Kieron Douglass, Distant Runner.

Kieron Douglass, Distant Runner.

I have spoke to Kieron on a number of occasions over the years however we have never met in person, from those little conversations and watching from afar his incredible drive and passion is truly remarkable. I am lucky that Kieron has taken some time to share his experiences.

Russell Ord: Kieron just quickly, age, occupation, family, home-base, your passions?

I am 32 years of age, I am a full time Landscaper, part time athlete, I live in Brisbane Bayside in Queensland with my wife Melanie and two children's Sierra age 9 and Phoenix age 5. I have many passions ranging from photography, writing, boxing and music, but I'd say one of the things I am extremely passionate about is running. And running long.

RO: Correct me if I am wrong but did you go from surf photography to long distance runner over night, how did this come about?

Oh look, in the bigger scheme of things I was just an absolute amateur when it came to surf photography haha. Heavily inspired by yourself of course but photography itself had always been a big part of my life and somewhat in my blood with my grandfather James Coe being an avid photographer himself living on the Gold Coast. I was fortunate enough to learn how to use non-digital cameras and develop film whilst at school which over time I developed a great love for it and went on to study it after graduating from school. But you see running was also in my blood with my grandfather being a relative of the great Sebastian Coe who of course was running royalty in the 80's. Which made sense because I had always felt a great connection with running. As a kid in primary school, the 100m and 200m were my preferred choices... the thought of anything longer was just to hard for my young mind to comprehend but as I got older and into high school I soon realised I wasn't as fast as I once was. In the 100m I had gone from 1st and 2nd places to 3rd and 4th's and over time even the 200m became an absolute mission. So I decided to try my luck in cross country. My body seemed to enjoy it a lot more. But back then, a long distance to me was only a couple kilometres. Never in my mind would I have ever thought that in time I would be running distances accumulating 100 to 200km and having a desire to run further.

RO: Is every day different when you set out on long runs or is there a certain distance or time when you start questioning yourself, what drives a positive mindset during those tough times?

When running distance, you have to be prepared to step away from your comfort zone. Much like your job jumping into the open water. You just never know what to expect. And that's one of the things I love about distance running. It is an absolute thrill not knowing what my body is capable of doing... I find it really exciting. Pain and all. You could get to 50km and feel as though you could run a 100km more or you could experience the complete opposite feeling wishing had never started haha you just never know how your body is going to handle a run. I mean, you can train as much as you like but nothing will ever prepare you for what you will endure on 30 or 40hr run. After a few kilometres your inner demons start to creep in and thats when you start doubting yourself. Your heart says 'keep going' but your most inner thoughts want you to give up sending messages to your legs saying 'Stop' 'Your tiered' 'Your done'. After reaching around the 190km mark during last years telethon, I broke down. I was in pain, I was tiered and I was quite emotional I guess from all those things combined and after a couple minutes to regather my thoughts I felt strangely amazing. I felt as though I had broke through a barrier and I had a new lease of energy. I had pushed well out of my comfort zone and that energy was my reward. Sounds strange I know but it's a feeling I will never forget. But what gets me through those tough times overshadowing the demons is the cause. The cause being that I'm running fundraising for a program called Juiced Tv which is based at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane, and it's a Tv show for the kids of the hospital... hosted by the kids of the hospital. It helps take their mind off what they are going both mentally and physically and creates a safe zone for the children allowing them to just be kids. So I try and raise as much money as I can running so that this program can stay in the kids lives for many years to come and hopefully expand into other hospitals all around Australia.

RO: I feel like I couldn't run out of sight on a dark night, if you could give one piece of advice to increase those km’s and how to enjoy the act of running what would it be?

When I first set out to run distance, I can't say I remember a moment where I did enjoy it haha but one morning I woke up around 5am, told my wife I'd be back in a couple hours and off I went running down the road. No phone, no food, no water... and it was very much like a scene from Forest Gump... I'd come to the end of a road and Id think to myself 'Well Iv come this far I may as well just keep on running' haha and so 12 hours and over 60km later I returned home, burnt, starving, dehydrated, both feet covered in blisters, the biggest sweat rash you could ever imagine and one angry wife haha. You see not taking my phone stopped me from calling my wife to come pick me up when I was struggling... The fact I didn't have it meant I had no choice but to run home. Again, if someone was to plan to run some distance... be prepared to step out of your comfort zone because you just never know what you are capable of doing unless you do. Put your shoes on, start running, run until you feel as though you can't run anymore... Don't get caught up worrying about how many k's you do or what time you do it in... that's not what Running is about. Just run. Everything else will come.

RO: What or who inspires Kieron Douglass?

Oh wow, where do I start. There are so many people who inspire me on so many different levels it's ridiculous haha. And especially at different stages of my life. But they have all played a huge part in shaping the person I am today.

