Jules Mackin is one of the intrepid athletes who’ll be tackling the Treble Breakwall Buster at the Brooks/Compresport Port Macquarie Running Festival on March 11. This event is not for the faint-hearted, as competitors run three events – the half marathon (21.1 km), 10 km and 5 km back-to back – and Jules has certainly proved her grit over the years! A cancer survivor, she also aims to raise awareness and funds for Can Too …
Hi Jules. We last chatted for FOCUS back in 2015! Your athletic journey since competing in your first triathlon in 2010 has been very inspiring … What have been some of the toughest events you’ve competed in recently?
I’ve competed in some challenging events. Most recently I did the Tweed Half Ironman distance in Pottsville; it was very hot – in the 30s. I had a great swim and bike, but unfortunately had sickness on the run leg, making it a very challenging day out! I was, however, delighted to still come away with a 2nd place in my age group and have qualified for the long course world championships.
What keeps you motivated and inspired to keep pushing your physical and mental limits?
Strangely enough, I am motivated by the fact that I have overcome cancer; I have an inner drive to inspire others and help them realise that you can bounce back from adversity and hard times. Having said that, I have encountered a few health issues over the last few years which have slowed me down a bit! I am not getting any younger! I think running and triathlon helps with stress release too.
The Brooks/Compresport Port Macquarie Running Festival is firmly in your sights now. On March 11, you’ll be one of the very hardy souls tackling the Treble Breakwall Buster – a half marathon
(21.1 km), followed by a 10 km and then finally a 5 km event, all in a row. What is your plan of attack for this tough event?
As for the treble buster, I can firmly say I am undercooked! I will approach it similar to a long triathlon, taking each leg at a time and pacing myself. I am not going after PBs or best times – just out to finish such a challenging event.
What’s your regular training schedule look like at the moment? When you head into an event like the Port Mac Running Festival, which involves only running – no swimming or cycling – does your training regime change?
I am currently resting after the Tweed event, but will jump back into training this week. I will focus more on running; however, keep some swimming and cycling for cross training purposes.
You’ve experienced a few setbacks – and a few joyous occasions – in the past year. Tell us about some of the highlights and lowlights.
Ha ha, yes! 2017, like most years for me, was full of highs and lows! Breaking my toe the day before leaving for the GC half marathon was frustrating indeed, although it did force me to visit the gym!
A particular highlight was winning a brand new Bianchi bike! I was over the moon and absolutely love it; I feel grateful and lucky about that.
There’s a cause you’re very passionate about too. What can you tell us about the organisation Can Too and how it helps those in our community?
I am passionate about finding a cure for cancer and have been involved in Can Too for years, holding several different roles: mentor, guest speaker, participant and coach. Can Too provides participants with a supportive team of coaches, team captains, mentors and resources to enable people run their first
10 km, half marathon and marathon. In return, participants raise funds to help find a cure for cancer. The focus is on finding a cure for cancer, fitness, fun, and community.
The reason I started as a participant was because my mum had cancer when I was 10 years old; I experienced the devastation it can have on a family, so I wanted to give back and raise money to help cure cancer. Ironically, two weeks after finishing a half marathon with Can Too, I had my own diagnosis – which came as a real shock, as I was 31 and thought I was fit and healthy.
Yes, those who read your interview from a few years ago would know that you were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2008, so you understand the importance of cancer research. You are obviously so very fit and healthy now – what words of support/encouragement could you offer to those who may be undergoing their own battle with cancer?
I was lucky during my diagnosis to be surrounded by amazing friends who supported me and got me through the tough times. My plea to them when I was sick was to keep positive, which created good vibes of hope and a brighter future. Each diagnosis is unique, so it is difficult to know how that person feels or what they are going through. My words of encouragement would be to keep positive vibes and love around you and ask for help when you need it. Be kind to yourself and patient; take time to recover and heal.
Where can we find out more about Can Too, and how we can become involved at a local level?
We are building the first Can Too pod here in Port; it kicked off in February. Come and be a part of the inaugural team! If you are keen to get involved, you can jump online at www.cantoo.org.au and register for the half marathon or relay event. Raise some much needed funds for cancer research and get fit by running your first half marathon! Don’t delay, sign up today – what do you have to lose?
Thanks Jules. Interview by Jo Robinson.
Can Too: www.cantoo.org.au
Port Macquarie Running Festival, info and registrations: