Ultra-Marathon

What is an ultra-marathon?


An ultra-marathon is any race longer than a marathon, which is 42.195 km, or 26.2 miles. Ultra marathons range from 50km runs to 12 or 24 hour races, to six-day races, runs across continents up to the Sri Chinmoy 3100 mile race held in New York.


I always enjoyed running - I competed in national athletics leagues as a youngster and ran half-marathons at university. After that my participation lapsed somewhat, until a series of events led me to accidentally run a marathon.


In April 2008, I read about a man called Dave Heeley (‘Blind Dave’ to his friends) who was running 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents. I decided to go down to the Sydney leg to run part of the way with him. Much to my surprise, I managed to run the entire marathon with him. I was exhausted, but my love of running was re-born.


By 2009 I had the Canberra Marathon’s 50km race under my belt. Finishing my first Ultra-Marathon was an extraordinary feeling and I wanted more. The following year I trained my heart out to prepare for the 100 km Oxfam Trailwalker team event in Sydney. Later that year, I won the Narrabeen All-Nighter 12 hour race with a course record of 103.8 km. That effort remains in the top 25 all-time Australian performances for a 12-hour road race.


In 2010 I stepped it up again, running 4 consecutive marathons into the 24 hr Track Australian Championships at the University of Queensland, notching up 5th place overall (3rd female). I ran 100 miles in less than 22 hours.


This year I entered the world of multi-day races, completing the Big Red Run - a 6-day race covering 250km in the Simpson Desert.


Long-distance running gives me immense joy and a sense of freedom. I am able to meet wonderful people and enjoy the camaraderie of the ultra-running family. Here’s to many more races to come.


For more information about ultra-marathons, visit the Australian Ultra Runners Association (AURA).

Top: The Coburg 6-hour race in 2014 Middle: Finishing my second Comrades Marathon (89km) in 2014 Bottom: Running my “accidental” first marathon, in 2008 with the exceptional Dave Heeley and his sight guide Mac Carr. I’m in the white top wearing #20.
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