Earlier this year, On January 22, Brooke Thomas an ultra runner and nurse, finished running the 3,000km Te Araroa Trail. Which starts at Cape Regina in the North Island and runs through to Buff, which is the bottom of the South Island.
Brooke started her journey (supported) on November 26, 2020 and ran for 57 days, 12 hours, breaking the Te Araroa women’s route record by almost nine days!
During this episodes Brooke shares more about her love of running and why she wanted to take on this challenge, she shares the high points; running 100km in one day and finishing the challenge. To reflecting back on when she ending up in hospital and not knowing if she would be able to carry on. We talk about the logistics and the physical and mental preparation. Brooke also shares more about her heart condition and how having a pacemaker/defibrillator installed has impacted on her life and running.
Brooke was raising money for Heart Kids, a nonprofit organisation in New Zealand that supports children living with heart defects.
Brooke in her own words:
“At age 22 I was diagnosed with a heart condition and became the recipient of an inserted cardiac pacemaker/defibrillator. Being told you have a long term condition at that age, I reckon it's probably pretty normal to go through the journey of feeling hard done by, asking 'why me', then eventually learning to accept and embrace it.
One of my favourite quotes is that "it's not the throw, but the catch". You can't always choose what life might chuck at you, but you decide how to receive it, and what to do next.
Being a nurse and witnessing the enormous challenges some patients go through has also definitely helped me to stay grounded when it comes to my own condition, and 100% inspired me to keep pushing my own boundaries.
I guess the best thing I've learned through my own experiences is that you never know how long you're going to get in life to do all the things you want to do. We've just got to make the most of what we’ve got and embrace any opportunity you get while you can.
For me, anything that both scares me and makes me question myself is definitely something I want to try!”
“Running the length of a country is without doubt the toughest challenge I have ever undertaken before. Yet some how all the moments of struggle, exhaustion, frustration and disbelief in myself are so quickly forgotten in comparison to the excitement, raw happiness and gratitude that I have experienced throughout this journey.” - Brooke Thomas
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Listen to Brooke Now!
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Who is Brooke
Not thinking of herself as an athlete
Going running with her dad when she was younger
Living in Queenstown
Coming from a close family
Having a twin sister
Her running journey
Being into rowing at a competitive level
Using running as an outlet
Training 2x a day for rowing
Quitting rowing due to a heart condition
Having a pace maker fitted to help her heart beat
What her pace maker does
Not being able to compete in the world championships
The transition period from professional athlete to having a pace maker fitted
Finding your own limits
Building back her confidence with running
Deciding to run the full length of New Zealand
Being inspired by Mina Holder and Lucy Clark
Meeting her running coach - Adam Keen
The planning and preparation for the trip
Wanting to start the trail in November
Getting 2 months off work
Thinking about the record
Wanting to proof something to herself
Feeling the pressure from being behind schedule
Feeling like a failure every day
The magical moments while on the trail
Dealing with the challenging sections and moments
Fuelling her body!
Getting into flow while running
The beauty of trail running and community
Dealing with the challenging river crossings
Dealing with food care
Documenting her journey in order to get the FKT (Fastest Known Time)
Wearing a Coros watch
The finish line..
The final 100K - a nice round number
The biggest lesson learned from running the TA
The power of believing in yourself
Thinking about the worst case scenario
Getting back to work straight away
Follow Brooke and donate to Heart Kids - links down below.
Instagram - @brooke_bt_thomas
Charity donation link
Brooks Running Coach - Aerobicedge Coaching
Listen to Mina Holder on the Tough Girl Podcast
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