Kosciusko Ultra: Ryan McKenzie
I’m 42 years old and live in Melbourne with my wife Janelle and two kids - Madison and Hudson.
I started Rycon Building Group 18 years ago, building new luxury homes. I feel very fortunate to do what I love and we have an amazing team.
I love getting involved with the kids’ sports. I enjoy boxing and all the training involved in the preparation for the events I enter. The journey is just as much fun as the destination!
Q: Why Ultra Trail and why the 100miler?
The amazing camaraderie amongst the athletes and support crews. I love the community spirit and the vibe on course. The encouragement you receive, even from people you don’t know, who are cheering you on from start to finish is so uplifting.
The 100 miler was a test of going into the unknown for me after completing a few 100kms. I knew a little of what to expect, but it’s a huge difference tackling 100km compared to 100miles. It definitely tests you physically and mentally.Q:
Your thoughts on the cross over between Ironman Triathlon and Ultra Trail Running?
Having completed the Port Macquarie and Cairns Ironman competitions this year, I saw Lucy Bartholomew do the ironman and 100 miler close together and it inspired me to give it a crack. Lots of similarities in the training and both require the same mental discipline in training and in the event.
But I feel like the build into an ironman is more taxing because you have to maintain fitness across three different disciplines. Whereas the 100 miles is long training time on the legs and obviously once the event hits it’s a big difference between the times.
One is around 11 hours for me and the other 24 hours plus. So the miler really tests you on race day with fatigue, lack of sleep etc. and if the weather turns like it did at Kosciusko, you are in for the long haul and you need to rely on grit and determination.
Q: How stunning was the UTK course?
Hard to describe just how beautiful the scenery is. There is so much variety on course from the high elevation, snow gum forests, lakes, ski villages, rivers. Truly amazing and there was always something to look at over the 165km journey (well apart from when I was running in the dark). I only wish I could have taken more photos on course, but the weather conditions didn’t allow for it. But I took the opportunities when I could in between the downpours and lighting! Just means I’ll have to go back.
"Running down and having complete strangers cheering you on and genuinely excited for you"
Q: explain the feeling of reaching the top of Australia at Mt Kosciusko and then the finish line?It was a great feeling hitting the highest point – the wind was blowing an absolute gale though, so it was a quick turnaround. The finish line is very similar to the Ironman. Running down and having complete strangers cheering you on and genuinely excited for you, is such an amazing feeling. As it was my first 100 miler I also got to experience ringing the bell. Both UTMB and Ironman really make the finish line chutes something you want to keep coming back for – you can’t beat that buzz.Q: What’s next on your endurance journey?2024 kicks off with the 70.3 Ironman in both Tasmania and Geelong. It then gets super exciting with two big bucket list events on the agenda, which I’m extremely fortunate to get into. One ultra triathlon and one ultra trail - the perfect mix for me. First in May, I’ll be doing the Ultraman in Noosa over 3 days covering 10k swim, 421k bike and 84.3k run. It’s only a small group of about 45 people so I’m really looking forward to the test as it’s a step up from the traditional ironman.Then late August will be the pinnacle of 100 mile ultra running in Chamonix for the Mont Blanc UTMB World Championship 170km / 10,000m of elevation. This one spans across 3 countries in the French Alps with a 46 hour cutoff. Can’t wait!!!