The RMA Podcast
The RMA Podcast. Episode 56. My Western States. With Simone Hayes

The RMA Podcast. Episode 56. My Western States. With Simone Hayes

August 8, 2022

Today on the RMA Podcast we chat to Australian Ultra Running Representative, runner and Sydney mum, Simone Hayes about her experience running at the 2022 Western States Endurance Run. 

Simone is no stranger to endurance events, having been 'conned' by a friend to enter her first North Face 100 (UTA) some years ago. She never looked back, and since then has forged her way on the tracks and trails of ultra events, year after year, including representing Australia on the world stage at the 24 hour World Championships in France in 2019. 

Simone works as dedicated Level 3 Recreational Running Coach and PT at Energy Fitness Gymea where she shares her knowledge and skill with those who love to keep fit and active and challenge themselves also in similar pursuits. 

We chat to Simone about her dedication to train and enter ultra events over 100km year after year in order to maintain her qualifiers for the Western States Endurance run, and how it felt when her name was finally pulled out of the ballot in 2021 out of over 66,000 others and years of waiting! 

We discuss her training leading in, especially training for the heat, and how it all panned out on race day, what lessons she learnt and what she has in store next. 

The Western States Endurance Run is a 100.2-mile (161 km) ultramarathon held on the Sierra Nevada Mountain trails each year in June. The race begins in Olympic Valley and finishes at on a high school athletics track in Auburn, California. The terrain runs through high passes and deep canyons and can record temperatures over 50 degrees while runners ascend 18,090 feet (5500 m) and descend 22,970 feet (7000 m) on their way to the finish line. Runners must finish before the 30-hour time limit for the race receive a bronze belt buckle, or runners finishing under 24 hours receive a silver belt buckle. 

You can find out more about Simone at, follow her on instagram at @energyfitnessgymea or read all about her race at 

To find out more about Western States Endurance run look here

You can also find out more about Australian Ultra Running Association (AURA), where Simone is a Committee member striving to entice more women into this amazing sport at

This podcast was brought to you by fisiocrem Australia and will be final instalment in Season 2 of the RMA Podcast. 

The RMA Podcast. Episode 55. Sliding door moments, Athletics, Olympics and Motherhood. With Genevieve Gregson.

The RMA Podcast. Episode 55. Sliding door moments, Athletics, Olympics and Motherhood. With Genevieve Gregson.

July 25, 2022

Today on the podcast I am speaking with one of Australia's best Middle Distance Runners, Genevieve Gregson.  Genevieve is a 3x Olympic finalist having competed at the 2012 London, 2016 Rio, and (postponed) 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. She also competed in both the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games, and has been a finalist in 2 World Championships, and holds the Australian record for her chosen event, the 3000m steeplechase.  

I speak to Genevieve about her journey from her idyllic childhood, growing up on a farm inland from the Gold Coast to her athletic pursuits and sliding door moments, that led her to compete as an athlete on the world stage, to her newest adventure,  motherhood.

Genevieve was a talented runner as a teen, and had a passion for the sport from a very young age, and it was her parents that saw potential in her, encouraging her to take on a scholarship in the USA where she could not only study, but develop her running. Against her desires, Genevieve went, and although it took her a long time to come to terms with her situation far from home, family and friends, it was this opportunity that would lead Genevieve to qualify for her first Olympic Games in London in 2012. Not only that, Genevieve managed her way through controversy to earn her spot on the Olympic team that year, having initially being left off due to qualifying late for her position, and Athletics Australia overturning their decision allowing her to compete, which opened up a whole new world and professional running career spanning over 10 years now where Gen has competed in not only one, but two more Olympic Games.

We discuss what running meant to her and how she managed training and competing at such a high level, and we talk in depth about her recent devastating injury at the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics where she suffered a ruptured Achilles while competing in the final of the 3000m steeplechase. We discuss how this injury devastated her at first, but how she has been able to rehab from her injury reframe what running looks like in her life.

It was this catalyst of events that led Genevieve and her husband Ryan to consider starting their family, and amongst rehabbing from her injury, and surgery, they have welcomed a little boy Archer to the world, and out of all the achievements of her life, Archer would be considered one of her greatest.  

