Ultra-marathon runner Kirsty Sutton, from the Lockyer Valley. PHOTO: Ali Kuchel
Ultra-marathon runner Kirsty Sutton, from the Lockyer Valley. PHOTO: Ali Kuchel

INSPIRATION: Ultramarathon Gatton nurse lines up 100 miler

As a registered nurse, Kirsty Sutton is used to having a calm and trained mind to endure any situation.

So, when it came to training to run an ultra-marathon, then a 100 miler, her dedication naturally followed her on a journey that's gone across the globe.

If you're an early riser, it's likely you've seen Kirsty running throughout Gatton, Laidley, Tent Hill and down to Mulgowie.

But what you might not realise is that Kirsty's journey to competing in ultra-marathons started by competing at Gatton Parkrun.

"I have no idea why I wanted to start running, it just came into my head," Kirsty said.

Ultra-marathon runner Kirsty Sutton, from the Lockyer Valley. PHOTO: Ali Kuchel
Ultra-marathon runner Kirsty Sutton, from the Lockyer Valley. PHOTO: Ali Kuchel

 

She began her first year of running 2017, with a goal to complete a marathon by the time she was 30.

"I was running around Gatton and got into Parkrun, then it became a bit more serious," she said.

Kirsty completed her first marathon at the Gold Coast in 2017, and 20 days later entered her first ultra-marathon.

"I originally thought no way, that's crazy. But I just love it, it's so rewarding, but it's challenging at the same time."

With family in the United Kingdom, Kirsty's racing has taken her across the globe, competing in the Race to the King - a double marathon.

She's added a 100 miler at Nerang (161km) as well as the Glasshouse100 - where she was the first female to cross the line.

Ultra-marathon runner Kirsty Sutton, from the Lockyer Valley. PHOTO: Ali Kuchel
Ultra-marathon runner Kirsty Sutton, from the Lockyer Valley. PHOTO: Ali Kuchel

 

"It's so much more than going for a five to 10km run - you've got to think about food, hydration, keeping warm and cool, it's an experience all in one race," Kirsty said.

To date, Kirsty has completed 10 marathons, 13 ultra-marathons and one 100miler.

She described the 100mile race as "absolutely incredible" but endured every weather condition possible during the 30-hour race.

It's not uncommon for runners to hallucinate or become disorientated because of the toll the race puts on the body.

"I remember looking down at my own legs and saying to my pacers that I was shimmering like a mermaid," Kirsty said.

Kirsty said the 100miler is running past your physical limits, then relying on mental capacity to get through the race.

"It's how far can I push myself with willpower, and that's what's really amazing," she said.

"You can see what you are truly capable of - we are literally capable of so much more than we realise."

It's no surprise Kirsty has her eyes set on another 100miler.

Ultra-marathon runner Kirsty Sutton, from the Lockyer Valley. PHOTO: Ali Kuchel
Ultra-marathon runner Kirsty Sutton, from the Lockyer Valley. PHOTO: Ali Kuchel

 

Training for such an event requires a lot of determination, but it's not just about getting out and pounding the pavement.

Kirsty not only runs, but does strength training and cycling to prepare for long races.

Even on her birthday, she goes for a run.

"Every year, I run the amount I'm turning in kilometers on my birthday," she said.

"As I get older it's only going to get harder.

"My non-running friends think I'm mad, they say just go out for dinner."

She also runs with the Lockyer Legends, which allows for plenty of exploration opportunities across the region.

For anyone starting out at running, Kirsty's advice is not to be afraid of distances, especially ultra-marathons.

"If you're a new runner, 50km races are a lot more relaxed. There's often good check points with food, water and great chat," she said.

"If you have to walk it's fine - there's a lot leaner cut off times - you don't have to be an elite runner to give it a go."

You can follow Kirsty's running ventures on instagram by following @that_running_nurse