Meet Jennifer Watterson, who in 2015 would have scoffed at the idea of running, but has since become a veteran ultra-marathon runner.
“I was the sort of person who looked at athletes running past and thought to myself, ‘What are they running from?’”
Little did Jen know that after a health scare involving hip surgery in 2015, she would find her life’s passion in running.
After receiving a major health wake-up call due to her surgery, Jen knew that she had to start embracing her fitness ability – to use it or lose it! After reading stacks of books on running (her first title was Eat & Run by Scott Jurek), Jen became keen to test out just what her body could do.
“Between August 2016 and January 2018, I managed to lose 25kg and hubby lost over 30kg! We were looking very fit indeed and we felt the energy of our hard work, and we wanted more challenges.”
With the guidance of a running coach, Jennifer began to build up her skills and knowledge in order to attempt her first ever trail running event. She set herself “a big, scary goal” to complete the 50km Blackall event on the Sunshine Coast, QLD.
“My coach had tuned me just perfect and I had the best day out on the trails. Finishing in 7.5 hours, I was in the mid-pack and had the time of my life. I was ready to take on more!”
Jennifer’s biggest achievement so far is completing the 100km Blackall course with her husband not once but twice, and managing to take three hours off her first time.
“We focused a lot on strength training in the gym, cross-training with our bikes and just getting in those big long runs with backup runs to help build the endurance. We ran together during the event and eventually after 20 hours we crossed the finish line into the arms of my brother who had come up from Victoria for the weekend to support us. If you had asked me straight away if I would ever do that again I would have told you no way! That was enough. But of course, you have some watermelon, have a sleep, and 12 months later we lined up again!”
“I know that I will never be a podium finisher but I just love being out on the trails during an event, soaking up the atmosphere of the checkpoints and really pushing my limits to see just what this old chassis can achieve.”
Jennifer’s biggest supporters are her husband; who will sacrifice his own runs to run alongside her and her coach Matt Grills; who has the ability to always get the best out of her. Her favourite idol is Aussie runner Lucy Bartholomew who has inspired Jen to always smile throughout her runs and just enjoy the time out in nature!
JENNIFER’S TOP RECOVERY TIPS
“Make time for active recovery including yoga, stretching, foam rolling, and take time to meditate every day.”