Olly Woolrych took up running as a way to help him deal with the stresses during a difficult period of his life. More than just a sport or hobby, running had such a profound effect on Olly’s life that he goes so far as to say that ‘Running ultras makes you a better person’. With which I am sure many of you agree! Olly was inspired to give back to running what he had gained himself by challenging himself to something big, and raise money for the mental health charity Beyond Blue at the same time. Olly is currently over 1000 kilometres into his 6000 kilometre run from Mexico City to Panama City. Read Olly’s story below. If you’d like more information about Olly’s journey or how you can donate to Beyond Blue check out:
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TRAINING WITH MILE 27?
I have been doing online training with Mile 27 for 7 months.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN RUNNING ULTRAMARATHONS?
I have been running ultra marathons for 2 years now, with my main focus for the last 7 months being on my long distance charity run.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTERESTED IN THE SPORT?
I first started running as a way to deal with stress and anxiety 6 years ago. It was a period of my life in which I was not coping very well with the stresses of growing up to become a young man. I found running everyday helped me clear my mind and gave me a chance to relax. Once I got a fitness base up, I decided I wanted to challenge myself physicially in order to reap the rewards in a mental and emotional capacity……I was hooked!
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE RACE SO FAR?
The old TNF100 has got to be my favourite race. The whole weekend has such a positive vibe to it. Everyone comes together to truely push themselves. I like that everyone has their own story leading up to race day and that everyone has their own goals. Ultra running inevitably changes lives ….. everyone knows that after the day of the TNF100, their life will be changed. Very cool.
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM A RACE?
Runner’s high is real, I know this because a couple years ago coming into Checkpoint 3 in The North Face at 45kms I remember coming over the hill and literally feeling goosebumps on my arms and legs, for whatever reason, I was the happiest guy on the planet. Happy to be challenging myself, happy with how in love I was with the sport, happy to be out there doing my favourite thing. Ill never forget that moment.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ULTRAMARATHON ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR ?
My biggest achievement so far is getting to the starting line of my charity run. I will be running 6000kms down the spine of Central America, starting from Mexico City and finishing in Panama. It has been 2 years in the making. I have been training hard in order to complete 5 marathons a week for a period of 6 months. I have organised everything from a custom made cart from Germany to acquiring a security escort from the Mexico Tourist Ministry. I am very proud of the effort I have put into this. It is the most important thing I have done in my life to date!
WHAT IS ON YOUR RACING BUCKETLIST?
I want to do a few races……. Cradle Mt Tasmania, Mt Fuji 100miler and UTMB.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM ULTRAMARATHONS? WHAT HAVE THEY TAUGHT YOU ABOUT LIFE AND YOURSELF?
I have learnt so much from ultras, things like discipline, I have learnt my true boundaries also. It has shown me that I am a lot better than I think I am. It has changed my approach to life. I owe running a lot, I has taking me from a bad spot in my life to the happiest I have been. Running ultras makes you a better person, that’s all there is to it.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF TRAINING?
I love running on the Northern Beaches, earphones in, on a sunny day, I really enjoy running around my home on the coast. Ticking off the headlands on my long runs. Not so keen on hill repeats!
HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE BENEFITED FROM TRAINING WITH MILE 27?
Everyone needs to be held accountable for their training. Although some people have incredible discipline, it is very different when you have a weekly program sent to you to complete compared to making one yourself. In my case, I had enough to worry about in the lead up to my charity run, I was so glad to get an email once a week and not have to worry about if I was training enough or too much. I just trusted Andy and did what he said…….it worked! Andy also gave my plenty of advice in the lead up, not only about my body but more importantly my mind.
WHAT IS THE ONE TIP YOU WOULD GIVE A FELLOW ATHLETE TO HELP THEM ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE OF RUNNING AN ULTRA MORE?
Set realistic goals for yourself, that way you will have more successes than failures. It makes it alot more enjoyable!
WHAT IS YOUR NEXT RACE?
Running From The Blues started on the 22nd of April. 6000km through Mexico and Central America – from Mexico City to Panama City. 5 marathons a week for 6 months. The run is proudly supporting Beyond Blue. I will be running along 2 oceans, climbing mountain ranges up to 3000m, running through deserts and rain forests. It is a solo run, I will be pulling my equipment, food and water behind me.