When Michael Richardson moved to Townville in 2010 from the NSW South Coast, he discovered a whole new world of outdoor activity. He has since embraced it with both hands; winning the Enduro event at Adventurethon Magnetic Island this year (13km paddle, 23km mountain bike and 12.1km trail run), and is now turning his focus to the Townsville Running Festival’s iconic Marathon, which will be his longest run yet.
We caught up with the Sealink engineer/master to find out what he loves about adventure sport, how he manages to cross-over disciplines so easily, and his tips for others tackling Adventurethon’s National Challenge at Pallarenda next month.
“I must have fallen out 14+ times and had a backpack on that filled with water. I paddled around the headland into Picnic Bay with feet over the sides for balance and felt like crying. I learnt a lot during that race and I’m still finding ways to do things better now”
What events have you done this year and what are you training for now? I’ve had a busy start to the year competing in the Magnetic Island Adventurethon Enduro [Michael won this event in 3:19:59], Townsville Road Runners Dash for Cash, Free Radicals Tri Club’s 100km for the ANZAC 100th anniversary, Hilly Half Marathon Hamilton Island, and the Outer Limits Two Bays Trail Run. I’m registered for the Townsville Marathon in the Townsville Running Festival and possibly the Townsville Triathlon Festival, Great Whitsunday Run and Pallarenda Adventurethon, the National Challenge (as a team runner).
Is there any specific goal that you’re working towards at the moment? I’m focused on putting in a good time for my first marathon in August.
What training are you currently doing? All my training is focused on this marathon [August 2] and I’m using an online training program and a coach: Sidney Willis from Outer Limits Adventure Fitness. I’m mostly running and doing some road biking.
How do you find the time to train across so many different disciplines, especially with a young family and full-time work [Michael has a three-year-old daughter and a baby boy]? Before I enlisted the help of Sidney, I would try to squeeze in some sort of training in any spare moment (even lunch breaks) with few rest days and no real structure. Having a clear goal and training program has given me more time to relax with my family.
Are there any training secrets to being a successful crossover athlete? I just enjoy adventures with mates; whether it’s SUPs, surf skis, mountain biking, road biking and trail runs. I usually focus on my weakest leg of an event and concentrate most of my training on that.
What do you love about the Adventurethon events in particular? I’ve competed in four Adventurethon events now and I love the fact that – as challenging as the courses are – people of all ages and fitness levels get involved. Competitors cheer each other on throughout the entire race and friends and family pump you up in transition. I’d like to try one of the out-of-town Adventurethons in the future for a different challenge.
Do you have any tips for others thinking of giving the race at Pallarenda a go? Watch out for crocodiles, snakes and spiders (laughs). A dual suspension bike will make the ride comfortable and save energy for the run: It can get hot during the run leg.
What sporting achievement are you most proud of? Winning the Adventurethon Enduro at Maggie this year was a proud moment. I had family and friends cheer me on the entire race and down the finish. Must have been third time lucky!
Do you have any particularly memorable active moments? The paddle leg of Adventurethon Magnetic Island 2013 – my first adventure race. It was blowing 20+ knots and I’d only paddled for about two months on an old heavy stealth ski, and only on smooth water. I must have fallen out 14+ times and had a backpack on that filled with water. I paddled around the headland into Picnic Bay with feet over the sides for balance and felt like crying. I learnt a lot during that race and I’m still finding ways to do things better now.
Have you always been active? I grew up skateboarding and surfing on the Gold Coast but only really got into adventure sport when we moved to town five years ago.
“My wife has my little girl saying, “Go fast daddy” and giving me a high five”
What’s your favourite thing to do on a weekend in Townsville? Heading to Juliette’s for ice-cream and coffee with my girls after a trip to the park on The Strand.
Your most motivating tune? Black Eyed Peas – Pump It.
Motivational quote? My wife has my little girl saying, “Go fast daddy” and giving me a high five.
What activity have you always wanted to try (and what’s holding you back)? Rock climbing – I hear there is a climbing centre in town now [Hot Rock Adventure Centre], so l’ll have to check it out.
What’s something we don’t know about you? I ruptured my kidney skateboarding back in the day and found out then l only had the one.
Most embarrassing moment on the go? I was on a friendly group ride at Douglas and we got bunched up on a trail, so I was stopped and sat balancing in cleats. On proceeding to go again, my wheel wedged in a couple of rocks and l had a classy ‘over-the-handlebars’ in the middle of the group.
Who would you most like to train with (e.g. famous person, or someone you look up to)? I like to do a training session with Jarad Kohlar [one of Australia’s top adventure athletes] if I’m ever in Melbourne.
The training advice I wish I’d listened to was… Rest and recover properly and get a regular massage.
Most treasured piece of fitness gear? My running tights: Going strong after three years – no chafe.
My best local fitness tip is… Take your runners to work and head up Castle Hill with your friends.
Tell us a joke (why not?) I’m terrible at telling jokes.
Last words? I’m thankful to have met so many energetic and positive people since moving to Townsville and I feel the adventure and fitness bug is catching on with more-and-more people turning up to training sessions and events. See you at Juliette’s soon!
You can join Michael in Adventurethon National Challenge on July 4-5, the Townsville Triathlon Festival on June 27-28 and the Townsville Running Festival on August 2. As part of our Triathlon and Multisport Series, in partnership with local businesses and sporting organisations we are offering a series of free sessions so you can see what all the fun is about, try something new and meet some great people. See what’s on offer here.