Meet Karina Pascoe.. A 37 year old woman, youngest of three children who lives in the very flat western suburbs of Adelaide. She has two whippets, loves to keep fit and somewhere along the way became a "coffee snob".
I haven't always been fit, I probably started to get a bit more serious about health and fitness in my late 20's, probably around the same time that the beers starting adding to my chins. I have been running ultra-marathons since 2013, and my first being the inaugural North Face 50. I have to be honest, six months prior to that, I didn't even know what an ultra-marathon was, I thought it was someone overstating their sport 'ultra-athlete' what?!
Two friends of mine had entered the North Face 100 and shared a link to a short video clip from a previous year’s event. That was it....honestly, that's all it took. From that point my curiosity was on a path I had no control over. I followed closely my friends’ journey to 100km greatness and it really started to make me wonder if I could do that... could I? Would I? ...and I must admit the challenge of keeping up with the boys spurred me on that little bit more.
One of my friends helped me build a program, which if you know me, I of course followed religiously. Now that I know a bit more that program was pretty light on, but you know what, it did the job! I travelled over to Katoomba and raced on my own, whilst that sounds a bit sad, it was honestly one of the best things I have ever done. I ran that race in a time of 6:57 and crossed the finish line with a huge sense of pride, independence, strength and relief. NEVER AGAIN.
Since 2013 I have competed in ultra-events each year, including Yurrebilla 56, The North Face 100 (now Ultra Trail Australia), Tarawera 102 and The Old Ghost Ultra. This year I tied my laces for my seventh year at Ultra Trail Australia (so much for NEVER AGAIN).
There isn't any real great reason why I do it, I love to keep fit and if I have learned anything in these last eight years of running, it's that we can all do so much more than we think. Curiosity still very much drives me to put my shoes on and get out of bed, can I run further, can I run faster, can I be stronger. But there is something bigger than that, that really drives me. When I run long distance, I really see what I am made of, and you know what? I like that person out there on the trails. She is strong, focused, determined, stubborn, relentless and never, ever gives up. I never knew I possessed such determination and resilience and I am proud of who I am when I tie up my laces and head for the hills. That's what puts the real fire in my belly.
What's next for me? Wonderland 36 (just last weekend) whilst on the way to another Yurrebilla 56. I have not ran Yurrebilla for a number of years now and can't wait to get out there and see what I can do in 2019. Can I pull a PB all these years later....? (I would be so happy to kick my own butt)! .....Mostly I will be pumped to be out on the trails I know so well, pushing my boundaries and loving that strong girl I see when I accept the challenge my curiosity presents.
It's definitely more than just running.