Thinking of signing up to your first Adventurethon or upping the ante with your distance? Read this inspiring first-hand account by Lyndell Punshon who remains ever-changed by the experience of doing her first Ultra and the subsequent Adventurethon events since.
“Adventurethon is a teacher. The things I have learnt about my body’s abilities and skills I have gained to meet my goals. They have all become part of who I am.”
Come on a journey with me… I am sitting in a kayak. It’s a hot-pink plastic kayak that I borrowed from a mate’s girlfriend. I’ve never kayaked any real distance before, and have literally sat in this kayak (in the river) for twenty minutes the day before. But here I am, with 33 knot winds howling around me, and every part of my body is terrified. I do not know how far I have paddled, or if I can keep going. I only know I have to keep pushing forward. I know I am slow. I know I am last. I know I am scared. I want to quit right now. I want to be on the beach. It’s hard to imagine that kind of white knuckle fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failing, fear of not doing everything I set out to do. But there it was…
And as I sat there, that wind buffeting me in all directions, I realised, “Oh my god, I still have to ride 29km and run 7km when I get back to that beach… I don’t know if I can do it”.
How did I end up here? I was no stranger to being ‘thrown in the deep end’ — after losing 90kg in 12 months I kind of became the girl who would try anything: running, riding, paddling, climbing, etc. I had spent all my adult life morbidly obese and was now wanting to see what things I enjoyed. But I had never tried an Adventurethon before… actually, no one had, because this was the very first one. And I had signed up for the Ultra! (OMG what was I thinking!).
I look ahead and everything seems so far away. I look behind me and realise that Magnetic Island is as far behind me as the mainland is ahead of me. I am in the middle. And my only option is to put on my big girl panties and keep going (I could bail…but quitting was simply not an option. Not as long as I still have breath!).
I have already completed the 8km paddle to Magnetic Island, run 14km and am part way through the paddle back. If I can just get to the mainland I know the worst is behind me. The bike is my friend.
So I keep going. That stubborn determination to finish keeps pushing me forwards. The fear isn’t gone. It’s just that the desire to finish is greater. So fatigued from the massive paddle, I land my kayak 1km up the beach and have to “run” into transition. I scoff down some food and head out on my bike for the ride. This was back in to days before the gorgeous Under the Radar track and the bike ride was so much sand and more sand. I know I still have many hours ahead of me and I just have to keep chugging.
“The majority of people and gear had been packed up, there was a token finish line left, but none of that mattered as I ran up the beach and over the line – I did it.”
Crossing the finish line at the end of the day, as the sun is starting its bed-time journey, was one of the best feelings I have ever experienced in my life. The majority of people and gear had been packed up, there was a token finish line left, but none of that mattered as I ran up the beach and over the line – I did it. An 8km paddle, 14km run, 8km paddle, 29km ride, and 6km run… done!
That memory feels as real today as it did in 2010. I am so proud of the 10 hours and 28 minutes that it took to complete that gruelling Ultra. No one can ever take that away. And as I watch other athletes competing in the Ultra (in fact Enduro, Duathlon, Taste and Junior as well), I am reminded that being part of Adventurethon is more than “just a race”. I see that same experience written on the faces of children as they run through that finish line. I see the pride on parents’ faces as they watch them. I see husbands and wives and mates all cheering and pushing and achieving. Adventurethon is a family. The friends I have made along the way are still mates today. I see friendships formed though sharing the journey. The crazy mates out running at 5am, or paddling and riding around Under the Radar when the rest of us Townsvillians think it’s too cold (or hot) to be outdoors.
Adventurethon is a teacher. The things I have learnt about my body’s abilities and skills I have gained to meet my goals. They have all become part of who I am.
Adventurethon is so much more than just another race. It’s an opportunity to awaken that part of you that longs for more than just the hamster wheel of life. Doing something that is so out of your comfort zone pushes you and expands your mind in ways that aren’t satisfied by the day-to-day home/work routines.
Being able to achieve something that you were not 100% certain you could, and being forever changed by it; this is the magic of Adventurethon.
The Adventurethon National Challenge is on the weekend of July 2-3. It is a must-do for lovers of adventure. With pristine weather and world-class trails, there is an event for the whole family and every level of fitness. Find out more in our Events Calendar here.