When we think trail running, there are a few names that slip straight off the end of your tongue, and Kellie Emmerson is one of them. Her race credentials are long and her achievements on and off the trails are awe-inspiring to say the least. Kellie juggles working as a neurological occupational therapist, run coaching and pump instructor with her training schedule and racing. We had the opportunity to pin down our ultra star Kellie Emmerson for some trail chat.
With all your experience in trail racing, what has been your favourite race and course? “My favourite race has to be UTMB. It is not only spectacular scenery but being the biggest trail running event in the world, it is an all-round amazing experience.” Kellie ran UTMB 167km in 2017 and finished in 28 hours 13min in her first 100 mile race!
With a more than impressive ultra resume including a 5th place UTMB 167km (2017), 1st UTA 50km (2017), 1st UTA 100km (2018), 3rd Nine Dragons Ultra 50/50, 3 time Australian Long Course 100 km and Trail running Champion to name just a few, Kellie is one of Australia’s most consistent runners. What is your secret to being able to race as well as you do? “I think the main key is listening to your body and choosing races accordingly. I had a hammy injury and osteitis pubis after UTMB- I changed tact and chose all the steepest races I could find to avoid the need to speed training and lesson the impact on my body. This allowed me to keep racing and try a few different things that I may not have otherwise considered.”
We just found out first hand from Kellie the potential for injury unfortunately tends to rise when racing ultra distances. On top of changing race tact, is there anything else you incorporate into your training to help prevent injury? “It’s about seeing the right professionals to get you back on track, and following through with their recommendations- Going to the gym, keeping strong, and making an effort to engage in self management techniques.”
With the different demand trail running has on the body, are there any specific training methods you do to prepare yourself? “I am a strong believer in specificity. So I will consider the terrain and elevation of any particular race and train accordingly. This may include a lot of hiking for a steeper race.”
It is always interesting to find out what fuels an elite endurance runner. So Kellie, what is your race nutrition plan? “I mostly use VFuel drink and gels. And always look forward to some coke in the back half!” Now we know what fuels Kellie during a race, does she follow a specific daily nutrition plan? “No- I just like to eat a wide variety of foods and a lot of it!”
Time to shout out to the sponsors. What kit do you run in Kellie? “I wear Hoka One One shoes, Le Bent socks, 2XU clothing and underwear fitted by She Science.”
As we all know, it is a juggle to fit everything you want to do in 24 hours. How does Kellie balance her training, her work as a running coach and an occupational therapist as well as fit in a personal life? “It is difficult! It’s mostly about prioritising to fit everything in. But it also comes down to having really supportive friends and family, and a partner that just gets it.”
What tip would you give to someone looking to run their first trail race? “Try not to put any pressure on yourself. Just get out there and enjoy the scenery, enjoy the camaraderie and enjoy being in nature.”
And last question we promise Kellie (for now..), what is on your 2019 run calendar? “My current 2019 year includes Lake Sonoma (50mile) in California in April, the Brisbane Trail Ultra, then back to UTMB!”
The BTU team thank you Kellie Emmerson for taking time out to chat to us and to give us an insight into your world. We are very much looking forward to seeing you add to your continuous list of racing achievements and we can’t wait to see you race the BTU 110km in July.