Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wild Wombat Fat Ass 30 - Quick Interview With The Boys

It was my first time being part of a fun run with a huge turnout. The hubby and I signed up for the Wild Wombat Fat Ass 30 for a social gathering with our friends, not knowing that the organisers were really serious when they highlighted 'killer hill' on the route map. I thought it was exaggerated!

Meet Isaac Walker and Tim Kacprzak, the boys behind Wild Wombat Fat Ass 30, a trail run outing which took place at the Lerderderg State Park on Sunday, 15th December 2013.

Isaac and Tim, taking a wee, I mean, dip, in the river.

1. How long have you been running/trail running? What inspired you?

Operation Blackhawk
Isaac: I'm relatively new to trail running and running itself. It was only around 5 years ago I competed in my first 10km road race. Last year Tim convinced me to try a Tough Mudder obstacle race in Sydney with a few friends and after that I was hooked.

Obstacle racing has introduced me back to nature. I am originally from NZ and used to get out in the bush fairly often hiking and finding undiscovered spots (no wombats though). I have found getting out amongst the wilderness while training, I run happier, run faster and have a whole lot more fun than running on the pavement.

My family, friends and other runners I keep meeting on this journey inspire me in different ways.

Tim: Like Isaac, I too am relatively new to trail running. I started getting serious about my trail running around 2 years ago when I made a lifestyle change to get fit and break some bad habits. Who knew this was going to be the journey I would end up taking.

Obstacle racing was a huge factor in this as I went from strength to strength competing in events like Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Tough Bloke and more. With trail running being at the heart of all these events it wasn't hard to be inspired by the amazing efforts of others and the beautiful places that trail running and obstacle racing was taking me.

Tim and Isaac, in training masks.

2. What has been your most memorable event so far?

Isaac: My most memorable event so far was completing my first 100km ultra - the Surf Coast Century this year (2013). I raised money and awareness for a disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis (a rare form of severe arthritis) which my mother has suffered with from a young age. I called this campaign 'Run for Mum' and it was a great success. I am very proud of my mum and what she has accomplished in her life while suffering from the disease.

Isaac at the Surf Coast Century 100KM.

Isaac crossed the finish line and greeted by the family.

Tim: It's hard for me to look past World's Toughest Mudder a month ago, where the culmination of a huge year of training allowed me to finish the event in 8th position overall and 1st in my age group. There have been no sweeter moments than the one I felt as I crossed the finish line 25+ hours after I started. The event was brutal, but worth every agonising minute to feel the jubilation at the finish line.

Tim and family, at the Spartan Race.

Tim in Tough Mudder action.
3. What will be your major event in 2014?

Isaac: Tim is a little crazy and will have a few more events than me! I have just 2 main events in 2014. The Buffalo Stampede Ultra and back to the Surf Coast Century 100km where I plan to get my sub-12 hour big beer stein!

Tim: Haha Isaac, crazy??? I'd say we are both a little insane, and the inaugural Wombats would probably agree after Sunday. But in terms of events I have plenty I want to get through this year but my major goal will be trying to get back to the US for WTM again, this time with the family at the finish line.

4. The (inaugural) Wild Wombat Fat Ass 30 was a fun gathering of runners. Congrats, guys!

How did you come up with the idea, or what made you decide to organise the event?

Isaac: Well, Tim had run out at Lerderderg a couple times and I was pretty eager to see what he was talking about. My first run out there with him was a 30km night run up to Mt Blackwood. A couple of kms into this run, I was absolutely blown away by how fun the track was. We got to talking and thought how amazing it would be to host an event up here where we could share these trails with the trail running community.

On that run, this 'kiwi kid' was a little nervous as running at night in the Australian wilderness and I was a little on edge. On our way back from the top of the mountain a huge wombat came crashing through the trees very close to us which made us nearly have an impromptu toilet stop (well probably only me)!

So weeks later when thinking of a name, 'wombat' came naturally. There was talk of a few other possibilities - Wacky Wombat, Crazy Wombat - but I am very happy with the one we chose in the end. :-)

Tim: What a night that was, Isaac, and although I may not have showed it, the wombat had my heart skip a beat. I was introduced to the area by a good friend Mark who is a local and said for me to come out and try it. Being a huge fan of the You Yangs, i thought it would have to be pretty special to top that, and let’s say at the 2km mark of the track I was shocked at what I was being introduced to. Lerderderg had it all, beauty, tranquility, pain and brutal, brutal hills - I felt like I was home and I had to share this with the trail running community.

5. What have you learned from organising the event? Was it easy, fun, tough?

Isaac: Definitely a little bit of work - from answering emails, liaising with Parks Victoria and keeping the social media side of things up to date, it kept us busy. On the day when it came down to it, it was all worth it. We have made some fantastic new friends and manged to host a pretty unique event in some unforgiving terrain.

We really are overwhelmed with the positive feedback as we did have some concerns about the difficulty. Everyone took it in their stride though and managed to get it done (even if it was after a little nap).

Tim: The biggest thing I learned was that being an event organiser is one of the best jobs ever - to see you all compete and achieve your goals is one of the most amazing feelings, being a part of that moment when you finish brings a huge smile to my face. There is always plenty to learn when you do any event , and it has been a huge eye opener, but a stepping stone to hopefully bigger and better events.

Awesome ladies showing us how it's done!
Photo credit: Yvonne Teo.

6. With such an awesome feedback, will we see a Wild Wild Wombat Fat Ass 30 or Wild Wombat Fatter Ass 30 or whatever you plan to call the next one, anytime in the future?

Isaac: The Wild Wombat name is definitely here to stay - Tim do you agree? A wilder one perhaps? I'm not sure if we can get much wilder but no doubt you will see us back in the future with something to challenge everyone. Tim and I would also like to thank Tailwind Nutrition Australia and Blister Bomber for their support and samples to hand out at the event.

Tim: Wild Wombat with definitely be back, bigger and better then ever. We are working on some exciting things and we look forward to sharing with everyone very soon, but for now we hope you enjoy the festive break and get plenty of trails in. Look out for the Wombat in 2014,  he may over indulge a little over Christmas.

The gorgeous scenery that awaits you somewhere near the top of the killer climb.
Photo credit: Wong Yi Bin.

Thanks so much for your time, guys! Good luck for 2014, and see you at the next Wild Wombat Fat Ass edition!

Hope you enjoyed reading this! Like the Wild Wombat Fat Ass 30 Facebook page for updates, and follow Tim and his muddy endeavours at his Facebook page and Isaac at his Facebook page!

1. Wild Wombat Fat Ass 30 was a no frills event - no registration fees, no aid and no awards. Just an excuse (or a regular weekend run) for enthusiastic trail runners to come out and play.
2. Lerderderg State Park is located between Bacchus Marsh and Blackwood, about an hour's drive from Melbourne.   
3. Tough Mudder events are 20KM long obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces. There's clambering, crawling and climbing involved.
4. Buffalo Ultra Stampede is a 75.5KM trail run taking place in April 2014. It has an elevation gain up to 4,545m and the cut off time to complete the course is 15 hours.

Other runner profiles:
Gregor Hartnell
Jon Lim
Dion and Liberty Milne
Caroline Bertrand
Kirsten Maplestone
Erin Vaughan and dad, Tony
Chris Roberts
Matt Hosking

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