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Bruce Brothers Cape to Cape for Cancer

The ‘Cape to Cape’ run, taking place on the majestic Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia, will span 160km – the distance between Cape Willoughby and Cape Borda (154.2km) plus a little extra to make it a happy 100 miles.

Angus and Jackson completed the Cape to Cape Fastest Known time route in 20hrs 37minutes, 156.56km, all for reasons that go deeper than just beating the clock.

1. Where did your love for running begin?

As a young kid I always enjoyed running, but quickly realised I wasn’t very fast! And as I got older, and went to boarding school, I soon realised I wasn’t that fast over distances that were considered ‘long’ i.e. the 3 and 5km runs for sports day etc. (thanks to guys like you Riley)

I think I’ve always loved running, but never felt like I was getting enough out of myself/pushing myself far enough as a kid. Footy, school sports days etc were fun, and although I was never the fastest, I always felt like I had more to give. It wasn’t until I was out of school, and living in Sydney, and a couple of my housemates were in to running, that I realised that long distance running was limitless as far as what distance you want to run, and how far you want to push yourself!

I ran my first 100km Ultra at 21, and Jacko was similar. For me, I chose to run around the SA Athletics track for 250 laps, and for Jacko, he ran a point to point over near home on the Yorke Peninsula, passing places of significance for him/us i.e. our grandparents place, uncles farm, his partners families home etc. A really cool concept, and such a great way to bring up his first 100km.

"We have always dreamed of doing a long run like this together. Both of us have done some other ultra events previously but are still relatively new to it, so the idea of doing it together allows us to push each other and also support each other," said Jackson.

2. What/who/when inspired you to take on this run? Why KI

We have always wanted to do a big run together, and when Jacko stumbled upon the Fastest Known Time route, we loved the idea of running across an island. We both love pushing ourselves and seeing what we are capable of physically and mentally, and we just thought why not do something big as brothers, and see what we can achieve together.

The idea of setting the FKT is a really cool concept that for us to achieve together would be incredible. The appeal for us also is running from one side of an island to the other and if we are able to achieve the FKT that is something we will certainly be really proud of. - Jackson.

We’ve been running anywhere from 60-90km a week since late December, methodically following our training program from coach David Turnbull from Perform Best.

Mentally, it is a long time to focus, and we both believe the mental aspect is the most important to being able to keep pushing when times are tough. To complete a run like this self-motivation is really important as well as drawing motivation from external factors such as all the incredible people that have donated and those people and families that Canteen supports”. Jacko

3. Did you run for a specific cause?

We ran for Canteen Australia. Contribute to our fundraiser here.

2 in 5 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer throughout their life. Unfortunately, cancer as a disease influences almost all of us either directly, or via family or friends/someone in your community. And dealing with cancer at any age is tough, but particularly for youth and young people, it is such a hard thing to go through,” Angus

We’re choosing to suffer for 24 hours, but so many young people suffer much worse from situations completely out of their control… it’s nice to know that our small but will contribute to an not for profit who work tirelessly to make young peoples lives better.

We grew up in a small country town, and for us, community has always been at the centre of what we do, so it’s always been a mindset of finding a way to bring as many people along for the journey as possible.

A saying that I love is ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’ - and that’s essentially the mantra for this run, and for our decision to fundraise for Canteen. We want to bring as many people along on this journey with us as we can.”

4. Who were you main supporters?

Mum, Dad, Claudia, Lauren and our extended family for their ongoing support of everything we do. Our coach David ‘DT’ Turnbull for preparing us and making sure we were ready to tackle this project, we trust in you 110%. To Dec, Justin and Ash, a huge thank you for capturing the run, and helping tell our story.

None of this was possible without our whole team, and you, the community that rallied behind us. The Yorkes community has been truly special, and shows how lucky we are to call the YP home.

To our sponsors, Sportitude, New Balance, Fractel, PREPD and Octeine Coffee, thank you for backing us and your support.

We can’t thank everyone enough for their messages of support, and all of the donations, means the absolute world.

5. Any doubts or tough moments during the run?

We bounce off of each other really well, so for the most part, we got though really good. Jacko fought early to overcome a sore achilles/calf, but besides that, we were up and about for a large majority. Particularly between 90 and 130kms we were in a groove and flying along the empty highway at night. We took in our surroundings, chatted quite a bit, and put our headphones in from time to time to break things up.

The final 30kms were a real battle in the depths of the dark/early morning, and as the rain set in, we were made to earn every kilometre.

The last 30ish kilometres were on a very corrugated dirt road, which made it hard to get in a rhythm or find some consistency. So that was a particularly testing time. As you can imagine we had to dig really deep to keep the legs ticking over when they were burning towards the end. This meant walking, limping, whatever we could muster to get us to the finish.

Lots of interesting/tough moments including:

  • almost stepping on a snake just before sunset
  • a missed turn that cost us a couple kms
  • some very sore and blistered toes

    6. What was the one thing keeping you going?

    We had a million reasons to run on. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivators were limitless.

    Running for Canteen Australia was a constant reminder that we were running for more than just ourselves. As a good mate said to me before the run, we had 16,000 reasons to keep running, and by the end of the run we had more than $24k reasons to grit our teeth and get to Cape Borda.

    Hearing stories from families that have been supported by Canteen has been inspiring and reinforces the incredible job they do. The least we can do is fundraise as much as we possibly can to help Canteen provide much needed support to families affected by cancer”. Jacko

    Angus said that through the challenges, “Honestly, the single biggest motivator will be having each other there throughout the whole run. I can’t wait to ride the highs and lows together, and push ourselves collectively to the finish line. We’ve been dreaming and brainstorming this run for so long, it’s going to be unbelievable to finally be on the island in the depths of the run”.

    7. Funny moments or stuff ups?

    Mentioned a few in Q6, but a few more below.

    • Missed turn that cost us an extra 2km on the FKT route (but not the 100miles obviously)
    • Listening to each other belting out tunes with headphones in, Jacko loves a sing, and was cranking out some Miley Cyrus and Limp Bizkit to keep himself going
    • Both of us realising at the same time that we hadn’t put any ‘gooch goo’ on and that things were starting to get a bit tender down there… ill let you decide if you want to put that in haahahahahaha
    • Watching each other hobble like old men through the last 3km to the 100miles… we looked broken

    8. Have you always had a strong bond?

    Our bond has definitely grown as we have gotten older, but yes, we have always been close. Growing up in a tiny country town, we spent a lot of time together as kids, as there was only a few other families in the town. We’ve always had similar interests i.e. footy, WWE wrestling as kids, basketball, similar music tastes etc. but for the most part we are quite different people.

    A key component to our bond is that we fuel off each other really well. I think I speak for both of us when I say our individual drive to push ourselves is only second to our desire to see the other succeed. We always have each other's backs, and want nothing but the best for each other. So it creates a positive feedback loop of motivation.

    9. Whats next?

    For me, the aim is to build back a stable base, and avoid any injuries. The last time I did a run of this length I pushed it too hard trying to get back quickly, and suffered shin splints for over a year and a half. So for me it is to get back to running injury free, and then take it from there.

    For Jacko, he will focus on the beginning of the footy season. He will miss round 1 recovering, but hopes to be back ASAP.

    I have no doubt that we will tackle other ultras together in the future, and maybe the ‘Bruce Brothers’ becomes a duo for future FKT/other challenges

    Words by Angus Bruce and Jackson Bruce

    Images: Declan Hartley-Brown


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