Having completed 3 Oxfam Trailwalkers myself, I still can't quite believe Kellie Emmerson when she tells me she found her love for trail running when friends convinced her to participate in the gruelling 100km event. My disbelief continues when I read they were 1st women's team, 2nd overall and rumor has it that her team, Trails Plus, that year broke the Course record by over an hour! So who exactly is this Wonder Woman who has taken to the dirt and trails so naturally?
OK Kellie Emmerson? Describe Yourself in 7-10 Words
Trail & Ultra Runner & Coach. Occupational Therapist. Student. Driven. Focued. Outdoor Lover.
Where does your trail running inspiration stem from?
My inspiration mostly comes from my own drive and motivation to challenge myself and achieve the impossible. I started trail running thanks to good mates convincing me to do the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker with them in 2011.
I haven't looked back since! I love that the sport is so diverse, open to people of all ages and all walks of life. It's such a great community to be a part of. I am also so appreciative that my body can take me to the most beautiful places- there is only a small percentage of the population who will ever get to see some of the views and remote places I have seen.
Your most rewarding moment?
There have been a few of late.
-Winning the 2014 Surf Coast Century with a new course record was really exciting. I got to share the experience with all my best trail buddies and the 2XU Camberwell run crew whom I coach.
-Winning the 2015 Trails Plus Maroondah Dam 50km trail run with a new course record was overwhelming. I shaved 28 minutes off my PB on this course, despite running my heart out the year before as the Australian Championship race. This was great confirmation that my training is paying off.
What couldn't you do without when you run ?
My Garmin, a good sports bra, and a good pair of trail shoes.
Your next event?
Im so very honoured to have been selected to run for Australia at the World Trail Championships. This will take me to Annecy, France, in May 2015 for a race called Maxi. It is 85km with 5200m elevation gain. All my focus is on this at present, and I am really enjoying the journey, incorporating long trail runs, speed work, resistance training, hot yoga, and hiking with a weight vest.
Your Biggest Supporter?
My amazing partner, who doubles as my manager, training partner, masseuse, photographer, chef, tour guide etc etc.
A year from now what would you like to have achieved?
I would love to have competed at the Worlds with a satisfying performance, and injury free. I am also hopeful that I might have competed in my first Multi-day race in India.
Your best advice in getting started trail running for a woman? How does she get involved and what will she need initially?
Find a local running group. Trails can be daunting at first and it pays to go with someone with some experience and knowledge of the area.
There are heaps of informal Facebook trail groups out there. Everyone is very friendly and always willing to guide newbies on their way.
Initially you won't need anything out of the ordinary, though it is smart to always be safety conscious, as there are many things that can go wrong out in the wild.
- Map your route, and let someone know where you plan on going.
- Always take a phone and some water.
- Be conscious of the weather- consider taking a jacket, even if it looks nice outside. If you're in the mountains the weather can change in an instant. Also consider a snake bandage.
- Trail shoes can be very beneficial- they generally allow good support with extra grip.
Once you begin to enter races you might find that they have mandatory gear:
A basic gear list may include:
- Hydration pack (including bladder, whistle and safety blanket).
- Waterproof jacket with sealed seams and a hood.
- Emergency food and water
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Thanks Kellie! Best of luck in your 2015 pursuits.