Welcome to our first blog interview with the amazing Kym Child. Mother of twins, Emergency and Paediatric Nurse, and Tasmanian local. On the 16th of March 2018 Kym will participate in the XPD Tasmania, a 541km adventure race…just let that sink in a little.
The event runs over three to six days, where teams of four navigate a race track while trekking, mountain biking and kayaking…did I mention they cannot be separated by more than 100m for the entirety of the race? I am literally in awe of even the idea of this, I feel so grateful to have connected with this inspiring woman and I know you will gosh darn love her gems of wisdom.
Tell us a brief history of your outdoor adventure life. What have you tried? What have you loved?
I have always lived in the outdoors. I grew up camping with my family, and from a young age was carried around on my father’s shoulders bushwalking.
By high school I had walked the overland track four times (an 84km, 4 – 7 day walk), and had completed many of Tasmania’s major summits.
I have always been sports orientated and have been involved in almost everything – dancing, netball, badminton, volleyball, soccer, surf life saving, wakeboarding, rock climbing – but eventually I found competitive mountain biking. I loved it! The endurance, the technical aspects. I still love competing in cross country mountain biking races.
By the time I was 23 I had completed a mountaineering course in New Zealand and walked to Everest base camp. The outdoors drives me and always has. Adventures drive me – I have cycled around Vietnam, driven and snowboarded my way around British Colombia and New Zealand, trail running in Japan. I am always working towards something – what is next? I actually decided in year 12 I was going to climb the seven summits – I would do it if I could find the money.
Two years ago I got into trail running and one of my first races was a 100km (actually 106km run due to a massive water detour – but what is 5km more than 100km!!). I always jump head first and go big. I realised I loved the endurance aspect of the this, and that feeling of crossing the line is unbelievable.
What drew you to your first adventure race?
I have watched others do these races and wished it was me, I always wanted to be that person out there. I was contacted by Trevor of Tiger Adventure and he got me into a team and made it happen. I realized Adventure racing built on everything I had done with the added challenge of navigation. When I look back at my trajectory, I was always going to end up adventure racing.
You are now less than a week away from XPD, tell us what a normal week of training looks like leading up to an event like this.
As a mum, with commitments and a career, any sort of training is difficult. This time I will rely on my banked kilometres, only six weeks ago I ran Xmarathon (220km). Last week I did a cross country mountain bike race…but I have only just been released from hospital after catching a bacterial infection from the kids! When I feel strong I run most days, maybe ride once per week.
“It hasn’t been the ideal lead up, but as a mother it never is, you always have commitments. Having a perfect week is like waiting for the stars to align.”
The reality is you squeeze in what you can, make the most of time you can find, and it almost never goes to plan. I used to go night running once the kids were asleep, that is what worked at that point in time. Life stresses can, and do, get in the way. This is the facts of reality and we just need to be nice to ourselves. If you miss a session, or only feel like running 5km, then just do what you can when you can.
I know I am strong, I know I have banked kilometres in my legs, and I know I am mentally determined. I never give up. In adventure racing it isn’t about speed, it is about being smart, being resilient, and most of all making it to the start line.
What fears or doubts, if any, do you have leading up to XPD?
I got asked to join a Singapore team called the Changi Zingers. They had lost their female, who was an elite sponsored ultrarunner. You can imagine my fear at replacing someone so accomplished.
I am not sponsored, nor am I elite. I am me. I am a mother of twins and life is hectic. I don’t have a coach, or a sponsor, or a training regime. But I am determined, and I know I can keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Importantly I have learnt before any race that it is vital to settle yourself, and remind yourself of all your successes. You are at the start line because you are capable.
Completing a 500km adventure race is definitely going to be a challenge, what are you excited about that is driving you to that start line?
This is a world series race and doing this is a dream come true for me. Ten years ago I was talking about these races, now I am going to be a part of one in an international team. I want to push myself and experience that feeling of pure exhaustion. I am chasing that feeling you get when you cross a finish line after giving it your all.
How do you feel outdoor adventure has impacted your life as a mum?
My children are almost seven and they believe that I am strong and capable of anything. Not only that, it teaches them there are no limits. You can apply yourself to anything in life. I want my children to live a full and active life, and I am showing them that is possible. I don’t want to hold them back, I want to teach them that to love someone is to let them do what they love.
“Life and family time is redefined in the modern world. You may find people will judge you, but at the end of the day I want my children to know they can pursue their dreams, whatever they may be.”
So grateful that Kym will be sharing her XPD journey with Mum’s Gone Climbing (once she has recovered just a little), in the meantime follow Kym on instagram @kym_wild_child. You can also follow the team Changi Zingers LIVE on the XPD Tasmania website xpd.com.au, I will certainly be checking in with my new favourite adventure mumma!
If you would like to give adventure racing a go contact Trevor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Feature photo credit: Natalie Mendham