Karen Barrett has a remarkable story which reinforces for me of the power of choice and the power of self-belief.
A talented runner as a child, Karen had an offer to train at the Australian Institute of Sport. But was forced to turn it down due to her difficult family circumstances.
Fast forward a few years and she had become “virtually homeless” and had developed a 2-pack-a day (and more on the weekends) smoking habit.
Then in her early 40s, she decided it was time to quit. She started walking her dogs daily and built up to running 5km - in her steel capped work boots no less - before she discovered and bought her first pair of running shoes as an adult.
That transformation started in 2009, and she hasn’t looked back.
Since then she’s gone onto win and set the women’s course record for the Buffalo Stampede Grand Slam (a series of races in the Victorian Alps over 3 days) and this year, in 2019 she became the first woman ever to finish the Down Under 135, a 135mi/217km race described as Australia’s “gnarliest” foot race.
Oh and I should mention - she was 3rd overall too!
In this conversation Karen shares why trail running is so important to her, why she sets out to win any race she enters (and where that confidence comes from), the extensive mental preparation she puts into her races, and how much sleep she got during the 49 hours it took her to finish the Down Under 135 (you’ll be amazed!)
Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here
Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks
Follow Karen on Instagram: instagram.com/karen_barrett_tail.runner/