It all started with guys like Tom Carroll who I actually chat quite a lot to these days and I still fan girl out every time haha and of course Kelly Slater... I'd be a 7-8yr old kid seeing these guys in magazines and in surf videos and it would blow my mind. I still have the first ever Surfer Mag I saw them in haha. So that's where my passion for surf came into it. But guys like Steve Irwin who i actually had the privilege of meeting and hanging out with for a half an hour one day. He just had the best attitude on life and he was just such a passionate guy about everything thing he did... his passing like many others I'm sure affected me greatly but his energy is still very much alive and still inspires me to this day. As a kid watching Thriller in Manila on VHS and watching all the Rocky movies... Doing so gave me the balls to become an amateur boxer at age 13-14... Guys like yourself who inspired me not just by your work but by your sheer sacrifice, courage, heart and strength. The fact that someone would battle monster swell just to capture a photograph is absolutely phenomenal. And guys like Mark Mathews and Richie Vas who ride those waves. And then we have guys like my good mate Barney Miller. That man's heart and determination is like no other I have ever seen. He honestly gives me goosebumps. Im bloody proud of him.

Running wise I'd have to say guys like 70's runner Steve Prefontane... He had a huge ticker and would run until he had to be stretched off the track haha and of course you can't go past Usian Bolt. I also draw inspiration from music, books and a lot of movies but look above all, my wife and kids are at the very top of that list. I look at them and I have energy for days and 2nd to them are of course all the kids I meet at the hospital. Most of those kids are going through challenges you or I could ever imagine but you would never know it. Always smiling and laughing. It gives me the greatest strength. It's hard to put in words.

As a whole, I am inspired by people who are willing to sacrifice a part of their life to a cause. People who set out to make a difference and make change. People who don't give up when life issues them a challenges or 3... Because what's life without a challenge. And I guess just people who get the same buzz off life as I do.

RO: You just finish running 30hrs straight around Brisbane in 2016 if you can recall what were your thoughts 60-sec, 1hr, 1day and then 1month after completing the conquest?

60 seconds - Let's go legs. This is it, everything we have worked for is for this day. Let's not let each other down.

1hr - Music is running through my body and I'm Feeling good.

1day - Don't you even start complaining, you are only 8hrs in... 22 to go. I could go a beer.

1month - I walked away from that run a completely different runner. No run seemed impossible to do and no amount of kilometres seemed enough for the cause I was running for. Planning for the following year was well underway.

RO: If I was to say to myself - lets go out for a 4 hour run around the block, I would easily convince myself that’s a terrible idea, you have added a zero to that number, 40 hours non stop for Telethon on November 17th, what’s going to get you to your goal, your physical or mental strength?

Mental strength. Don't get me wrong, physical plays a massive part in running But it can sometimes be a bit of a cop out because we are all capable of achieving great things physically but it's your mental strength that will get you over that line.

RO: The Telethon run is no doubt your number one goal at the moment however beyond this what else would you like to achieve in your running life and your life away from the running track?

I run and train everyday from Christmas until Telethon in November so once the telethon is done it can be quite a tough time mentally because you have spent such a long time training and being dedicated to something and now it's gone you have nothing to look forward to. So I always make sure I have goals after Telethon and events to plan so I have something else to work towards. It's a bit like going on a holiday and coming home and going 'damn, I wish I was still on holidays'. I am currently planning a run with one of my great mates Ben Southall in the new year... This run has never been done before so without giving to much away, let's just say it involves lots of sand and a whole lot of trails. But I also have another run planned for telethon which is going to be an absolute cracker and something I have never done before. But personally, I'd like to get over to NZ with the family at some point to run some of its scenic roads surrounded by the mountains. Places like Mt Cook. Living out of a camper van for a few weeks recharging the battery's away from the hustle and bustle... it would be absolutely beautiful. And at some stage in a few years time I'd like to run clear across Australia. Now that would be some serious fun.

RO: Why running?

Oh look, we all know the amazing benefits running can produce. It's one of the greatest things anyone can do for themselves both physically and mentally boosting their all round wellness. But thats not the only reason I run. As humans we have a capability to not only achieve great things but to help others in the process. For a long time I had been searching high and low trying to figure out what my purpose was in this life and how I could do my part. Some people are given the ability of knowledge for things like finding cures and medically helping people, some are not necessarily given the gift of physical ability but have the ability to inspire with speech. Everyone has a purpose regardless their circumstances. Wether they are abled or disabled... We all have a part to play into making this world a better place. A few years ago at a time where I was struggling to make sense of it all, a friend of mine had posted on Facebook about a program that was in dire need of fundraising so that it could launch... Enter Juiced Tv ( And at exactly 2am the following morning... My purpose hit me... Running. I woke my wife up and I said to her 'I'm going to run! I'm going to run for as long as my body will let me and I'm going to make it my life mission to raise as much money as I can for this program'. That is why I run.

RO: Where can people follow the Kieron Douglass journey?



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