“I really enjoy KTM – from starting at sunrise with the sound of birds waking up, to running along the river.” Says Rachel Helen Carter who has been running with us at the Kaveri Trail Marathon for 7 years and she has podium finishes for every one of them. We had the privilege of interviewing her and finding out more about her relationship with running.
- You’ve been running the KTM with us for 7 years. What makes you come back year after year?
I really enjoy the KTM – from starting at sunrise with the sound of birds waking up, to running along the river, enjoying the trail to the friendly atmosphere provided by runners cheering each other as we pass and great volunteers. It’s a really nice run and it’s a great weekend away for me.
- Which podium finish has been your most memorable one at the KTM?
One of my most memorable finishes was 2013. That year I had missed a long time goal to break 3:30 in July (Gold Coast Marathon). I ran KTM really well and discovered that with 5km to go I was going to break the 3:30 barrier. Then as I was coming up towards the finish line, I realised that I had the chance of running 3:25 – I was very happy when I crossed the line – I had run one hour faster than my first marathon time.
- What goes through your mind on the morning before a race?
Get up, c’mon Rachel get up, OK get dressed, eat something, pick up your bags, get to the start….. That’s what is going through my mind. Then when I get to the start, I am thinking about who I will meet, catching up with people having a last drink and visits to the bathroom. It’s a great time for socialising.
- Were you athletic before you started running?
Yes – I’ve always been into the outdoors. I’ve enjoyed climbing, kayaking and trekking since I was a teenager.
- Are you the kind to follow a running plan to the T or you make it up as you go along?
I like to make it up as I go along. Most days everything works and there are a few when I just haven’t got it in me. Last year I started KTM not knowing if I would run the whole race or pull out at the half way mark (I had been sick leading up to the event). I started off with a realistic pace and made a decision around the 19km point to keep going. I ended up walking a bit and then decided to see what I could do in the last 10km. I really enjoyed greeting everyone along the way and seeing how many smiles I could get.
- Do you run alone or with a group?
I don’t like running alone. That can be really hard – there have been times where there haven’t been any other long distance runners in Ooty. Right now I have a great friend I go out with on Saturday mornings – we chat and it’s a good time to catch up. Mike cycles with me when I want to do a long run and I like to get groups of our students out on shorter runs.
- What are your lifetime running goals?
I set myself a goal after my first marathon to go under 3:30 (as everyone at the finish line was saying things like ‘Mumbai is so hot, it added 30 – 60mins to my normal time’). I achieved that goal and haven’t set a new one. My aim is to explore new areas and enjoy different events. I really enjoyed running 100miles over 5 days a couple of years ago and I would like to do more stage runs like that. I need to fit running in with my responsibilities and family so I can’t go and do everything that I like the look of!
- When it comes to running, what is the measure of success in it?
Enjoyment. I believe I have had a good run (event or training) if I have had fun, enjoyed getting out and either spent time with people I care about or made new friends.
- Why would you recommend someone to run the Kaveri Trail Marathon?
It is a great experience. There are plenty of people to encourage you, great views, a friendly atmosphere and it’s a good weekend away.