Kirsty is an awesome and very relatable mum and runner from Australia. Her life is hectic with raising two young kids and she’s not afraid to admit it. We were very inspired by her movement of an online virtual gym, “Move it Mumma” to break down the barriers for mums to exercise. We loved to her goal of becoming more of herself but not less of a mum. Everyone meet Kirsty.
My name is Kirsty and I’m fortunate enough to live in Newcastle Australia which is a glorious part of the world. Words can’t express how excited and humbled I am to be an ambassador for Run Like a girl. It makes my heart sing when I’m able to inspire people to run, or play sport, or anything relating to being fit/healthy/outdoorsy. I have worked as an outdoor guide and a person trainer and I love sharing my passion for running and the zest for life it provides me, and now I can do this in an ‘official capacity’.
My running journey started when I came 3rd in our school cross country when I was 8 or 9. My initial joy was purely based on the fact this meant a day off school to run at regionals. I placed at regionals and much to my delight earned another day off to run at State. I was invited to train with the local private school in the weeks leading up to the state tournament and I still remember the advice the coach gave me – always work hard on hills – it’s where others are lazy – and don’t ease off until you’re over the summit. Probably good advice for school cross country but doesn’t always work in trail runs with epic hills! Still for some reason this stuck with me and I do love hills!
As a competitive gymnast I was reasonably fit. But I really enjoyed the change in nature of running. There was peace in the rhythm. Around this time I also started entering fun runs with my Dad, and we’ve bonded over this ever since. He’s a bit of a hero to me – 69 and still running marathons! One of my favourite moments of 2016 was running a colour run with 3 generations.
I enjoyed running through school, but it was never my primary focus. I was a gymnast, then a soccer and touch football player. I ran casually and entered 1-2 fun runs a year. I often toyed with the idea that maybe one day I’d do a marathon, but it was never a defined goal. Years later when I was working in London, and travelling Europe rock climbing, I casually mentioned to a friend that I might run a marathon one day, and she called me on it. Next thing I knew we’d both signed up for Amsterdam marathon. Climbing took a back step and I running became my thing.
Whilst training I went on holiday to Switzerland with a non running friend – I had decided to forgo all my training for the 10 days other than making sure I got my long run in. I was due to run 22km. When checking into the campsite in Lauterbrunen, we were told the road would be closed on Sunday due to a half marathon. ‘Perfect!’ I thought and signed up. I naively didn’t consider the terrain – the fact it had a 2,200m climb on trails didn’t seem relevant. It was the right distance and meant I didn’t have to run alone. It was an extremely rude awakening to hills and trail running, but still one of my favourite running experiences to date.
Amsterdam itself was also an amazing experience. I truly believe your first marathon is as emotionally exhausting as it is physically. I cried when I crossed the finish line and I still can’t tell you if it was out of joy, euphoria, relief, liberation, pain, exhaustion or devastation – the last one being because I thought I’d missed my goal by 1:04. I opened the water works again an hour later when I found out my net time which was nearly 6 minutes faster.
Since then I’ve completed other marathons, in Australia, and numerous other shorter events around England and Australia. I also play soccer and have been known to do crazy things such as drive to Sydney (2 hours drive) to run the famous City to Surf 14km and drive straight back to play a game of soccer. I’ve also participated in a couple and even won a 24 hour mountain bike race just to mix things up!
I moved to Newcastle 11 years ago. In my second year here they ran the inaugural NewRun race, and I made it a life ambition to complete every single one. So far, I’m 10 out 10 despite having to walk twice (once when I was 5 months pregnant and once with a 5 week old in a baby bjorn carrier). This year will make 11 and I’m hoping to be back to being a little faster.
I Haven’t run as much as I would like over the past 5.5 years I’ve been side tracked being a mum to 2 amazing boys, who are now 4.5 and nearly 2. I’ve been getting my grove back over the last 6 months or so and I’m really looking forward to an amazing year of running in 2017.
I’m mostly a ‘lunchtime warrior’ and try to squeeze a slightly longer run in on the weekend. The days I don’t run at lunch I can be found googling ‘running races with kids’ events’ or ‘running races with nearby camping’ or anything I can find where I can masquerade a running race and a family holiday/weekend away.
Thankfully, my husband is supportive of these holidays despite the fact he’s not a runner; and Mr 4 loves entering the kids races. His first finishers medal says ‘if I had fun, I won’ He now asks me at the end of every race if I won and if I had fun. It melts my heart every single time. I’m looking forward to my younger son being able to join us as well.
While I find great joy in running with my family, I also sometime ‘need’ to run on my own. It’s my me time, my headspace space. There is nothing that centres me more than a solo trail run. These days I’m much more about enjoying the experience of running itself rather than pushing hard and aiming for speed.
When I’m not doing my day job, running, or playing with my kids; I’m working on a project company called ‘Move it Mumma’. We’re creating an ‘online gym’ targeted to mums to help break down the barriers to exercise, and allow mums a bit of ‘me time’ to give them back their health, fitness, and vitality to help them be the best they can be for their mini me’s.
As far as goals go for 2017, my main goals for the year it run as much as I can and become more of me, without being less of a mum, and to grow the ‘Move it Mumma’ business to assist and inspire as many mums possible. I’ve got plenty of races pencilled in, but the big ticket items are Ultra Trail Australia 22 in the Blue Mountains, the above mentioned NewRun half marathon, and Rafferty’s coastal challenge (still deciding between 22km and 35km).
I’ve also signed up for Run Down Under, where you can track your kms (or miles) as you run around Australia… virtually. I’m hoping to make it to Brisbane this year! It’s not a huge distance but it’s realistic for my hectic life.