Bricklayer Turns Into Ultra Runner

We asked our Victorian ultra runner and Brick Laying machine Shane a few questions, we were fairly inspired by the man from Pakenham

Bricklayer Turns Into Ultra Runner

A few key insights and get a better feel for how he tackles some of the things he does.

He has incredibly overcome a breakdown, lost 80kg all the while supporting his family. He has an incredible wife and three children. Please enjoy our Q&A with Shane.

Shane, starting with the basics how did you get into running?
Well my starting point is a little different. It all started with the birth of my first daughter in September 2014, this came with all stresses and strains that parenthood presents. Some thrive and others survive, I did my best, but at a point I started to drown in the mess of it all. In September 2015 it all came unstuck and I hit rock bottom. My mental state took a beating and I ended up having a mental breakdown. In hindsight, this was the best thing to ever happen to me. From there, with the help of family and friends I reached a point of realisation, pretty much completely restructured and rebuilt my life.

Prior to my running journey, which started in early 2016. I had never run a full lap of an oval and never thought I ever would. I was always the fat kid at school and I lived that unhealthy lifestyle all the way through till I was 24 years old (2015) where I tipped the scales at a massive 188kg. Running started as a warm up at the gym for me, before I knew it running was my newest addiction.

I have since tackled everything head on from there, to date I’ve lost 80kg and have progressed from never running a single lap to now running ultra marathons.

Incredible, we all have to start from somewhere and you are proof that anything is possible. What is your most memorable running achievement to date?
There are a few that come to mind but 2bays 56km is the one that stands out. I’ve enjoyed this one the most. Not only did I find something I loved, but I also found my people. Everyone was so inviting and friendly. I think all runner’s out there know it takes a special kind of stupid to enjoy running for 7 hours straight. An experience I’ll never forget.

We think the running community is pretty special, and it’s what The Running Klub is all about. So how did you approach the 2Bays challenge?
I approached it the same as everything I do now with everything. I’m all in or nothing. I basically eat, sleep and breathe trail running for the entire lead up. For the 4 months before every run and mini achievement was one step stone closer to the victory lap.

Did you use a personal coach?
Yes I do, he is a good friend of mine and an absolute legend of a bloke Micheal Soutter from Soutter on the run.

What does an average day/week look like for you?
Monday through Friday I’m generally up at 4.30am for a quick breakfast, then out for a run or workout. I start work at 7am and manage to be home at 330-4pm. I get to spend a few hours playing with my children before a 6pm dinner, followed by bath time and getting the kids to bed by 7.30-8pm. Then I fall asleep on the couch by 9 and get up to do it all again.

On the weekends I enjoy a Saturday parkrun, help out with housework and food shopping a little rest sometimes. Sunday’s I’m up early for a long run and aim to be home by 9-10am ready for some family weekend adventures.

That sounds pretty hectic! How do you manage to fit it all in?
I just try to get it all to fit in when it can. I’m up before the sun every day to make it happen while still juggling 40 hours of work and I love my family so I’m home every night to put the kids to bed.

So what occupies those 40 hours a week that we call work?
I work as a bricklayer so it’s heavy and hard work but I love it.

What are your golden rules to make it all work?
At home, Cassie, my beautiful partner and mother to our beautiful children keeps the house in check. So I am able to train and achieve these crazy goals I set myself, while having a 5 year old and 2 year old twins as well. I don’t really have a golden rule, I just really enjoy the training process, the race, or run I’m working toward. The light at the end of the road is the final victory lap at the end of a big race.

Cassie sounds like a wonderful support. Did you find at times it challenging juggling work, family and training?
There are always challenges when you have children and honestly it’s about finding the right people around you that want to see you achieve your goals, and not hold you back. I’m incredibly fortunate to have a lot of support from my partner, Cassie and my running crew, the Pakenham Road runners.

It sounds as though you have a great crew behind you, were there any stand out hurdles for you to get past?
The biggest hurdle was just having enough time to get the training done. So there were a few functions that I had to miss out on and a few 3:30am early morning alarms but the main thing was we got it done.

Was staying on track with your goal hard?
Not at all, just seeing how far I have come. Keeps me wondering what more can I achieve. This is what keeps me on track, as well as seeing the pride in my kids eyes as I cross the finish line. My kids absolutely motivate the hell out of me.

What was your biggest learning experience from it?
How far you can actually push the human body even when your mind is telling you to stop

We absolutely agree! Your mind is the most powerful tool when it comes to competing in long distance races so what’s on the horizon for you Shane?
I have two major goals to get under 100kg and destroy Tarawera 102km next Feb for my 30th

Impressive! and the in between?
I have a few races coming up as building blocks for the Tarawera. First the Wonderland 60km in August and happening in the Grampians. Plus the Phillip Island 50km in September.

Also there is a crew of 4 us going next year, so we intend on spending plenty of hours running through and over the Dandenong's as training.

Amazing stuff, we can’t wait to follow Shane on this adventure.
Stay up to date with Shane’s journey
Instagram: @runningmytitsoff