Kate Bevilaqua Day 3 Ultraman Australia 2021 Women's Champion

The following post was written by Kate Bevilaqua about her experience on Day 2 of Ultraman Australia 2021

Day 3: 84.4km Run (Double Marathon) 

There is no denying - this day scares me the most! Running that far anytime is hard, but doing it after the previous 2 days of racing adds an entire new element to it.

I woke up the most nervous I had been since we started Ultraman Australia - what was going to happen today? How was my body going to feel? Respond? It was all an unknown.

Before leaving for the start line I got on my laptop and looked back at all the run training I had completed over the last 6 months. I had enlisted the help of Mick Francis to prepare me for some Ultra Distance road / trail events and had been running the most consistently in years. I knew I had it in me.

It was quite surreal starting in the dark, but I loved it because that is my favorite time to run. I felt a little stiff to begin with and the Hamstrings were tight (Guy told me later I looked a little awkward!) but I knew once I warmed up and settled in it would be okay.

The first 5km is a no feed zone so now crew allowed, which was fine as there was a group of us that had settled into a similar pace and were chatting together like a weekend long run - I was enjoying it!

The run course in Noosa has 500m of elevation gain....it is rolling for the first 10km along the coast - really quite beautiful with the sunrise over the ocean.  It was just about this point after checking my time up until then that I said to Guy "I think I need to slow it down a bit". So I let the group go and settled into what I hoped would be more of a sustainable pace for longer.

My pacers Guy and Ruth were swapping out around 2km at a time and making sure I was constantly eating and drinking, keeping the calories up. There was still a long way to go!

Meanwhile Mel was driving the minivan and trying to locate us at various points along the course. The path we run is not always accessible by car, so a rough estimation of pace and how far I would get was needed quite often.

About 27km in you hit a nasty steep climb! So nasty that Guy said I was best to walk it and he was right! My walking pace would have been close to my jogging pace. It was also a good opportunity to eat, drink and compose myself.

The rest of the way to the halfway point (42.2km) was relatively flat and there was a little "yippee" to myself as I made the turn! Now to bring it home! 
That was a lot easier than it sounded.

One of the good things about heading back was seeing everyone else on the course and the cheers and camaraderie between athletes and crew. It had been a long 3 days and we were nearly there. At 57km it was time for a walk again up the steep climb. This was a no feed zone. My pacer at the time - Guy, was allowed with me but the rest of my crew had to detour around to the other side.

This was about the time where the internal mind games became even more important. Constantly telling myself "stay strong, stay focused, you've got this!"
I started doing some calculations in my head of what my final run time might be.
Before I had started at 5.30am in the morning, based on what I had done previously I had 3 possibilities going through my mind. 
  1. If I go out to hard and suffer on the way back I should still be able to do 8 hours
  2. My previous best run time was 7.32, I did ride a bit harder day 2 this time so anywhere between 7.30 - 7.45 would be great
  3. 7.20 - 7.30 would be AWESOME!! 
Ruth and Guy were swapping out more regularly during the last 21km, making sure they had caffeine with them to bring me home. We weren't saying too much as I was focusing on one foot in front of the other and trying to maintain a good rhythm. Once we got to within 4km I was feeling a little excited!
I have this thing where I always break the last 4km of any event into 10 x 400m. I was still moving okay - steady and consistent and I knew I could hold it until the end.

There was one little challenge left though and that was running the last 400m along the beach! REALLY???? Ruth and Guy joined me and as we approached the finish line Mel ran the last few hundred metres.
I crossed the finish line in 7.25:54! A  new Run course record 
There was a wave of emotional relief as I hugged my crew and thanked them for everything! We did it!

Anything can happen over an event of such magnitude. 3 days is a lot of time for things to go wrong. To have finally put together a consistent performance that I knew I was capable of still makes me smile just thinking about it.
I came away with the overall course record by nearly 90mins.

Everyone is asking me now - What's next?? 

But it is a little too soon for that I have enjoyed a week off, and have slowly started moving the body again this week. But one thing's for sure - I am already excited for the next adventure, whatever that may be! 

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