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Elise on the run to New York

by Bruce Andrews 21 September 2013

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pre-dawn start, temperatures above 30 degrees, and snakes on the road didn’t stop Charles Sturt University (CSU) and Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP) runner Ms Elise Hull from completing a 30-kilometre run at Alice Springs on Sunday 15 September. The run qualified Ms Hull, a Bachelor of Arts student and Indigenous resource officer in the CSU Division of Student Learning in Bathurst, for the IMP squad to contest the New York Marathon in November. She said the event was a great test of individual and team endurance and mental strength. “We were warned there would be hardly any supporters out, and that a lot of the time we would be running by ourselves,” Ms Hull said. “Running by myself was a great reminder that only I can get me through this test, relying on my own stamina, mental toughness, and the training I’ve done. “For the first time yet, all 12 squad members selected made it all the way through to the Alice Springs IMP camp,” she said. “Usually, there is drop-out due to injury or personal reasons, but all 12 of us ran, and there were a small handful of supporters. I was lucky enough to have the mayor of Alice Springs and his daughter walk beside me for a while towards the end, encouraging me on.” Ms Hull said the event was due to start at 5.30am, but a prior car accident delayed the event when police blocked the road. Australian marathon champion and IMP Project Director, Mr Robert de Castella, negotiated with the emergency crews to let the squad jog past. “We still managed to start off

Elise Hull in the City to Surf in September. Image supplied

in the pitch black, but the sun rose very quickly and the heat really set in,” Ms Hull said. “The temperature reached the 30s pretty quickly, and I even saw a snake on the road around the 22 kilometre mark, but I thought I was hallucinating at that point. “My time for the 30 kilometres was three hours 33 minutes, towards the back of the pack. “I was feeling fine up until around the 20 kilometre mark. Having previously not run further than 21 kilometres, I was tired, I was hot, I was so thirsty, and I

was in a lot of pain from my back injury. What really got me through was thinking about my daughter, Olivia, and all the people who have supported me through this - friends, family, work colleagues, and IMP fundraisers. There were lots of people who tried out for the team and weren’t successful, so the least I could do is to make the most of this opportunity.” Ms Hull said she gained several lessons about marathon running from the Alice Springs event. “Starting out easy is a huge lesson; learning not to rush things, Page 1


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Elise and Indigenous Marathon Project squad at Alice Springs. Image supplied

and settling into a pace which is comfortable for me. I was fortunate enough to be able to practice this in the 30 kilometre run, picking a pace which I could stick close to. This run was also good training for re-fuelling techniques, finding out how much water we needed, using energy gels, etc. I think the biggest thing I learnt was that despite the pain, it’s amazing what our body will let us keep doing. And that when you’re finished, the sense of accomplishment, the self confidence and pride makes the pain a distant memory! “Apart from the birth of my daughter, being selected for the IMP squad for NY is easily the next biggest thing for me in my whole life. This week marks the one year anniversary of me running for the first time ever. I would never have

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dreamt of, or imagined, being six weeks out now from the New York Marathon and actually being selected for it.” In the six weeks until the NY Marathon, individuals in the squad will be doing a few more long runs, and improving their fitness levels. “This six-week block is the most important for us in terms of getting all our training done, making sure our health is at its best, and really focusing on the goal,” Ms Hull said. “We have a pre-departure camp in the last few days of October, staying in Bondi and doing a few media appearances. The IMP can’t afford advertising, so it’s important we get the word out about the project via media. We fly out of Sydney in early November, in time to shake off the jet lag and prepare for what’s going to be the biggest

race of my life.” The Alice Springs 30-kilometre trial was only for the IMP squad, although past IMP squad members Mr Charlie Maher and Mr Korey Summers, both from Alice Springs, ran too. Of the 12 in the 2013 IMP squad, 11 are going to the New York Marathon, with one woman from the squad now training instead for the Boston Marathon in February 2014, due to injury. People can follow the IMP team’s progress via Facebook, Twitter, or online. Ms Hull is also fundraising with the aim to raise at least $2 000 for the Indigenous Marathon Project. Her page can be found here. The principal partner of the Indigenous Marathon Project is the federal Department of Health and Ageing.


Elise on the run to new york