By Kate Dzienis
AURA member and 2019 Ultra Performance of the Year Award winner Kay Bretz has achieved yet another dream – finishing and publishing his first ever book, Turning Right – Inspire the Magic. If there’s ever a time when you need inspiration or motivation, this is the autobiography you need to pick up when it hits the shelves on March 30.
And lucky me, I got to be one of the first to read it.
For a bit of a background, Bretz received his AURA award (a people’s choice award) for his 24hr World Championship performance in Albi, France where he achieved a total distance of 259.670km and came 12th Overall in a field of 346 athletes.
His running career spans more than 20 years, but it wasn’t until 2015 that he completed his first ultra, the Two Bays 56km Trail Run, and then went on to take 1st Overall by the time he ran his third ultra, the Big Red Run, with a total of 250km and time of 21:37:48.
Following on from a warm foreword by ultra runner Dion Leonard (author, Finding Gobi), Bretz begins Turning Right with a heartbreaking tale of a childhood issue he was forced to endure, which then leads into having to learn to trust himself and drop any self-doubt. This mental transformation encouraged Bretz to turn into a man of success where he embarked on a lifelong journey and learned to listen to his inner voice.
In the Turning Right prologue, Bretz reveals ‘This book is all about helping you unlock both your biggest challenges and your innermost dreams…’ and openly shares his personal experiences with fantastic flow from page to page. There were plenty of times where Bretz would write an anecdote and I’d find myself nodding in agreement, realising it was an ‘aha!’ moment and finding a connection to his recollections.
It’s intriguing to read from an elite athlete that he wasn’t satisfied with his achievements when it came to both his corporate and sporting careers, which then filtered into feeling a lack of fulfilment. And as I continued to read on, it was refreshing to learn of Bretz’s challenges and how he mentally overcame them – especially when he started ‘turning right’ at his garden gate for his runs instead of his usual left turn.
I got the pleasure of chatting with him in the lead up his book launch, where he told me there were some points in the book he found difficult to write about.
“Isn’t it somewhat true that regardless of how good we are at running ultras, we are always challenging ourselves and at some point we either give up or we let go,” he said.
“I hope that through my narrative I can give some confidence to someone so that they can ‘let go’ because that surrendering, that new thing that comes up, it is quite magical.
“I did struggle for a long time including my background story in there; it wasn’t part of the plan, but without it there wouldn’t be a book. It’s that kind of personal deep shame and inadequacy and things I’d prefer to hide, those things…however I sensed that without it, I couldn’t convey the messages I wanted to convey.”
Bretz’s writing is clear and concise, and flows wonderfully. How he narrates his way through each chapter makes for greater understanding of how he got to where he is today – it’s how he became who he is today.
And what really sets the book apart from other publications is Bretz’s ability to share about what he learnt and adapt it to not only the sport of ultra running, but the corporate world and personal life. Throughout, he talks about a plethora of events including the Berlin Marathon, Delirious W.E.S.T Big Red Run and Coast to Kosci.
“I am so excited about Turning Right, I am so ready to share with as many people as I possibly can,” he said.
“I am more than happy for anyone to reach out and comment or start a conversation about it, I’m really curious.”
Turning Right – Inspire the Magic is indeed magic and will certainly give you food for thought. Pre-order today in bookstores or online. An audio version will soon be made available also.
Title: Turning Right – Inspire the Magic
Publisher: Major Street Publishing
Release Date: March 30, 2021