Ashley Druve has a lot in common with many in our Aussie Grit Apparel community. He’s a committed runner, outdoor enthusiast, husband and father of three.
But, towards the end of 2015, Ashley noticed that he was becoming increasingly tired. Then, in December, he woke up on the floor of his office. Ashley was diagnosed with stage IV NET Cancer and needed lifesaving surgery to remove as many tumours as possible.
He remembers how difficult it was to get back into running;
“The toughest thing I’ve ever done was experimental intravenous radiation therapy in 2017. The doctors weren’t sure I’d survive it and neither was I.
“Getting back into running after that was incredibly hard. I got pulled off that treatment in September 2017 and in February 2018, I ran 2.3km, that was it.
“In September/ October last year I was still collapsing, I’d run and pass out on the side of the road. I’ve just kept pushing and in February this year I raised money for Cancer research by running 555km in the month,” he said.
What drives Ashley is his desire to push himself and enjoy the great outdoors;
“I’m always looking to push harder and further and see what my body can do.
“I like the peace of the bush.
“I was down in the Blue Mountains in January this year, going out for a run. It was early in the morning, about 4.30am, it was still dark. This massive owl was holding a possum in one claw and flew down the trail in front of me. You generally don’t get those moments in the city.
“You’ve got to get away from it all to get that peace and quiet and it’s really about recharging your batteries.”
Like many enthusiastic runners, Ashley has his eye on his next challenge. His ultimate goal is a 400km trail run that finishes at the summit of Mount Kosciuszko which is mainland Australia’s highest peak and, coincidentally, the inspiration for the topography design featured on our garments and branding.
“My big dream is to run from Eden to the top of Mount Kosciuszko by trail through the National Parks. I’m still figuring that out, I have a basic map which is following an old Aboriginal trial. This is where the Aboriginals walked down from the mountains to the coast to collect salt and seafood. It’s about 400kms.
“I’m doing AAA Racing’s The Clint Eastwood LOS in August. That is a 6.83km course, that you run on the hour, every hour. Everyone gets a ‘Did Not Finish’ except the last person standing.”
While he trains for these challenges, Ashley has been putting some Aussie Grit Apparel to the test.
“My favourite bit of kit was the (Focus) Jacket… It’s so quiet, we could hear all the birds and nothing was being scared away by the jacket making noise.
“The long sleeve merino top is great for really cold weather. What was really good about it was that I stopped running and I stayed warm. If you’re wearing a normal shirt, you get cold really quickly.
“The Trail T-shirt I ran in yesterday and I didn’t notice it. That’s what I thought when I finished and that’s perfect. It didn’t rub anywhere or feel uncomfortable,” Ashley said.
Ashley is still undergoing treatment and his cancer is stable which means it’s growing slowly.
“When I was getting sick in 2015, I had gotten to the stage where I was tired and becoming slower, that’s what I noticed. I thought that was just me getting old but it was me being sick. I got rushed to hospital and I was already at stage IV which is terminal.
“The message that I would really like to get out is that if you’re fit and healthy and you’re getting really tired, you need to see a medical professional to get checked over and make sure something isn’t happening in the background,” Ashley said.
Keep an eye out next week for Ashley’s more detailed review of the Focus Jacket.