We recently came across the adventurous 'Sydney Trail Sisters' on social media and had to know more. Fortunately, Hannah Porteous was kind enough to give up her time to share in detail the background behind the name, her passion for the outdoors and business as well as her up-coming events. Read on to learn more...
"Allison and I were certainly not always 'runners', in fact we are not even sisters. However the two aspects developed simultaneously and now I would say we are definitely both. I've been hiking from an age where my pack was almost bigger than me – it's my jam. As for running, even though I have dabbled the odd fun-run and marathon, there was something about road running that never really stuck. Moving to Sydney was the perfect catalyst for my physical life to skyrocket. But it wasn't until a friend noticed my life-obsession with the outdoors and suggested I get into trail running that running became an important part of my life. I loved the idea of it but had no clue what it entailed. That was all about to change.
Turning up to my first trail run looking like a complete rookie, I got absolutely flogged. I was exhausted and exhilarated all at once. I tackled the Jabulani 22km, Raffertys 36km and then entered my first Ultra in the Blue Mountains, The Ultra Trail Australia (UTA) 50km. I was hooked. Ultra was like a whole different level. There is an aspect of timelessness. The fact that the end is so far away means you can be completely present. Other than hiking, I'm not sure if I have experienced that before.
At this time, Allison was an Australian ice-skater training heavily for Worlds 2018 in Sweden. As her trainer and friend I coerced her into hitting the trails with me. A fellow outdoor-junkie, this Canadians arm wasn't hard to twist. However it wasn't always the most relaxed run for me because her athletic career was dependant on her ankle health so there was always a sigh of relief when we finished without injury. Phew! As soon as she retired, after 26 years on the ice it was all stations go!
Throughout 2018 any free time we had was spent on the trails – hiking or running it didn't matter. It was never about the speed but the connection with nature and the downtime.
Trips to Kangaroo Island, The Blue Mountains, The Camino de Santiago, The Himalayas, The Great Ocean Road, Yosemite National Park and multiple NZ trips (my favourite) had us wanting more. Each holiday was spent on the trails as opposed to your typical week by the beach, it's these sweaty adventures that re-energise us. And it's adventures/races like this, that push boundaries and challenge us have meant developing a bond beyond friendship, a true sisterhood. Our last trip to Tasmania was spent hiking with family along the Three Capes Trek then running through various National Parks; summiting Frenchman’s Cap, Cradle Mountain, spending New Years on Mt. Ossa and finishing up in the paradise that is Wineglass Bay. What a place!
There was something about being part of a culture that is equally focused on epic physical challenges and supportive community that solidified my love for trail running. It's awesome to drive toward a seemingly insane goal with the encouragement of everyone around you.
For us it's about making movement fun. It always has been. Trail running feels like the ultimate combination of everything we enjoy. And this is why we run.
What about when we are not on the trails?
I am a personal trainer and the founder of @shiftwellbeing – I'm on a mission to help other people feel awesome through movement. Based off my experience with movement and how it underpins my life in such a positive way, I developed #PARKSWEAT, a womens outdoor training group. It's all about pushing boundaries, getting stronger, having fun and supporting each other. Allison joined me in this venture last year and it's been a blast working together to share our love for getting sweaty, feeling strong and building community.
So what's next?
May is a big month for us. I'm tackling the Margaret River Ultra 80km along the spectacular and rugged beaches and cliffs of Western Australia while Allison is taking on her first 100km at UTA in the Blue Mountains (nothing like pushing the limits on your first 100km hey?). We have our sights set on Western States in 2020 but before that we are lined up for The OCC in Europe and The Blackall 100km in Queensland."