Tell us more about yourself Jacqui, how and when you started to fall in love with ultra running and with sport in general?
24 years of age from Brisbane, Australia and I have been a personal trainer working in gyms since I was 16 when I completed my certificate 3 and 4 in Fitness. I then continued on and completed a Diploma in Fitness and Diploma in Sport and Recreation. So it is safe to say that health, fitness and exercise has always been a huge part of my life. In school I ran in the cross country team but I didnʼt specifically train for it, I was actually a tennis player which consumed 30+ hours of my week when I was younger. I think it was the fitness and work ethic from all of this training that I draw from in my ultra running now. When I was 17 I began traveling a lot and used running to stay fit so that was my first introduction into running – I used running to see the places I was traveling to. I love the feeling I get after a training session or run, I just feel so good mentally and physically – makes me feel fit, strong and clear in the mind.
What were the toughest races you’ve ever been?
The toughest race would be Namibia Desert in Africa which was my first ever race because I didnʼt know what I was getting myself into and I didnʼt have any experience with multi stage racing. When shit hit the fan for me I didnʼt know how to deal with it and I just crumbled and I had a really really rough time getting through the race – particularly the long stage. The Grand Canyon race was also very tough as it was so much soft sand and it was very hot but because it was my 7th race I had a lot more experience and was able to deal with the situations that arose.
We can imagine that ultra means difficult moments during the races. How you manage to overpass them?
Through being faced with more and more of the tough moments I have learnʼt how to deal with them. The times when I really want to quit and I’m in a lot of pain, well I now know that this is just momentary and it will pass. I just have to focus my energy on what is going well and stay in a positive mindset. It always does pass, I just have to remember that. Worst case if I feel like I canʼt deal with it myself in that moment, then I will work hard to run ahead to another competitor if I have this option and try to use the camaraderie to lift my spirits.
From all the endurance experiences you’ve had so far, why multi stage? What makes these kind of races so special?
Multi stage is about not only the running but the whole experience!
Getting to see countries is a raw and spectacular way – running ,cross them and this really takes you off the beaten track which not many people get to see. You also get a real taste of the culture and how the locals live with a real taste of the nature and outdoors in these places. Not only this but you are pushing your mind and body for a whole week, the lessons you learn about yourself and others are things you can really implement into life back home and draw upon in tough situations you face in daily life. My favorite part would be the people I meet, I have lifelong friends scattered all around the world from the bonds we form competing in these races together.
If you are to chose between 200 miles multi stage and 200 miles non-stop what’s gonna be?
At this stage 200 miles multi stage because multi stage is what I am experienced in and is what suits me best with my running and my cross training and plays on my strengths best. 200 miles maybe one day but at this time in my life the multi stage suits me best and is what I enjoy most.
What’s the mileage you often put into when preparing a multi stage race?
I speak in KMʼs and ideally I would be running 150kmʼs a week but due to a number of niggling injuries I have been only able to get in about 70kmʼs a week recently but makeup for the lack of kmʼs running with a lot of bike, swimming and cross training. I donʼt let injuries stop my completely I just work around it.
Have you had a moment during a race when you were about to quit? What was your motivation to continue?
For sure in desert race 1 in Nambia I thought I was going to die on that long day but I couldnʼt withdraw, if I quit this race it was so much more than quitting the run for me it would be quitting on everything. I guess for me it symbolized more than just the run for me. Also I had paid money for the next 3 races in the grand slam haha so I had a big financial investment haha.
Now that you became the youngest person ever to complete a multi stage self supported ultra on each continent, whatʼs next?
For me it is now about improving in these races. Not just there to participate but to really compete and see how hard I can push myself to see how well I can do. I love this type of racing so will be sticking to this, it isnʼt about going bigger and further I am very happy with these races.
Why Ultra Race Romania? What do you think sets this race apart from others?
I know the directors of the race and have competed alongside both of them and really align with their values so I know that the ethos of the race will be really on point. I think it really is a big part of a race who plans the events from the big details down to the smaller things and I trust that it will be a super spectacular race which will attract some epic humans from all parts of the globe to compete. Romania is also a very off the beaten track country that I would never of imagined myself visiting so that is a huge draw card for me to see. Because the two directors have competed a lot themselves I think this will set the race apart because they will know what competitors are after and looking for in the races so can implement from their personal experiences to make it the very best race! I canʼt wait 🙂