104 kilometres to go

Sue Holmes completing The Kepler Challenge - 60km in Te Anau NZ December 2022
Sue Holmes completing The Kepler Challenge - 60km in Te Anau NZ December 2022

AFTER six marathons, two ultra marathons, a couple of half marathons and swearing she won’t run any further than 50 kilometres again, Sue Holmes, 61, is travelling to New Zealand to compete in the Tarawera Ultra-Trail T104 race.

Sue has been running for 10 years, this February she will compete in her longest run yet – 104.6km in Tarawera, New Zealand.

“It was supposed to be 100 kilometres, but they changed the route; it’s now 104 kilometres,” says Sue.

Canungra Law

Sue’s running journey began when one of her friends took her to a five kilometre Parkrun.

“I said to her, I can’t run five kilometres; then I did! I just got hooked from there,” she said.

“The running community is just the best, they’re so supportive and they keep pushing you to do more.”

“Last year I did two 50s, after the second one, if you ask Geoff, my partner, he’ll say I came home and said I will never ever do any longer than 50 kilometres. And now, a couple of months later, I’m doing 100kms!” Sue laughs.

“On the record, I will never, ever, ever, do a miler, which is 160 kilometres.”

Sue has been training both her physical and mental capabilities in the lead up to her race.

“I’m currently averaging 60-70 kilometres a week with 1200 metre elevation. The next two weeks are my big weeks though, I’m planning an overnight run to test out nutrition and hydration.”

“Then it’s taper week, so I will drop to 50 kilometres a week and do stretching and meditation to get my head in the right space!”

When asked why she was competing in the race, Sue laughed.

“Because I’m stupid. No, I want to challenge myself, I love running and I just want to see if I can do it.”

In order to battle negative thoughts, Sue repeats a mantra to herself: “Every step is a gift, every breathe is a miracle.”

“My mum and dad are in a home, and there are people there who are 50, but I can go out there at 61, and I can run. It’s a gift,” says Sue.

Along with mental hurdles, Sue’s foot pain has been proving quite difficult.

“I’ve got plantar fasciitis, which is a pain in the heel. Every time I put my foot on the ground, it hurts,” Sue says. 

She has been icing it and undergoing shock treatment in the hopes of eliminating the issue before the race.

Sue hopes to complete the trail in 20 hours at a steady pace of five kilometres per hour.