We discuss her journey to motherhood, through pregnancy and birth, how Gen is managing her life as a new mum, and her hopes for her future as an athlete while navigating her latest quest, parenthood.

This podcast episode is brought to you by fisiocrem Australia 

The RMA Podcast Episode 54. Finding my strength. With Angela Caithness.

The RMA Podcast Episode 54. Finding my strength. With Angela Caithness.

July 11, 2022

On Episode 24 of the RMA podcast we chat with Sydney Runner, Angela Caithness. Now at age 51, Angela shares with us how she has found her strength through running.

In this episode we discuss Angela's background. Born in 1970, Angela grew up on a farm just outside of Devonport Tasmania. She shared an Idyllic childhood in a beautiful location with her sister Caroline and her parents, with views of the snow capped mountains in one direction and over the paddocks in the other direction to the blue sea of Bass Strait. 

We discuss the many trauma's that Angela has endured in her life. In January 1990 her dad got hit by a falling tree in a freak accident on their farm, rendering him a quadriplegic. We talk about how this impacted her family, and Angela as a teenager. Tragically, in August 2005 her sister was diagnosed with lung cancer (non smoker) which led to brain cancer. She passed away December 2007, 2 months after her 40th birthday. Her children were 7 and 5. Shortly after that, her father battled bad health and passed away in March 2009, and her mother in the December of the same year. So in 2009 Angela had lost her whole family before she had even turned 40.

Angela's running Story didn't start until just before she turned 48 when her kids were all grown up and she could finally do something for herself. Angela used to love to walk her dog at the local oval, but her dog passed away. After that Angela kept walking, and thought she would see if she could run from one light pole to the next. Then she challenged herself to run one or two laps of the oval. Then that Christmas her sister-in-law encouraged her to run around Lake Tuggeranong with her - about 7km's, so she trained herself for that distance and they ended up running 2 laps which was 14km's and her longest run. Then the rest was history. Angela was training and running events. She was training hard for the upcoming Canberra half when the world went into lockdown in March 2020. Lockdown for her meant that she had nothing to do but run. A local friend suggested she join strava and invited her to join RMA. It was here that she learnt so much about running and made an amazing friend, Claire McCleary. In 2021 she finally overcame injury and was feeling fit and strong, and because Angela had turned 50 she got sent a reminder to go for a mammogram as the Breastscreen van was nearby. During this routine scan she discovered she had DCIS - Ductal carcinoma in situ - early stage breast cancer. The following morning she was meeting the breast surgeon, breast doctor and breast care nurse. Angela made the decision to have a lumpectomy and radiation and she kept running when she could as it made her feel normal. She even did the Virtual Dubbo Stampede in between surgery and radiation- a PB OF 1:34:47!

Not only that, at the Canberra half marathon this year Angela came first in the 50-59 age group! and 1st Place female at the Western Sydney Marathon half marathon this June! She is showing other women that age and experiences are no barrier to your goals, and that you should chase them and live life to the full! 

Angela has learnt that she is stronger than the traumas of her past, and that she has a bright future ahead full of possibility. All you need to do is believe. 

You can follow Angela's journey on instagram at @angelacaithness

This episode is brought to you by fisiocrem Australia 

The RMA Podcast. Episode 53. Lessons from the back of the pack, plus finding community and purpose. With Michelle Dzeigo

The RMA Podcast. Episode 53. Lessons from the back of the pack, plus finding community and purpose. With Michelle Dzeigo

June 27, 2022

On Episode 53 you will meet a vibrant, energetic and fun person, Michelle Dziego. I am not sure that you would ever meet someone so community-minded and passionate about connecting people. 

Michelle came to running later in life when she was introduced to parkrun, then RMA. Since then she has found a community of like-minded women to network with and support their running adventures. 

As you will hear in this episode, running isn't always about times and pace, but more about the places, people and experiences that it connects us to; something that Michelle has discovered along the way. 

Michelle lives in South Australia, and is an integral part of the RMA network there, and volunteers her time as a parkrun Event Ambassador, and an RMA Community Ambassador, regularly gathering the RMA tribe in SA each week for local runs, or volunteering at events around her state with other RMA ladies! You may meet her on the finish line, either dressed up in theme or with her bright friendly smile. She is also studying her Certificate 3 & 4 in Fitness so that she can help and encourage other women to be fit and active! 

