I get a kick out of having a goal that scares the crap out of me
By Rob Bathgate on 1st December 2021 Runner Profiles
We’re getting to know our fellow Wild Things. Today we have some questions for Debbie Currin, Tauranga.
Debbie is a flame of enthusiasm who loves trails and loves to run a long way. She’s married with three teenage boys, she’s run nine ultra marathons and is now training for her first 100 miler.
Good morning Debbie. Have you been for a run yet today?
It’s a “freedom” day in my training schedule so my good friend picked me at 5am and we ran the Mauao (Mount Maunganui) summit together, like many of the locals do here in Tauranga. And then coffee of course before heading off to work.
Where do you work?
I’m in the Events team at Tauranga City Council. So I have extra appreciation for all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes with events, especially with the challenges that come with COVID.
You’re training for the Tarawera Ultra 100 Miler. What do you love about ultra marathons?
I love the camaraderie and the support. I love meeting other runners on the trail. Everyone has their own story and reasons for being there. They might be running in memory of a loved one, or they’re running to push themselves, or to process emotional pain, or to raise money for something they’re passionate about. Or they’re running just because they love it out in the trails.
Every single person running an ultra marathon is inspiring in their own right. You don’t have to be at the front of the pack, you’re awesome just for being there. It doesn’t matter who you are. We’re all ordinary people doing this extraordinary thing.
Yeah, but 100 miles is a long way. Why the Miler?
It’ll be my tenth ultra, so I figured it needs to be something pretty gnarly. I get a kick out of having a goal that scares the crap out of me. Life’s short, you’ve gotta do cool stuff and challenge yourself.
And there’s something particularly cool about standing at the start line of an ultra. Everyone’s pretending to be cool, calm and collected but you know they’re all crapping their pants just like you. You know it’s going to hurt. You know you'll question yourself and things won’t all go to plan. But how you choose to respond…that’s what’ll make or break the day.
Or the night.
Yeah, gosh, it’s going to hurt. My goal is to finish. I did a five hour run last weekend and afterwards I came home and said, ‘oh shit, what have I done! 165km is a long way!” My husband just laughed at me.
How do you fuel yourself on a long run?
Food—real food! Bananas, marmite and cheese sammies, homemade power cookies. Natural sour squirm lollies. I drink water and electrolytes separately. I’m training with PURE at the moment because that’s what’ll be at the Tarawera aid stations.
Flavour fatigue is my enemy towards the end of an ultra so it becomes all about whatever I can get down. Hot vege soups and flat coke. My boys are horrified that I drink coke because we don’t let them have it at home, but at the end of an ultra it can be magic.
What are some lessons you’ve learned on the trails?
Without fail, every single ultra, I learn all over again that I’m stronger than I thought I was. And that whatever I’m feeling in the moment, it’ll change. I’m often in tears about three quarters through an ultra but then I’ll find it in me to smash out the last leg. You learn a lot about problem solving. An ultra is an entire life lesson squashed into a single day.
Or a single day … and a whole night?
Ha! Don’t be mean. Yeah, the miler will be next level. I won’t pretend I’m not terrified.
Mostly I just love being out on the trails, whether training or racing. It’s my “me” time. It restores my soul.
What’s a favourite running memory?
I was running the 62km Tarawera Ultra a few years back. It was the longest distance I’d done at the time. At one point I’m running with an older lady who obviously is super fit and runs a lot. She tells me she’s 65 years old and her three grand daughters are waiting at the finish line. I tell her I hope I’ll be running this far when I’m her age. And she says, “oh, this is a training run, really. I’m training to run 100km.”
I thought, a hundred kilometres! Amazing, amazing woman and utterly inspiring. She showed me anyone can do this. Maybe that sums up what I love about ultra marathons?
Read more: we highly recommend Debbie’s personal account of her second Ring of Fire race.
Also, Deb gets her PURE Lemon Electrolyte Hydration from the Wild Things shop. We didn’t ask her to mention it.