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
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
Survival Run Australia, NSW, Nov 2017; or
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.
Thank you in advance