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Five-minute breather with… Hayden Lilley

Hayden Lilley reached 117kg — a consequence of working away, having a young family and eating too many pies — before a trip to the doctors revealed he had to dramatically reduce his cholesterol and weight. The transformation has seen him become hooked on paddling, mountain biking, trail running, and everything adventure; enjoying as many North Queensland events as he can with his young family and new mates. We caught up with Hayden to find out more about his fitness journey, how he stays motivated, and his tips for other Goers.

“I ended up losing 20kg and winning the $1000. I was feeling much happier being fit and healthy, and was really determined to keep the weight off”

What are you doing to get moving at the moment? It’s been a massive few weeks of awesome events around North Queensland. It started with the Townsville Running Festival on August 2, which my wife Rach and I ran with our two kids. A week later it was Livin’ Hot on the Hill with the Outer Limits [Adventure Fitness] crew. Wednesday nights it’s been Totally Tropical Orienteering Club’s Urban Adventure Series with Rach and I pushing the babies in prams; then the Outer Limits Pallarenda Trail Run a few weekends ago, and — last weekend — I was part of an Outer Limits team that went up to Atherton to compete in the inaugural Grin and Bear It multisport race. This weekend it’s Ona Mission, which is a multisport race at Mission Beach.


On the bike leg of Adventurethon at Pallarenda.

What activity makes you the happiest and why? Turns out I love paddling! I borrowed a friend’s kayak in the lead up to Adventurethon on Magnetic Island [March this year] and really enjoyed getting out onto the ocean, especially along The Strand at sunrise. Thanks to an understanding wife (laughs) I invested in a new ski and a good paddle, and haven’t looked back!

How did you discover multisport? I was doing boot camps for about 12 months until the local gym closed down. Thanks to Colleen and Tony Belcher, a group of us were introduced to Sam Stedman and his crew at Outer Limits, and we started going to his multisport sessions on a Friday morning and loved it. The rest is history.


Supportive wife Rachel and the kids.

Have you always been active? No; not at all. Having two small kids, being away from home every two weeks for work [as a sales rep], and a wife who works and studies full time; it’s safe to say that when I’m home I don’t have much time. And, in the weeks when I’m away from home, it’s very easy to eat pies for lunch and have hot chips and a beer for dinner.

The wakeup call was when I went to the doctor because I wasn’t feeling 100% and after a few tests was told I was in the obese category for weight and my cholesterol was through the roof. I started putting in a piss poor effort at the local gym down the road, and then they started promoting a 12-week weight loss challenge. I signed up and found out on the first day there were only 12 of us doing it, and there was $1,000 prize money. That was enough of an incentive for me to start getting out of bed at 5.20am in the morning to attend boot camps and PT. I ended up losing 20kg and winning the $1,000. I was feeling much happier being fit and healthy, and was really determined to keep the weight off.

Are you a morning or afternoon mover? If it was up to me I’d be an afternoon mover, but the best time for me to exercise is before Rach and the kids wake up.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a weekend in Townsville? I don’t think you can beat taking the ferry over to Magnetic Island with the family for the weekend.


Father and son time at the Townsville Running Festival.

Your most motivating tune? Club Mix 95. If you have never heard of it get on it. The tunes at circuit class on a Monday morning aren’t bad either.

Motivational quote? “Nothing is permanent but change” — thanks for that one Dad.

Do you prefer to get active solo, or with a buddy? Defiantly a buddy, which is probably why I enjoy training with the Outer Limits family so much.

Most annoying fitness fad? I don’t know if it’s a fitness fad, but my wife’s crazy fad diets do my head in!

What’s your greatest fitness achievement? Winning the 12-week challenge and completing my first Enduro Adventurethon are right up there.

Most memorable active moment? The only thing that comes to mind is finishing the paddle leg of Grin and Bear It last weekend. I ran into transition to find my teammate nowhere to be seen! I had about 100 people screaming out for “Johnny”. The poor guy had to run down in front of everyone cheering to tag me before heading out for the mountain bike. Very funny (sorry John!).


With some of the Outer Limits crew at Grin and Bear It.

What activity have you always wanted to try (and what’s holding you back)? Rach and I have been throwing around the idea of doing the two-day team Coast to Coast event in New Zealand one day. It’s just about navigating money, time and kids at the moment, but it’s definitely on the bucket list.

What’s something we don’t know about you? My only claim to fame growing up was holding the regional intermediate school’s high jump record. Probably because I was a foot taller than anyone else.

What’s your next goal? Finishing and leaving nothing on the course at Ona Mission this weekend.

Who would you most like to train with? Steve Gurney — nine-time Coast to Coast winner — would be pretty cool to train with.

The training advice I wish I’d listened to was… Not so much advice, but I just wish I had found multisport earlier.

Most treasured piece of fitness gear? Defiantly my Stellar SR Ocean Ski. Thanks Joel!


Hayden smashing the paddle leg at Grin and Bear It.

My best local fitness tip is… Find something you enjoy doing and get involved. We are so lucky living in Townsville with so much cool stuff going on.

Last words? Thanks to the girls at TheGo. You guys do an amazing job with everything you do; letting everyone know what’s going on in Townsville and supporting the local events by spending hours and hours taking photos and posting pics of every one competing.

Get involved

If you’d like to give multisport a go, get in contact with Outer Limits Adventure Fitness, or keep an eye on our calendar for the next competitive events — there’s nothing like a goal to get you there!

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Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz is combining two of her great loves — writing and getting active. Previously working as a journalist, sub-editor, and editor in newspapers and magazines; she is editor and co-founder of TheGo Townsville. She stays active with the staples of road cycling and yoga, but has recently discovered triathlon. And become addicted (apart from the swimming part). She also has a Cert III in Fitness and is passionate about improving mental health through physical activity.

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