takayna Ultra 2019
When I heard of this event, nothing had screamed 'YES!' louder over the past 12 months during my time in the trail running world.
Why? Because takayna Ultra, is much more than a running race. It is a combination of activism, physical challenge, raw scenic beauty and an opportunity to help save a part of our home planet.
The event experience was one of grounded unity. The feeling at the pre race briefing was one I'd liken to a race briefing from 10 years ago. No mobile phones were out, distracting the interactions between people, quickly breaking down the barrier between stranger and friend.
Raising awareness and funds to help support the Bob Brown Foundation and its campaign to help save The Tarkine Wilderness was one aspect of this race which brought a community feeling which is unseen at many (if any) other running races.
This was the difference, I believe and it was a pleasure to be a part of.
My decision not to run this race came from the desire to help this race evolve and be recognised for what it is. I felt my time was better spent collecting memories and content of the event to help it continue to be a significant event on the global running calendar.
Below is a clip of the day.
Please, support this event, The Bob Brown Foundation and its many great campaigns!
My latest personal Bio
This was in interview I did with a good friend Jade Hunter. It can also be found at wildlimes.org coming very soon.
Firstly, explain a little about what you do and your background.
I dedicate my time to facilitating personal growth and experiences for people in the outdoors, different cultures and challenging environments.
Since stepping aside from my profession as an Engineer, I have been training and travelling as a professional athlete and coach in Ultra Distance Running. This has allowed me to experience the uncomfortable separation from the cosiness and security of our societal norms, which had a strong vice on my life and its direction.
I coach people wanting to taste what it is like to prepare for endurance events such as Ultra Running and life. This involves physical and mental conditioning on an individual level which is a cathartic process to work though and it demands patience and commitment.
Large changes in my life direction has come through the practice of running, meditation, becoming vegetarian and following the path of uncertainty and facing fear.
At any one point, I remind myself to love the experience we have here in this moment which is both infinite and instantaneous.
Do you remember your mindset before adapting a healthier lifestyle. Was it a difficult transition?
I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. For me and like many people, anything can be justified and there are many reasons and excuses to live the life we live without change or the want to change.
So essentially my mindset was similar, however I ended up wanting to really drink a lot of water as opposed to beer. This came through countless experiences and comparing the feeling of them all.
The hardest thing about transition is dealing with peoples opinion. Part of Wild Limes is changing this social paradigm.
Tell us about how you started running.
I started running as a way of expelling some energy and tension after a move to London. I had recently played a lot of Aussie Rules Football and this was my medium for exercise and competition.
Running also doubled as my commute to work, allowing me to avoid the sweaty and claustrophobic maze of the London Tube system replacing it for a morning and afternoon dose of either rain, hail or sunshine.
Why did you become vegetarian?
Originally it was a personal challenge, it started on January 1st just like any good challenge does. The reasons for remaining vegetarian multiplied over time and through my experience with this way of life.
I have now progressed to being Plant Based entirely and its another positive decision for me so far.
What positive benefits did you notice?
I felt a lot better mentally and despite feeling really uncomfortable at many social outings, I knew it was worth it, for me.
It is a challenge and continually standing up for the reasons for doing it, allows me to develop confidence in new areas of my life.
What was the reaction of your peers to your new lifestyle choices?
The main reaction I notice was how uncomfortable others were with a change I made to my life. Its comical how may people try to change my mind on the matter all the while just reassuring to themselves that it’s ok to continue eating meat and animal products.
Learning to realise other peoples opinion in non of your business, is a big take away.
What does a typical day look like for you- food wise?
I eat a lot of plant based food stuff.
Really, I’m not one for pairing superfoods in a stylish way. For a nearly 10 years now I have thought as food as fuel. I am often drinking a pond water type tonic which is super healthy but lacks little on the flavour scale.
Plenty of vegetable, fruit, grains and legumes in any order, combination or time of day usually makes up my day of fuel.
What has trail running taught you?
It’s important to listen to how we feel not what we think.
The outdoors is vital for human health.
You just need to go for a run in order to change your opinion of the day.
Making exercise an element of your daily habit is so good for mental health.
Highlights of your career? Most memorable experiences?
I am always stoked to look back at some of the events I have run and just say that I was able to prepare for them to the best of my abilities and execute a game plan on race day.
UTMB is a 170 km event in the French Alps with 10,000 m of elevation change, competing in this event was a highlight. But really, when I complete any Ultra, there is always a lot of positive to take away from the experience no matter how it looks on a results sheet.
Do you have a daily meditation practice? Tell us about it.
I took the time to sit a 10 day Vipassana course and this has given me a profound meditation practice which I can use on a daily basis.
I do not always start the day with meditation, but I do find time at some point in the day to practice.
It is not easy, like anything with a huge benefit. It is a practice just like training in the physical sense. The mind is a powerful muscle we need to exercise.
Meditation opens up a world which is greater then what we can imagine.
Why do you believe it’s important for men to look after their health- Mind, body, spirit?
In order to obtain a fulfilled and happy life we can only start from with in.
It is a complete illusion to think external things can provide happiness. We must do the hard work on the inside to have any lasting benefits in our daily lives.
This is the exact same for all humans, be it men, women or otherwise.
What advice would you give guys who are interested in exploring a more holistic approach to health?
Explore your curiosity or you will miss out on experiencing fulfilling moments.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
We are now in a time where individuals are able to stand tall as individuals. Confining to a societal norm is not necessary and anyone can become happier and become a better being for this world if they choose to follow a path which feels right for them.