We chat to Michelle about what running was like for her when she started to now, and what it feels like to be at the back of the pack. You might just discover, that this is the place where most of the magic happens, and the fun begins. 

You can follow on Michelle's running adventures on instagram at @mad_about_running or join her in the RMA South Australian network! 

This podcast episode is brought to you by fisiocrem Australia 

The RMA Podcast. Episode 52. Love conquers all. The day our lives changed, and the lifetime that follows. With Ali Pottinger.

The RMA Podcast. Episode 52. Love conquers all. The day our lives changed, and the lifetime that follows. With Ali Pottinger.

June 13, 2022

Imagine you are out on a beautiful summers day for a run. You are about to embark on an open water swim, the sun is shining, and you are looking around at the breathtaking view around you thinking how lucky you are at this time in your life. Then your phone rings. It's your partner telling you that they have had a serious mountain bike accident on the trails. They then tell you that they can't feel anything... How would you feel? What would you do? Is this the moment that your lives change forever? This is exactly what happened to New Zealand running coach and mentor, Ali Pottinger on the 26th February 2022. 

Ali Pottinger and Kerry Suter, both running coaches and founders of Squadrun, a running platform from New Zealand, have helped people achieve their running goals, especially in the trail and ultra space for years. Inseparable, the pair can be found bantering on the finish line of many races, climbing mountains together, or cheering on their runners, and now, side by side learning to live their new normal - a life challenged by disability. 

On the morning of the 26th February 2022, Kerry suffered a catastrophic injury while biking in the trails surrounding their home in Rotorua, causing his neck to dislocate and break, impacting his spinal cord and leaving him a Tetraplegic. This resulted in the loss of the use of all four of Kerrys' limbs and torso and catapulted him, and Ali into an unknown life of disability. 

So much is shared about someone when they suffer such a traumatic loss, such as what has happened to Kerry, but I wanted to sit down with Ali and get her perspective as a loved one, who has had to go through such a trauma, seeing her partner, once strong and athletic, now broken and scared, and what it feels like to live the reality that life would never be the same as it was before that summers day. Not only that, how she has navigated advocating for Kerry, now as his carer to get the most for him, so that they can live a rich, fulfilling and adventurous life once outside the confines of hospital and rehabilitation. 

Not only this, I wanted Ali's perspective on how she has navigated this trauma, along with the excitement, and at times uncertainty, of the future ahead for their growing family, as Ali and Kerry share the journey to parenthood, expecting their first baby together; a pregnancy which they discovered only weeks before the accident.

As you will hear in this episode, this couple don't give up easily, and just like any good ultra, hard work and dedication can lead to some pretty amazing outcomes, and although the journey to the finish line is traversed along high mountains and low valleys, the community that we share the trail with is valued most of all. This community; the Global running community, has rallied along-side our friends Ali and Kerry to help them financially navigate their road ahead. You can also donate at the links below, to show your support. 



New Zealand:

You can find out more about Ali on Instagram at @ali.pottinger and check out more about Squadrun at

This podcast was brought to you by fisiocrem Australia 

The RMA Podcast. Episode 51. Running for joy. With Natasha Hammond.

The RMA Podcast. Episode 51. Running for joy. With Natasha Hammond.

May 30, 2022

In Episode 51 we speak with RMA Sydney Community Ambassador and mum of three, Natasha Hammond!

We chat to Natasha about her journey to running, running through pregnancy, life as a busy mum, business owner and philanthropist, and how running has connected her with community. We discuss her humanitarian work, and how this has stemmed from the legacy that her father instilled in her from his humble beginnings in Australia as a refugee from Russia. 

We discuss what running challenges were sparked in Natasha's life, and the joy that it brings when she accomplishes the goals that she sets for herself, such as her recent completion of the Larapinta Stage Race in Alice Springs.

Running brings so much joy and connection, and on this episode, we learn how this connection through not only the running community, but with discovering one's self brings passion to our lives.

You can find more information about helping the Ukrainian appeals as discussed in this episode at

This episode is brought to you by fisiocrem Australia

The RMA Podcast. Episode 50. Unbreakable. Choosing to get up. With Nicole Jukes.

The RMA Podcast. Episode 50. Unbreakable. Choosing to get up. With Nicole Jukes.

