#whywerun - Justin & Kate McDonald

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Meet Justin & Kate, a vibrant couple based in South Australia with a strong passion for their family and running. You'll likely have come across them as the jk.5k.a.day on Instagram where they've managed to cover 5km a day since 27/12/16.. Earlier this year they decided to up the anti to 10km a day each, which is no easy feat! Fortunately for us, Justin and Kate have shared a bit more into their story and the reasons 'why' they run... Read on to learn more.

Hello readers, Justin and I had a different start to running in life. Justin had a running background from his father, an avid sprinter in his teens, while I had no running in the family at all. However I had a keen interest in sport growing up,  playing netball and tennis and always into fitness. Justin in his late teens competed competitively in Adelaide for the Western Districts Athletics Club and earned selection representing South Australia.

Netball, football, tennis and basketball were a constant in our lives until we joined a local Bootcamp group about 6 years ago. This is when running and strength work started to take over as our main type of fitness, as everything else began to fade.

After about a year of bootcamp, our leader said that she was training for her first marathon. I was shocked as she was just an every day working mother who wasn't super fast but was definitely capable. I didn't even know what distance a marathon was or that every day people could do that. I thought that was just something for elite runners. So in 2014 we decided to do the Adelaide Marathon. At this stage I had never run more than about 4kms and I can actually remember as clear as day the first time I ran 6kms for the first time. Every Sunday I would set out with enthusiasm as every week on that day the furthest I had ever run was going to increase by 2km. When I reached 28kms as my long run Justin thought he might actually join in and start training! The marathon was only 2 weeks away.... Justin joined me for a 20km run that nearly killed him and with sore knees Justin needed those two weeks just to recover.

Race day came and after running together for the first 24kms Justin needed to walk and wished me the best of luck as I strongly ran off. After numerous attempts to keep running, his knees and hips began to seize up. A DNF next to his name was not an option, walking majority of the last 16km with aching knees and hips he finally got to the finish line in last place, 15 minutes after the 6hr cut off. Luckily the clock was still running and he was awarded a time. 

Meanwhile after completing my first marathon in under 4hrs I was over the moon, aside from the fact I was worrying that my husband was lost or had gone to hospital because he'd taken so long.

From there we had both caught the running bug. Me, because I loved it, and Justin because he had to redeem himself. 

Since 2014 we have competed in many running events together, Adelaide Running Festival, Barossa Marathon, Dunkeld Peaks and Trails, Halls Gap Wonderland Run, Mt Gambier Tower Trail Ultra Marathon, Yurrebilla Ultra Marathon, Hamilton Fun Run, Blue Lake Fun Run, City to Bay Fun Run, Melbourne Marathon Festival and more...

Back in December of 2016 a friend of ours, Brad Tilley started a journey to run 5km everyday for a whole year. We both thought this to be a great idea, so we rang Brad and asked if he would mind if we jumped on board and took this challenge on also, to which Brad was very encouraging of. Over two years now, and both of us (along with Brad) are still going stronger than ever continuing this running streak into its third year, some 800 days later. Although, just to push our own boundaries since January 1st this year we have doubled the daily quota to 10km a day. This has been going well for us so far but we happily leave the option open to return to the 5km quota at any stage. We share this running streak daily on our Instagram page @jk.5k.a.day so if your interested in what we do, click on over and take a look.

Why we run....

For us running has done so many wonderful things. Running everyday together has definitely strengthened our relationship, it is almost like having date night every night, (but being too tired for happy endings 😂) We get at least half an our just to chat about anything and everything from the bills we have to pay, how the kids are going at school to what running event we will do next.

We have both found the running community the absolute best of any sporting community either of us have ever been involved in. We have made so many friends through running and have made connections with people from all over the world through sharing a common interest in running. There are no winners or losers in running. That may seem a strange thing to say when of course someone must win every race. But no matter where you finish you are made to feel like a winner simply because when you cross that finish line you are always surrounded by encouraging people. Never in this sport of running do you hear a heckler, never a boo or a hiss, everyone seems to be on the same side, its a sport like no other and we love it.

Not only do we love to share our running adventures, we love to encourage others to join in and try it. So July last year in our home town of Penola in South Australia, we came up with a plan to start our own running group. The idea that we pitched through a Facebook page was for runners and walkers of any age, shape, size and abilities to all come together at organised times to motivate each other and simply enjoy a chat and a run. So the Penola Running Crew was born, search for our Facebook page and take a look and if anyone is ever passing through our country town, please stop, say G'day and join us for a run, we would love to see you.

Along with these reasons another is the health benefits. Neither of us drink anymore, we both enjoy eating healthier and feel better and stronger daily. We are not the diet kind of people, we simply make healthier choices and it has just become a way of life to eat and drink better. But don't let us fool you, we do have the odd day of not so good foods but when it doesn't happen often you don't feel so guilty. 

We have managed to accomplish all of this while being working parents of 3 amazing children. Our eldest daughter is 15 years old and without her none of this would have been possible. She helps to watch over the boys while we run and on many occasions she herself will join us for a few kilometers as do our two boys whether it be by foot or bike. Our children seem to be quite proud of having active parents as they will regularly talk about their mum and dad that are 'famous' and run 5k a day. This is so lovely and we all enjoy being a happy active family. 

Thanks kids, we love you.

#whywerun #fractelrunning

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1 Comment

  • Great job legends. Looking forward to many more years of 5kaday with you.

    Brad Tilley on

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