To help give you a but of inspiration firstly look around you at training, you are all there supporting each other, inspiring each other day in and day out, all with a common goal. It has been proven that you are more likely to continue your fitness habit when training in a group. Your shared identity of being fit will help behaviours last in the long run, (Atomic Habits, James Clear, 2018).
Secondly, when deciding which distance to do for the HHF Fun Run think challenging but realistic. Please read an inspirational example from one of our members Claire Moore. This lady came to us over 5 years ago and found it a struggle to get around the oval. Now, 5 years on she had just completed a 50km trail run! This was never her goal at the start but bit by bit she has kept improving and challenging herself... with lots of whinging along the way ; ) Proud doesn't cut it, she is a pure example of you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
Please read all about her journey:
Have you always been a runner?
No, definitely not, and it’s taken me a while to feel comfortable saying I am a runner. To me runners are faster and more natural and there’s nothing natural or easy about my running. After I was diagnosed with MS in my 30s I accidentally started running, to prove a point. I did some “fun” runs, and Russell and I decided we would run races together, we did a half marathon and I hated it and I said never again. Then we had our daughter, and I joined HHF doing 2 mums sessions a week. We started running again and my husband pushed the pram in races, it evened out our speeds we had fun running all together. Ellie took out the under 10’s winner for the 10km sun run and harbour run when she was under 18 months! I started park running as part of the HHF training for city to surf one year and ended up really enjoying the sense of community, so we kept going back to park run. Then I started training for a half marathon again with HHF with Lara and Cynthia coaching us, this time Lara met us at the finish with Champagne which was brilliant.
What did your training involve?
A lot of running and lots of scabby knees! I followed a training program from Squadrun, who a trail focused coaching group and I was running about 45km a week at the peak. Lots of long runs and training runs in the mountains and as much time on the trails and hills as I could.
What on earth made you decide to do it?
Short answer, I have too many crazy wonderful friends who pushed me into swapping my 22km entry for a 50km, and my friend Natalie, who I’ve known since I was 11 said she’d do it with me!
Long answer, like the run itself, getting to this point was a journey. My friend (Natalie) invited me to join the Running Mums Australia facebook group, and a few years ago there were all these crazy ladies posting stories and pictures about this big weekend of races called UTA. Natalie had started running on the trails and encouraged me to try it. It looked interested and I really wanted to try trail running, but I was too scared. Cynthia volunteered to come and do a trail race at Manly Dam with me, but only if I did the 12km and not the 10km! I think that first time following her round is still my fastest time on that course 😊
Anyway I really enjoyed the run and so convinced Adele to come and do another with me. After a few more 12kms trail races we tried longer races and started exploring some routes on our own, and then we decided we would do the UTA 22km in 2020. The entries sell out really fast, so in September 2019, I was waiting online, like buying festival tickets and got entries for Adele and I into the 22km. Because of COVID UTA was postponed and then eventually cancelled, we carried on training and ended up running the 22km course with some friends as a practise run. A few people from ParkRun then got me involved in another running group and I started running with them a couple of times a week as well as the HHF sessions. I ran a few more trails with and ended up doing a 30km run in the Royal National Park in January, the other people I was running with were all super positive and suggested that I should think about doing the 50km instead of the 22km. Then a friend of a friend who had been taking us for the training runs, also suggested I needed a bigger challenge and that I should step up to the 50km. Cynthia got involved too, convincing me that I really wanted to be an ultra marathoner, and before I knew what was happening Natalie was saying if I did it, she’d do it too and shit got real, I swapped my entry, signed up to a training plan and started to panic!
What was the hardest bit and what got you through?
The hardest bit for me was the week before the race, I was really nervous and really concerned that I’d not done enough training. On race day the most difficult bit if the course was between 7km and 14km which was super technical single trails with loads of stairs and trip hazards. Given I’d already fallen over at 5km on the road, I was really concentrating on my feet and trying not to fall over again. It was great having support on the course, my Russell and Ellie were waiting at the first check point and I got a kiss from Ellie. Later on in the course and just after it had snowed on us, I ran past Jason who’d come out to cheer me on, and that was brilliant. I went into the checkpoint feeling positive. The second half of the race was always going to be better for me. I know the course better and I loved the big long downhill run, I hit 30km feeling good, and just after the last water stop I became a marathoner. I was still feeling good in the last section but plodding carefully as I didn’t want another fall in the technical and dark leura forest. That section seemed to go on forever but eventually I found the stairs, the training kicked in, I powered up the stairs, remembered to walk those last four steps and ran smiling and waving my poles into the finish chute!
Would you recommend it?
Yes!! If can do it anyone can! I’m an ultra marathoner and that that totally happened because of HHF, I couldn’t have done it without Lara, Cynthia and Adele, and I wouldn’t even have considered trail running, if didn’t have base fitness level that comes from doing 3 HHF sessions a week for nearly 6 years.