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And The Winner of The Ultra Trail Australia Entry is….

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Kate Shedden is the winner of an Ultra Trail Australia 100 entry, drawn by Mark Webber at our new collection launch in Sydney in September.

We will be following Kate’s journey through a series of blogs as she prepares for UTA 2020. Kate will be coached by Aussie Grit ambassador and two time winner of UTA100, Brendan Davies of UP Coaching.

In this first blog written by Brendan, he tells us about the beginning of Kate’s training journey, and Kate tells us how she felt upon hearing her name called as winner.

“…and the winner of the UTA100 entry is….

I remember thinking (and probably saying aloud), this is definitely the one time you probably don’t want your name pulled out of the lucky draw! I mean imagine having that thrust on you!

I met Kate for the first time at the Aussie Grit Apparel launch of their new range of clothing, and yes, soon after hearing her name pulled out of the bowl.

I couldn’t help but feel for her, and the inner rescuer in me came out. I looked over to her reaction and read her tell-tale signs. She was putting on the face of someone grateful - that look of outward calmness with an inner panic.

So, when the dust settled, I went and introduced myself and told her that what she is feeling is absolutely normal! I mean, she went into the night registered in the very smart, and safe, UTA22 as her first foray into trail running - and she was about to leave with UTA100 on the horizon!

I mean shoot for the stars…reach the moon and be happy, but no one ever expects to be sent to the moon!

Kate is one of a rare breed of athlete I’ve met in my time as a coach. She is the type that says ‘yes I will’ before there’s any second thought. And believe me, I gave her every opportunity to take the ‘thanks, but no thanks route’.

After introducing myself and offering my coaching services to her at gratis (maybe another double edged prize!), I advised her to think long and hard about the task ahead and if it was even possible to fit into her next six months of life, and to get back to me after the weekend.

When I reached out after the weekend Kate was nothing but positive and enthusiastic, and there, ‘Mission UTA100 2020’ for Kate Shedden was launched!

We spoke, I listened to her goals (to finish) and she took note of my advice. Her training would be relentless and her journey tough, but the rewards would be outrageously satisfying if she showed the key elements: consistency, dedication and a whole lot of grit!

Grit in training. Grit to get up at 4am to drive up to the Blue Mountains to train at 6am. Grit to say no to friends who want to go out on Saturday night to all hours. Grit to put herself first when it matters.

I’m glad to say that Kate has got off to a great start with her UTA100 mission. On Sunday she ran with my UP Coaching Squad and knocked out a casual 32km over rolling hills at Glenbrook.

What comes next will be a gradual increase in her volume and frequency of training load, and an education in how to not just prepare physically in training, but how to take in and learn the myriad of variables that make or break a successful UTA100 run.

Kate has signed up to my UTA Training Days which will give her great insight into what it takes to complete a 100km event. She was not able to come to the first session, so she came to one of my squad’s long runs last weekend instead.

I look forward to sharing this journey towards UTA100 with Kate. I know she has the grit and determination to get her to that finish line come May!

We asked Kate about how she felt upon winning the UTA100 entry.

“Initially overwhelmed and super nervous. I've entered a few sporting challenges in the past however have never been so unsure as to if I could complete this one. My safe place is in the ocean; I love swimming. So, I literally felt like a fish out of water!  Plus, I can’t lie, the added pressure of letting down Mark Webber and the Aussie Grit team was definitely front of mind too.

BUT, Brendan's encouraging words the day after the raffle (I woke up to a very supportive message), and continued support since has helped a lot. I’m still a little nervous, but mostly excited - bring on the journey of jumping in headfirst to the world of trail running!” - Kate 

Keep an eye out for updates on Kate's training!

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