May 16, 2022

On Episode 50 of the RMA Podcast we have a very special guest, RMA Community Ambassador for Brisbane, Nicole Jukes. 

Nicole is a single mum of three kids, Amity 10, Jack 8, and Max who is in Heaven. In 2010 Nicole was a first time parent, and then she wasn't. You see, Nicole and her then partner were preparing to be parents of their first baby. It was then at her 20 week scan they were told that there was something wrong with their little son's heart. It was too small for a diagnosis at that point, so they had to wait a further 6 weeks to have a better look, and after an agonising wait, at 26 weeks whilst still in the womb their little baby Max was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. This is a condition where the left side of the heart is grossly undergrown and cannot pump blood correctly. It is a fatal diagnosis. 

They were given three choices that day. They could terminate their son, however they would need a special court order due to the term of their pregnancy. They could choose to carry him full term and when Max was born they could take an emergency helicopter to Melbourne and Max would have three open heart surgeries in the first year of his life, however this would only be enough to keep him palliative, and after that he would need a heart transplant that they were told would likely never come. The third option was to let Max continue to grow in Nicole's belly until he was ready to be born and he could live out his natural life with no interventions, and spend the time they could with him, possibly a few weeks. To make this choice as a parent, of how your child will die is something no one would ever wish on anyone, but that was the choice they were making, and whatever option they chose would mean they would be saying goodbye to Max. 

They chose to let Max continue to grow inside Nicole, knowing that while he was in utero, he was still with them. As you can imagine, enduring a pregnancy when you know the child inside you is inevitably going to die is something that would be unimaginable. People would ask Nicole about her unborn baby, and she would have to apologise to them and explain to them that when he is born, he is going to die. 

Max decided to meet them at 33 weeks and was a natural birth. They didn't get to hold him as he was taken away immediately and put on life-support in the neonatal ICU. On day two he was taken off life support, and it was then that Nicole and her partner got to hold Max as he took his final breaths. 

When Nicole left the hospital without her baby, she wanted to scream to every single person she passed, "Do you know what just happened to me? Do you know my baby died?!". 

You never really recover from a loss so great, but what Nicole did is something even greater. At one point she decided to make a choice. She could define herself as the woman who lost her child, or she could get up. She chose to get up. She decided it would be selfish of her to not go out and live her best life, because Max didn't get the chance to. 

Since then, and after 2015 when Nicole's sister coaxed her into her first 5k at parkrun, Nicole has run countless kilometres in living out her why. Her why has become ultra running, particularly the 'backyard ultra format', and she believes the whole reason she chose that is because you have to 'get up'. You need to get up out of the chair every hour and start the next lap. If you choose not to you are out. She chooses to endure the suffering and the pain because Max gave her the gift of unbreakability. She suffered through the worst pain imaginable and she didn't break. She wants to know "if that didn't break her, then what will?". How far can she go until she breaks?

Nicole has had great success as an ultra runner, having recently broken the female record at the Dead Cow Gully in 2022 of 201kms and 30 laps! It is her passion and purpose to share her love of this ultra format with those that will listen, while supporting and encouraging women into the ultra running space! Nicole manages her time well, while being a full time mum, she also works full time as a paralegal and is almost finished her law degree! She certainly knows how to juggle all the balls and get results! We are just thrilled to have her share her story, and we know there is so much more to come for Nicole! 

You can follow her on instagram at @nicolejukes or over in our RMA community page! 

This episode is brought to you by fisiocrem Australia 

The RMA Podcast. Episode 49. The adventures of Harry Hoverdog and his owner Jill. With Jill McClintock

The RMA Podcast. Episode 49. The adventures of Harry Hoverdog and his owner Jill. With Jill McClintock

May 2, 2022

On Episode 49 of The RMA podcast I chat to 59 year old runner and mum, Jill McClintock! We chat about all things running, how this entered Jills life and how running led her to a deep bond with her dog Harry! 

We discuss the companionship that Harry gives to Jill and how this lasting relationship has kept Jill running for many years and the bond that they share! 

For any canine lovers out there, this is a great story about how running creates connection and motivation and how our adventures can be shared with those we love, even the animal kind! 

