Based in the Blue Mountains just outside of Sydney, Brendan is one of Australia’s most successful and versatile endurance runners. He has a passion for running trails and road, over short and long ultra distances, and this has taken him around the world as well as to some of the most spectacular locations in Australia.
Brendan has achieved the rare feat of representing Australia in 50km and 100km road running, trail and mountain running and continues to participate in events ranging from 5km races through to ultra distance events at a competitive level.
His career racing highlights include a Top 10 finish at Western States Endurance Run, Top 5 at Ultra Trail-Mt Fuji, Top 20 at Comrades Marathon, Top 10 at the IAAF/IAU 100km World Championship and many domestic wins in Australia, including Ultra-Trail Australia (previously TNF100).
He was Australian Male Ultra Runner of the Year in 2012, 2015 and 2016.
I live in the Blue Mountains and work in Western Sydney. At present I am a running coach; hosting training sessions in the local area and coaching athletes from all around Australia online. My previous job (and profession) was a Special Education school teacher. I was a school teacher for 12 years and loved it. It was both a very challenging and rewarding career. But I am a runner, always have been and always will be, and as my own athletic achievements begin to slow down (excuse the pun), I've found coaching the next big challenge and have embraced it fully.
My love is endurance sports. As a kid I ran or rode my bike everywhere. These were the days before video games and stranger danger. I'm thankful to my parents for allowing and encouraging me to have an active and adventurous upbringing. I played all sorts of team sports, went to Scouts and Little Athletics and was always looking to get involved in new activities. Mum always had one rule on the weekends - 'be home before dark'.
This instilled in me a love of the outdoors, exploring and adventure. Being involved in the Scout movement also taught knowledge and bush skills that have stuck with me ever since. I even entered the occasional Fun Run too. The picture above was from one of the many City2Surfs I entered in my childhood.
Entering high school, I tore up my free school bus pass, and declared that ‘I’d rather run, thanks!’ In reality, it was actually quicker to run than to go on the bus route which gave me a bit more of a sleep in. I was very fortunate to attend an academic high school, which developed in me a love of learning; subconsciously if anything, yet it has held true right up to the present day. In 2010, I completed my masters degree in Special Education.
In my 20’s my youthful enthusiasm for running gave over to worldly temptations like team sports such as cricket and snooker and others that usually finished with eating party pies and drinking beer. Sport was very much a social thing and only happened by chance and not so much out of the love of fitness. It was a time for socialising.
Of course this had the side effect of becoming very unfit and overweight. Upon graduating and meeting and marrying my wife Nadine, I devoted a lot of time into my new career. So the weight continued to pile on as I enjoyed the fruits of a life that suddenly contained more income than I had ever had. Throughout this time I would still go through the odd 'fitness regime' and running was always my first choice of activity.
My way out of the rut, was in part, squash; a thoroughly good workout that helped me regain fitness and my zest for competition. Once my less than rapid climb up the squash rankings hit a plateau, I searched for a way to gain an edge on the squash court and shed some unwanted kilos. So, with the encouragement from my brother-in-law Ian, I started running regularly again. I soon realised that running was much more fun and suited my lifestyle, and so the running journey began again. Within a year I had lost the fat, joined Woodstock Running Club and was running marathons. As time has passed, I have progressed from shorter, road based running to longer trail runs.
Apart from running, I enjoy a lot of other sports; mountain biking, adventure racing, rogaining, skin/scuba diving and still play social squash. I guess I do these things as I love pushing my mind and body to the limits and being rewarded with fitness, health and friendships that have positive impacts on all aspects of my life. It also gives me the quiet time I need to process all the garbage that life throws at you.
What a journey it's been so far too. I've been to some wonderful places and met hundreds of special people through running. I've had the honour of representing Australia seven times across a range of disciplines including road, mountain and trail running, as well as my state NSW thrice in the road marathon. I am also on the International Inov-8 team - a dream come true which will take me wider and further than I ever thought, to some of the most spectacular places on Earth like Mt Fuji and Mt Blanc. Another great honour was to be named by my ultra running peers and the governing body of ultra running in Australia - AURA, as the 2012 Australian Ultra Runner of the Year which I repeated again in 2015.
Over the last three years I've expanded my 'running horizons', sideways if anything, and have started to grow my coaching business - 'UP Coaching'. I love sharing what I've learned and seeing others succeed gives me a great deal of joy. UP actually stands for ‘Unleashing Potential to Ultimate Perfromance' and this is what I’m all about. I am very excited about the growth of ultra and trail running and when my individual career winds down, I hope to be very much a part of it in through coaching and in a race directing capacity.
Behind the scenes, my wonderful and supportive wife Nadine keeps me very grounded for which I am forever grateful. The aim of this blog is both a way to record my reflections on running and a place to dump artefacts, like an electronic shoebox.
Safe, smart and strong running!
Major Awards and Achievements
Major Awards and Achievements
- 2013-Present Inov-8 International Team Member
- 2016 AURA (Australian Ultra Running Association) Australian Male Ultra Runner of the Year
- 2016 www.ultra168.com Australian Male Ultra Runner of the Year
- 2016 Australian Representative, IAU 100km World Championships
- 2016 Australian Representative, IAU Trail World Championships
- 2016 3rd place, Australian Short Course Ultra Trail Championships
- 2015 Australian Representative, IAU 50km World Championships
- 2015 Australian Representative, IAU 100km World Championships
- 2015 1st place, NSW Marathon Championships
- 2015 3rd place, Australian Marathon Championships
- 2015 AURA (Australian Ultra Running Association) Australian Male Ultra Runner of the Year
- 2015 Australian 6h Open Record (85km split of 100km World Champs in Doha)
- 2014 5th place, Ultra Trail World Tour Rankings
- 2014 22nd place, International SkyRunning Federation, Ultra Discipline Rankings
- 2014 Australian Representative, IAU 100km World Championships
- 2013 www.ultra168.com Australian Male Ultra Runner of the Year
- 2013 Blue Mountains Sportsperson of the Year
- 2013 40th place, International SkyRunning Federation, Ultra Discipline Rankings
- 2012 AURA (Australian Ultra Running Association) Australian Male Ultra Runner of the Year
- 2012 Australian Representative, IAU 100km World Championships
- 2011 1st place. Australian Ultra Trail Championships
- 2011 Australian Representative, Commonwealth Ultra Distance and Mountain Running Championships; Trail Running
- 2010 Australian Representative, World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships
- 2009 Australian Representative, Commonwealth Ultra Distance and Mountain Running Championships; 100km Road