Worldwide Pursuit of Challenges
In December 2012 my wife, Rachel, lost her 7 1/2 year battle with breast cancer. In 2005, the same year Rachel was diagnosed, I lost both my parents, Jo and Harry, within 6 months of each other from cancer.
For the 3 months leading up to Rachel's passing and the 3 months thereafter I spent a significant amount of time searching for answers in the bottom of many, many beer bottles.
Through out this entire period I would just like to thank my work family at Lucas TCS and my football club family at PHOS Camden & The Phantoms for their amazing support and the life long friendships I have made that have kept pointing my focus in a positive direction.
I eventually found the courage to go back to work on the back of my daughter, Denni's strength to return to high school. This was a very positive step for us both being surrounded by great friends, distracted from our thoughts and away from the home that holds all our memories.
Soon after my return to work a work colleague and now friend, Trish Jones, suggested we put a team from work in the first ever True Grit to be held in SA. This was the turning point in my life where I rediscovered my passion for fitness and challenges with a positive outlet for my grief.
Some where thru out this 12 week journey it was discussed that this event will change some of our lives forever. Everyone completed the course. Some vowed to never return bearing savage wounds. For 3 of us, life has definitely changed. Rachel Cawood and Parrish Fatchen train and compete with me in Obstacle Course Races (OCR) and trail events.
In September 2015 I completed my first ultra marathon, Yurrebilla 56km, which runs through the Adelaide Hills. Leading up to this event I got chatting to a young lady, Sarah, via the Yurrebilla facebook newcomers page who was still living in Canada but had signed up for the event and was moving to Australia in August. Once Sarah finally arrived we soon met up and introduced her to sections of the run. As our friendship grew I shared my passion for OCR and we soon started training and competing in OCR too.
Sarah was and still is always up for a challenge which brings us to the present situation where we are training and competing in events throughout Australia and soon across the globe to challenge ourselves and reset our reference point (thank you Joe De Sena for that phrase).
Since Yurrebilla we have completed the following:
Yurrebilla 56km ultra trail run, 27th Sept
Heysen 57km (will be back for the 105km) ultra trail run 24th Oct
Trailblazer by the Sea 50km ultra 1st Nov
3 ultras in 5 weeks!!!
Tassie Trail Fest, Tas, 3 day event including 44km day 1, 12th Mar
SA Coastal Challenge 65km ultra 20th Mar - Sarah 1st female and our PB for distance
Hubert 80km/ 55km ultra, 1st May - Sarah 1st female, 3rd overall in the 80km and a new distance PB; I had knee surgery a month earlier so only completed the 55km
True Grit 24 hour Enduro NSW, 11th June
Yumigo 24 hour run, 10th July - I completed my first 100km + (102.4km) before retiring
Wonderland 36km, Grampians, Vic, 20th August
Yurrebilla SA, 56km ultra, 25th Sept 2016
Green Monster Trail Challenge, Pennsylvannia, US 9th Oct 2016 - our first international ultra!
OCR World Championships, Blue Mountains, Canada 14th Oct 2016
Oscars Hut2Hut 100km, Feb 2017
Hubert 100 mile, May 2017
True Grit 24 hour Enduro NSW, June 2017
Canadian Death Race, Alberta, Canada 125km, 17000ft climb, Aug 2017
Squamish 50 mile, Canada, Aug 2017
Yurrebilla SA, 56km ultra, Sept 2017
Heysen 105km, Oct 2017
Alpine Challenge 100 mile, Vic, Nov 2017
Longer Term events such as the Barkley Marathon, Tennesse USA, 100 mile, 59100ft climb will be added as our journey together evolves.
Event fees, travel, accommodation, training equipment, training gear and nutrition expenses to date have been self funded. This page is seeking assistance to help us get through this list and beyond with your assistance. We have just begun our journey together but have managed to reach out to and inspire many thus far in such a short pace of time. Help us to continue to help others to believe their goals are attainable as we are inspired by the individuals, groups and communities we engage with during these events.
Gear, nutrition and equipment sponsors are always welcome. Happy to trial new gear and equipment and review. Invitations/ discounted events are also welcome.
Please join us along the journey by donating, sharing stories and inspiring us, suggesting challenges (I don't swim), joining me during training and events.
I also have an established fundraising page for the Kids Cancer Project to raise much needed funds to find a cure for cancer
Thank you in advance
My preparation has given me every chance of a positive result as I continue to build towards the Canadian Death Race. This week I clocked up my first 400km month (backing up from my previous PR of 375km last month), 1300km for the year, with just under 46,000m of elevation and 170 hours on my feet. I always think I should have done more, held my morning plank for longer, completed a few more Mile27 sessions, foam rolled more but I am satisfied to this point with minimal sore spots and all my toe nails and none are black!
Now I just need to stick to my race, nutrition and hydration plan. 100km is a long way and a lot can go wrong, but I know Sarah will be at every checkpoint and around the course to support, encourage and make sure I stick to the plan.
This will be tough for her missing out due to injury that has stopped her in her tracks since mid January, as this is the event Sarah hit god like status when she was the only female competitor and one of only 6 athletes to get through the final checkpoint cut-off in last years inaugural Hubert 88km event.
I have hit all my targets in training and finally have my footwear sorted out now time to back off the training volume and fine tune, finalise my hydration and nutrition strategies and support crew for Hubert.
It is nice to feel ready but anything can happen in 100km!
With just under 5 weeks to Hubert 100 in the Flinders Ranges and 19 weeks to the Canadian Death Race I am feeling ready to complete my first 100km trail run which will be a great confidence booster in preparing for the CDR's 125km and 5,000m + elevation and technical terrain.
First things first. I need to get thru the last two big weeks of my program before tapering.
Last month I clocked up 375km, 11,000m + elevation and this month bound for 400km, 12,000m + elevation. By the end of this week I will hit 1,000km for the year and climbed the equivalent of Mt Everest 4 times.
Sadly, Sarah hasn't been able to run since her birthday early January due to injury but fingers crossed she will have at least 16 weeks to get ready for CDR and Squamish50 2 weeks later.