Katie is a dedicated and passionate ultra-runner from Margaret River. Not only does she love the sport herself, but she actively encourages others to join through the Margaret River Trail Runner’s Association. Katie just completed the Margaret River Ultra in under 11 hours for the gruelling 80km and is an inspiration to many!
How did you discover trail running?
It was a natural progression for me. I have always loved long distance running and have basically entered any long-distance race I could find over the years from running, triathlon, rowing, mountain biking and swimming. Moving to Margaret River with trails on my doorstep I found myself riding and running them daily and going further every day. Once I joined the community of trail runners down here, I’ve never looked back.
Why do you love trails, and what motivates you?
I love being in nature and getting to incredible, isolated places off my own steam. I love the simplicity and freedom of it. I get motivation from a few different places – I have a lot of internal motivation to see how far I can push myself, but I also draw a lot from watching other people achieve their goals.
What are some of YOUR challenges?
To be honest I am not that athletically gifted! Every sport I have ever attempted I’ve had to work harder than most to succeed but I’m thankful for that (and also think that’s why I’ve ended up in ultras) – I think one of the biggest things in ultra-running is to keep showing up. Ultra-long-distance races will push you to the edge of what you think you’re capable of so learning to keep working even when it’s tough is key.
What are your results and racing highlights so far?
I have had a number of good results over the years, particularly once I moved to trail running but most recently second place in the Sandman 50k – my first ultra-distance was a fantastic experience, I loved the challenge of a 2am start time, sand course and ultra-distance.
What race destination would you love to go to?
The Larapinta trail has always been a dream. If possible, I intend on racing the long course in 2022.
What’s your big goal?
To successfully complete the Margaret river ultra-marathon. I have been working towards this goal for the last 6 months. The distance will be my longest and the course is incredibly challenging. I have several other races later in the year and look forward to attempting the Birdie’s Backyard format but for now Margaret River is my focus. My smaller goals typically revolve around my training program, for example I hoped to comfortably run 100km+ weeks which I have achieved and I am working on my digestion which I think is a never-ending goal. *Katie just completed her big goal race, the Margaret River Ultra in under 11 hours.
Do you have a training group?
Absolutely, I am on the board for the Margaret River Trail Runners which is a group I am so passionate about. We are a community group of like-minded trail runners who want to make the sport accessible to all, offering a free group run every Saturday at 7am in varying locations. We also hope to showcase the incredible trails of the Margaret River Region to locals and visitors alike.
what’s your race nutrition advice?
Unfortunately, I have struggled with my digestion after I was struck by illness when I lived in Broome. It has been an ongoing issue and training my digestion requires as much dedication and consideration as my physical training. Everyone is different so trialling your nutrition plan in training is key – never try something new on race day. Natural ingredients work the best for me which is what first drew me to Bindi Nutrition. Another valuable piece of advice I was given by ultra-runner Majell Backhausen was to constantly nibble and sip. I endeavour now to put some kind of solid food (salted mashed potatoes being my go-to) in every 20 minutes and constantly sip liquids. On long runs I have 500mL of plain water, 500mL of Bindilyte and 1-2L of Bindi Sports Hydration that I alternate between.
favourite nutrition tips?
Planning and practise are key. I plan my training week ahead, I know what I need in my pack, I know what works for me and what doesn’t. Not to say I don’t make mistakes. Most recently I ate something I wouldn’t usually for dinner before a long run and had stomach issues, but for that to occur in training is exactly what you hope for because you learn from it.
favourite workout music when training?
I very rarely listen to music as I like to just take in the environment around me. However, I always carry headphones and sometimes pop one song on if I am deep in the pain tunnel! I have a very eclectic mix but My Hero by Foo Fighters is one of my favourites.
Who inspires you?
To be honest I am inspired by so many people, and I feel lucky that I’m surrounded by inspirational people every day. Watching my friends at Margs Trail Runners achieving huge goals always inspires me, my family inspire me and there are so many strong female ultra-runners I draw inspiration from. Two my favourites are Beth Pascall and Lucy Bartholomew.
I live by the quote that ‘pain is just weakness leaving the body’ It has always sat with me, probably because my rowing coach regularly reminded us of this through a megaphone at 5am!. But I also love Kipchoge’s mantra:
What is your favourite training session?
My Saturday long run – I feel like I build my whole week towards it, I never have a time limit on it and I always end up somewhere awesome.
What do you do with your time when not training?
I love to hang with my dogs Buddy and Angel who are both rescue dogs from Broome and Fitzroy Crossing. I also enjoy my garden and work for a beautiful winery.
What do love about bindi?
I know what the ingredients are, it’s easy to digest and helps me get through the tough moments. I also love that it is a local product because I’m passionate about where I live. My favourite products are the Zesty Lemon & Lime Natural Sports Hydration for my long runs and the Vanilla Pea Protein for an after-workout smoothie.
MaRgaret river ULTRA-marathon – race report
The Margaret River Ultra Marathon was something I have trained hard for through some trying times so this weekend was a big one for me.
Legs one and two ran completely to plan, I felt great and enjoyed every minute of it. I had an excellent transition coming out of Contos campground to continue on schedule.
I took a decent fall on the rocks before the Contos hill climb impacting my left knee, I fortunately never suffer from knee pain so I didn’t put much thought to it and still felt quite strong over the single track to Redgate. The sand section to follow I noticed my knee was getting progressively worse but I managed to remain positive and entered the Riflebutts transition in good time. Prevelly to Gracetown is one of my favourite runs so I hoped to enter leg 4 with some energy which I still had. Unfortunately as so often happens in long distance running this is where things became a bit unstuck. I began vomiting at approximately the 55km mark and didn’t stop. This slowed me to a walk/run pace and definitely put me at a cross roads.
I believe sometimes facing adversity and rising above this can reward you more than if things run smoothly and that is definitely how I feel about this race. I was physically in a bad way, however mentally I remained strong, focused and in the moment – at no point did I doubt my ability to finish and that’s exactly the outcome I achieved. I had a goal of sub 10 hours and I came over the line in 10 hours 49 minutes with 10 hours 15 minutes moving time. Given the challenges I faced in the later stages of the ultra I am really happy with that result. I can already see clear direction on how to improve and know if I run at my best I can easily achieve a sub 10 hour MRU, if not better.
I would recommend this race to anyone passionate about running – Rapid ascent have created an incredible event, the course is beautiful and the quality of people running, supporting and volunteering are next level.