Andes Challenge, Peru 2017
When I was preparing for the Broken Hill to Sydney Ultra Marathon I wanted to take on a challenge that would test me mentally and physically beyond anything I had experienced before. The Andes Challenge became the event that delivered more than I ever dreamt possible.
The Andes Challenge combines glacier climbing, trail running and mountain biking over a 180km course. It starts at 4500m above sea level in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range near the town of Huaraz and finishes when your feet touch the water at Huarmey on the Peruvian coastline. It is the only race of its kind in the world.
The Andes Challenge was my first ever mountain bike race, the first time I had climbed a glacier and also the first time I had raced at altitude. I had to confront countless fears to unlock the strength within me to make this challenge a reality.
As a result I became the first female to compete and complete the Andes Challenge as a solo entrant. I also redefined a few local's beliefs of the strength and tenacity of 'older' women, hopefully paving the way for future female competitors to smash my achievements with their own epic performances.
Story published in Austrailia Runner and Kiwi Trail Runner December 2017