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Thursday, May 30, 2024

KP’s journey to conquer the Braveheart’s 777

In the realm of endurance sports, the Bravehearts 777 stands as a true test of physical and mental strength: seven marathons, in seven consecutive days, across seven states.

For 26-year-old Canberran, Kait Primrose (‘KP’), the journey towards participating in this gruelling event was a transformative one.

Hearing about local runner Jess Peil’s participation in the marathon, KP’s interest was piqued. “When I saw Jess, I thought that’s probably something that I could do too.”

“I did it in 2021, and it pretty much broke me,” she laughed ruefully.  “I had never felt as alone and abandoned as I did during that week.

As fate would have it, the marathon coincided with a lockdown period, meaning KP’s family, who had eagerly planned to support her throughout the events, were grounded in Canberra.

“When people talk about the 777, they talk about the physical effects, how many blisters you have or how many toenails you lose,” said KP.

“But no-one really stops to ask how you feel after your event, whether you might need to unpack that experience.

“I’m a slow runner, so for six and half hours a day… I was with my demons.

“I was thinking about everything that I’ve ever done wrong in my life. It’s just so easy to get into such a negative mindset. Once your body goes, your mind slowly goes too.”

Despite running for a cause like Bravehearts, raising thousands of dollars to protect children from abuse, KP found herself feeling ashamed. 

“I didn’t stop to look at myself and say, ‘I still did it.’ I just thought other people were doing it ‘better.’”

KP’s lowest moment found her on Day Three, atop Mount Isa. With just three kilometres to go, she burst into tears, shocking her 17-year-old guide, who was the only other human in sight.

“This boy didn’t know how to deal with that,” she laughed. “But it was only day three, and I just felt utter defeat.  I did not know how I was going to keep going.

“We got to Cairns, and I completely shut off from the group. I stopped going to dinners.

“I think I was embarrassed, but I didn’t know how to handle that.”

She finished the 777, raising invaluable funds along the way. But for eight months after, KP disconnected from everybody. “I got massive runners blues. I didn’t touch my sneakers once.

“Last year, after watching from afar, I joined the crew for the Gold Coast Marathon and then went to the Legends dinner after Day Seven.

“I reconnected with the group, introduced myself to the new runners, and caught up with the old runners.

“And I said to myself, this is still something that I want to be a part of. Raising money for Bravehearts, raising awareness, is still something that I want to do.

“I needed to make positive memories of the experience, instead of being crowded by the negative ones.

“So, I reached out to the other runners in Canberra. I made a group chat and said, ‘I don’t have any other running friends and I’m going to need the help.’

“Before we knew it, Ross, John, Kirra, and I were training together every week. But they’ve been so much more than just running partners. They’ve become family through the training process.

“Whatever is happening or has happened, there are people around you that will help you overcome it.

“Ross, John, and Kirra have had the biggest impact on my training ever.”

Despite running better than she ever has before, thanks to her newfound running family, KP says she will never be the ‘glamourous’ runner.

“I’m very real in my emotions. If I’m struggling, you can tell that I’m struggling.

“I think you can 100 per cent start from a non-running background and get to the 777, if you’re committed, if you know why you’re doing it, then go for gold. It will transform you as a human.

“[But] you need to be prepared to learn yourself inside and out, nutrition, hydration, sleep. And you have got to be prepared to be strong, because it’s never going to look pretty.”

She laughed. “Well, I’m sure some people can make it look pretty, but not me.”

KP has a few goals in mind for the upcoming 777, which takes place from 26 June to 2 July, including raising $15,000 by the end of the event.

“Ultimately, I just want to be able to find something to smile about each day.”

To back KP and learn more, visit fundraise.bravehearts.org.au/fundraisers/kaitlinprimrose

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