#110: Karen Barrett from 2-pack-a-day Smoker to Record-Setting Trail Runner [Podcast] - Sparta Chicks

#110: Karen Barrett from 2-pack-a-day Smoker to Record-Setting Trail Runner [Podcast]

Sparta Chicks Radio

Jun 16
Welcome Karen Barrett to Sparta Chicks Radio
I actually want to see what my mind and body can do because I have no idea what my end point is….or even if I have a limit

This week on Sparta Chicks Radio you’ll meet trail runner Karen Barrett.

Karen has a remarkable story which reminds me of the power of choice and the power of self-belief.

A talented 800m and 1,500m 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 Karen 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 she loved running so much as a child,

* the 2-pack-a-day smoking habit she maintained for close to 25 years and what prompted her to quit, 

* why trail running is so special for her,

* why she thinks she was able to progress so quickly within the sport,

* how she decides she’s going to win any race she enters (and where that confidence comes from),

* the extensive mental preparation she puts into her races,

* why she doesn’t like the concept of ‘motivation’,

* her training partners, known as Pace and Cadence; the two rescue Kelpies she runs with,  

* the daily activity she attributes her confidence and success to, 

* how much sleep she got during the 49 hours it took her to finish the Down Under 135 (you’ll be amazed!), and

* her next challenge; a 500km race!

You will need headphones for this conversation if you have little ones around.

And I will say this; it comes with a trigger warning too. We don’t go into detail, there is a reference to rape in this conversation. 

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Notes and resources:

iTunes | Stitcher | Spotify

To find out more about Karen or to say hello, you can find her on Instagram or Facebook.

You can find the Tail Runner website here.