I live about 300 metres from the trailhead that leads to the Cleland Conservation Park. Living near the trail head I could feel every day the need for a trail specific store that was near the trailhead as there are in so many other parts of the world. A gathering place for trail folk. I wanted a store that provided the gear that I trusted and gear that I thought was well-regarded in the trail community. The gear that I knew was the gear of choice overseas and in Australia. A store where you can soak in information about races, adventures, coaches, communities, gear and destinations and connecting people with the wider community of trail enthusiasts, adventurers and Dirtbags. I wanted to work with the brands and their reps who believed in their products and understood trail life.
So BKT-Trail was born. I am now a recovering lawyer, forever an adventure runner and a proprietor who has created a space where you can come in a bit pongy, a bit trail dirty and a bit sunscreen smelly. My space is your space.
I am not sure if adventure inevitably follows my run life or if I run far because I impatiently seek out adventure. Whilst I tend to lean towards the latter, adventure and running far, are now so closely related that I am unable to define them as separate experiences. Perhaps the magic is that if adventure is fun and running far is hard, uniting the two means I am regularly in a state of gratifying exhaustion.
I was pretty blessed at my first international event, the Marathon des Sables, as not only was the experience unforgettable, my strength and determination surprised me and my new companions were really tremendous. The Australian and New Zealand contingent occupied 4 tents and have since become my ultra-family. They were committed, strong, humble, supportive and bucket loads of fun. I thought: if this is what adventure running is all about, then I’m in, forever!! So, it came to be: my splendid adventure-run trail-love life.
My next multi-stage race was in the Amazon Jungle of Brazil and the seed for this event was planted in the gear and medical check-in at the MDS by my dear friend Richard Poole. I think we agreed to this race because of how insane it sounded. Little did I know that I would soon come to understand the pain of trench feet, jungle foot rot and the side-effects to my cheap anti-malaria medication. Little did I grasp that I would experience swimming through deep wide rivers in the middle of the night with not a soul in site but my companion in front of me, unsure of the presence of caimans and piranhas, falling head first into a tarantula nest, getting attacked from swarms of wasps or sleeping in the deep jungle with jaguars. Whilst I was participating in this race by choice only, my choice to continue was controlled by dogged determination. This race was dangerous and it was nuts, however, because of that madness I was taken to a place I had never been to before. At checkpoint 6 of the long day I came out of the Jungle on to the beach and I was broken. With 30kms still in front of me I no longer entertained the ever-present internal discourse that scrutinises capabilities or the absence of them. Instead I was reduced to a fundamental and raw need to survive and complete, to pass through rivers, mangroves and over boulders to get to the final camp. Despite, or because of, the madness I learnt more about me and my capabilities and strength than I ever would have from a really hard, but sensible experience.
The Jungle was followed by some down time with my partner in Patagonia where I started looking for events in South America that attracted UTMB points. Six months later I was on a plane back to Argentina for the Patagonia Run. I was a bit spooked making my way down to San Martin de los Andes as I was travelling solo to a remote 130km mountain race with really ordinary, largely non-existent, Spanish language skills. Expressing my fears to my ultra-family, my gorgeous friend, Margaret Krempff reminded me that if “my dreams didn’t scare me then they weren’t big enough”. With that said and absorbed, I took off and discovered the magnificent brilliance of the Patagonia Ultra and have since remained, habitually and contentedly scared.
When I received an entry to the Western States Endurance Run 2 things happened: every day became a I’m going to Western!!! day and, I found a coach. From the Patagonia Run, Western States, UTMB, Tahoe 200 and a bundle of splendid Australian events, I train with my coach and mentor Andy Dubois of Mile 27. My training, my mental preparation, nutrition race advice and all things ultra, I do so with the support, expertise and training of Andy. Heading in to a big event and your coach tells you, you are ready, is invaluable!
One of the most exciting things about an ultra is that I know that I come out of the event as a different person. More grounded, stronger, more resilient, better. I recently came out of Tahoe with a better defined clarity of self, contentment and resilience than I could have ever imagined. The trail journey just keeps getting better.
Find your adventure, feel your flow and have a Best Known Time
❤︎ Beck Butler