanted or needed. First lesson learnt; Note to self: Event specific training is necessary. Self-discipline is important – I haven’t mastered this one yet.
Following my disappointment in this race and with some self-doubts I then headed across to Hong Kong; as an international athlete, representing Australia. It was scary to find myself at the start line of the MSIG50km. This race again showed my physical weaknesses and gave me a good introduction to how trails vary in different countries. In Asia they love to put stairs up their mountains.
Things only got bigger from here! And not just the mountains. After some time back home I was selected to go across to Italy as a junior athlete for the Salomon Running academy. Picture this – 16 junior athletes from around the world, sharing the trails of the Limóne Mountains, led by some of the world’s best. Learning, eating, sleeping and smiling as we developed not just as runners but as young adults, all whilst wearing our traditional red shoes. This was my idea of heaven. I learnt heaps and it really motivated me and set me up for the months ahead.
I said earlier I trained in the Vic Alps to strengthen my legs and my mind, but on arriving in Europe I was blown away with the size, scale and beauty of all the mountain regions I travelled. I was now based in Europe, living out of my sports bag, sleeping bed to bed or couch and staying with friends, contacts and other local runners. I leap-frogged my way around the world with memorable moments spent in La Palma for the Transvulcania VK, Annecy for the World ultra-trail championships, Italy Sky racing and Norway for the Tromso Sky race, where I got injured but was still able to experience the raw form of sky racing that Tromso has to offer thanks to Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg.
I had my last love affair with the mountains in August meeting Dad in Chamonix as he took on a big challenge in completing UTMB and me a bigger challenge of being a support crew for so many hours. (No offence Dad)
I saw big mountains, and ran some incredible trails but that is not my biggest memory. It is the running community that I truly fell in love with. I shared the trail with some of the world’s best runners, ran with mid packers and swept trails. I need to thank all the trail runner and supporters who looked after me, let me sleep under a roof, translated for me and helped me in every and any way. The quality of this community doesn’t just stretch across one country but across the globe. I now know how lucky I am.
Returning back to Oz it was like the same body with new strength and greater self-belief. Heading to Adelaide to revisit the Yurrebilla Ultra with a 1hour improvement, finishing 2nd in one of Australia’s new sky running events, the Hounslow Classic and then competing over in New Zealand for the Tarawera 50km where I finished my season – there was no more beautiful place to cross the finish line of a race and of my 2015 season!
During the time away I was constantly asked what I was going to do when I got back home. I have a strong passion to develop myself in the area of fitness, nutrition and sharing stories. This has led me to enroll in a certificate of fitness in personal training, I’m doing this as a personal interest but also to be able to coach others and give back to the sport. I have a secret project; which is to create a runners cookbook; the idea of collaborating with other athletes from around the world sharing their secret recipes and stories really excites me. I’m keen to share my journey with you all, on social media and in life. As a 19-year-old girl there’s nothing surprising here! I truly believe Facebook and Instagram can be used for good.
Thanks to everyone, I have an even stronger belief in what I want for my future, and with a new confidence and self-belief I’m ready to tackle 2016 and make some headway.
I look to the future with some big dreams and challenges but with my support base so big at home and around the world, I see no limit in where I can go and this passion can take me. Thank you!
The bigger thanks go to:
And my coach Emelie Forsberg