You can find out more about the adventures of Harry the Hoverdog and his owner Jill over at instagram @harryhoverdog

This episode is brought to you by fisiocrem Australia 

The RMA Podcast. Episode 48. Barkley Marathons and other adventures. With Isobel Ross.

The RMA Podcast. Episode 48. Barkley Marathons and other adventures. With Isobel Ross.

April 18, 2022

On Episode 48 of the RMA Podcast we speak with mum and ultra runner, Isobel Ross. Isobel came to running from mountain biking, where she was after a new adventure that wouldn't leave her broken, yet would still provide her with a challenge. Soon after she ran her first few races she was hooked, and she quickly learnt that she not only had talent for racing in mountains (she won her first ultra at 6 foot track in 4hrs 11 minutes), but she fell in love with running in them, and running a long way. 

Isobel is no stranger to long distances, having competed as a 3-time Australian long distance mountain running representative at the World Championships with a best finishing place of 10th female, and first Australian female, and has competed and won some of the worlds toughest ultra mountain marathons, including a Fastest Known Time on the 7 highest peaks in Victoria. Isobel is an incredible, yet humble athlete who has raced all over the globe, including participating in the notorious Barkley Marathons. 

In this episode we specifically wanted to chat to Isobel about how she came to running from mountain biking, and what she loved about it, and especially what she loved and learned about herself through the experience of ultra running. 

We also chat to her at length about her experience at the coveted Barkley Marathons, where she has not only competed once, but twice! We wanted to know why she chose the Barkley, how she gained her spot on the start line, what her training entailed for such a feat, and what lessons it taught her, along with the interesting characters she met, and we wanted to learn more about the challenging nature of this race - one of the toughest races in the world. 

This episode is fun and insightful, and Isobel is so easy to talk to, and makes you want to lace up and run out the door into the mountains! She makes it sounds so easy! Not only does she exude a positive, motivational attitude, she is humble in her approach, allowing herself to learn from others along the way, and share her knowledge and experience as a coach and mentor to many.

You can find out more about Isobel at her website, or on instagram at @isobel.r


This episode is brought to you by fisiocrem Australia.



The RMA Podcast. Episode 47. Adventurous Sprit, with Heather Hawkins

The RMA Podcast. Episode 47. Adventurous Sprit, with Heather Hawkins

April 4, 2022

On episode 47 of the RMA podcast we speak with an incredible woman, Heather Hawkins. Heather is just like you and I. She is an everyday mum of two children, but she has been on some incredible adventures after finding herself diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer at the age of 41 in 2007. 

Five years post diagnosis, after the shock and subsequent treatment for her cancer, Heather took up running by training for her first fun run, the 4k Mothers Day Classic in 2012. After finishing the race, Heather knew that her love of running had only just begun, and she started to seek out her next adventure. 

Since that day, Heather has run all over the world. She has completed 6 Half marathons, over 20 marathons and 6 ultramarathons, including her first marathon in 2015 at the North Pole Marathon, where she placed 1st Female! She has run the World Marathon Challenge, which is 7 marathons in 7 continents in 7 days, she has trekked 1700kms in 5 months across Nepal, Run the Volcano marathon in Chile, competed in the toughest foot race on earth; the Marathon De Sables (a 250km ultramarathon in the Sahara Desert in Morocco), and run The Track, a 520km race from Alice Springs to Uluru. 

As you have guessed by now, Heather likes a good challenge! 

Not only does Heather do these things to challenge herself, she does them with immense gratitude for a second chance at life, and to fully immerse herself in adventure and joyful moments. 

On top of this, Heather is an Ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia, The Can Too Foundation, ANZGOG and the Indigenous Marathon Foundation, and through her adventurous pursuits she tirelessly raises much needed awareness and funds for cancer research. 

Heather has also published a memoir, "Adventurous Spirit", by Murdoch Books documenting much of her life and some of her incredible adventures.

You can follow Heather over at Facebook:

Instagram: @heather_adventurousspirit 


or follow her North Pole Marathon experience: 

or her Adventurous Spirit YouTube channel:


Follow the below link Link to Ovarian Cancer Australia for signs and symptoms and support for Ovarian Cancer:


And for her memoir "Adventurous Sprirt" click the link below:







This episode was brought to you by fisiocrem Australia


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