When I was invited to attend the 2nd running of the Ring of Fire Ultramarathon in New Zealand late last year I was excited. The excitement was fuelled not only by the fact that it is an international race, but because the prospect of running around a volcano was something that I thought was a little out of the comfort zone, and I have been all about pushing myself out of that zone in the last few years. Although the 72.9km ultra sounded like a great challenge,  straight away I realised that this was one event that I didn’t want to experience alone. The reason that I say yes to these experiences is so that I can share them with others and encourage other women to participate in grand adventures too, so it was a no-brainer that I was going to ask that I do the team ultra event and bring my RMA teamies along. With support from the race and sponsorship from our amazing partners fisiocrem Australia we were able to make it happen.



There are so many women in RMA that I could have asked, but I chose two of my close RMA buddies and also RMA volunteer admins who help behind the scenes and who are as adventurous as I am. I wanted team mates who were ready for a challenge and ready to showcase how much fun we could have on a trail. The fact that our teamie Mel resides in Canberra wasn’t a problem as on occasion we just FaceTime into her when we are on some of our training runs out in the bush! The team vibe is strong!



My training had commenced as soon as I landed in Sydney from my holiday with family over the Christmas break. I started with some base training to get my fitness back and have gradually added in hills and interval training again over the last month. As the Ring of Fire falls before Ultra Trail Australia we have also been heading to the Blue Mountains to get some decent elevation in on our long runs. As I am running leg 1 which is technical and a lot of climbing I have been trying to simulate this on my weekly adventures and adding in strength training which is always something I struggle to fit into my weekly routine. I have found I am enjoying that challenge, and feeling stronger each week.



The next few weeks will be about refining our training and familiarising ourselves with the course and what is to come including our logistics of getting to each checkpoint to swap our runners at each leg.
Im looking forward to the adventure, fun, and challenge that Ring of Fire will bring and also cheering on some of our other buddies at the event, including RMA Julianna who is taking on the whole 72km ultra event!
Mel’s update: 

Training for Ring of fire hasn’t exactly gone to plan, after falling victim to hamstring tendinopathy shortly after excitedly accepting to be part of the team, but like most things us Mums do, I have found a way to keep on training despite being sidelined for about a month.

Between physio appointments of needling and massage I have started strength training, riding my bike and slowly building my kms and elevation and now I am feeling confident about tackling the volcano! I feel like the injury has been the kick I needed to incorporate cross training into my regime, which in turn is helping to build a stronger body, so I guess there are some positives to being injured. On the flip side everyone knows how frustrating an injury can be, but the amazing RMA community and of course my beautiful team mates Nicole and Laura have kept me sane and optimistic.



It is 30 days until we fly out to NZ and the excitement is definitely building, presently I am visiting my physio fortnightly, strength training twice a week, riding my bike around 50kms a week, running 4 times a week (including building distance into my long runs) and enjoying lots of time with the beautiful Canberra RMAs. I am so excited to run my first international event and to share the adventure both on the trails, in training and online with women who inspire, support and encourage me.



Laura’s update: 
Who is this person that is about to run around a volcano, and where did I leave the boring mum that struggled to exercise for 15 minutes in the park while her mini-me played? Apparently she is long gone, and in her place is this creature that tackles huge goals, occasionally worries that she’s bitten off more than she can chew, and just wants to live a life of adventure, happiness and love. Running for me is about pushing my boundaries, looking after both my physical and mental health, and setting a good example for my daughter. Which is why, when I was asked to be a part of this phenomenal RMA team, I said yes without hesitation (well first I did need my leave pass approved by my better half, but after that it was a very loud “yes!” from me!).
Training is now well and truly underway. I’ve been heading to the Blue Mountains regularly with fellow team mate, and partner in crime, Nicole, and this has really helped to try and simulate the elevation and terrain we’ll be tackling in the Ring of Fire. On one of our jaunts we even FaceTimed fellow team mate, Mel, who lives in Canberra, to ensure that she was included on this training run (from the comfort of her work!). Aside from our long runs, there’s also been weekly hill, interval and easy runs, as well as strength training thrown into the mix to help build my base, my pace and my muscles. Slowly but surely I’m feeling stronger, fitter and prepared for our race that is now only a month away.
Yes, this race scares me. But at the same time this race excites and challenges me, and brings me closer to the people and things I truly love and cherish.
For any Running Mum feeling empowered to take on a new challenge, New Zealand’s Ring of Fire Volcanic Ultra staged in the breath-taking Tongariro National Park provides one of the most demanding and exhilarating alpine adventures in the Southern Hemisphere. Starting and finishing at the attractive and elegant Chateau Tongariro Hotel, this unique physical, mental and spiritual challenge staged in the heart of Middle Earth includes 72km, 50km and 24km race options as well as a three-leg relay.
Circumnavigating the stunning Mount Ruapehu – participants will face a diverse and geographical challenge combining desert, scoria and lava fields, dazzling native bush, scraggy tussock desert-like terrain, crystal clear mountain streams as well as stunning climbs and panoramic views of one of New Zealand’s most iconic landscapes. Starting just before 4am, the first runners to depart don headlamps to start their unique journey before returning to finish the race on the red carpet and under the chandeliers at the timeless Chateau Tongariro. If you are keen to enter this unique event find out more http://rof.co.nz/event-info/