Julia Mackay-Koelen started running long distance in 2018, and since then has gone on to race in nine other ultras. She very quickly caught the ultra bug, and has now decided to make a difference in the community she fell in love with by putting her hand up to be elected as Secretary of the new AURA Committee, having been selected at the last AGM on April 28.
“Reading the magazine Ultramag one month, there was a call out for members to put their hands up to join the new incoming committee, and I thought initially it sounded interested but didn’t follow through with it,” she said.
“It kept bothering me that I wasn’t doing about it, so I ended up writing to Rob Donkersloot (former president) to query what the best role for me would be given I’m still busy with everyday life but I desperately wanted to give back.
“I struggle to volunteer at events because I always want to run them, and joining the Committee seemed like a great way to contribute while still being able to run.
“I’ve met so many fantastic and inspiring people in the ultra community, so it seemed like the best way to put my hand up and make a contribution that I feel I can make a commitment to – so the idea of stepping in for Secretary came up with Rob, and the rest is history.”
Julia sees her role as Secretary coming on rather quickly, but she said she was extremely excited about the year ahead.
“I’m still learning about my position, but this will be about building on the work the previous Committee members have done with AURA, which has been amazing, and perhaps coming up with some new ideas,” she explains.
“Ultra running for me is a sport that pushes me; it puts me in a position where I have to draw on everything I have, so with each ultra I’ve done I’ve learned something new about myself as well as the person I might find myself running with.
“There are so many reasons why runners should consider joining AURA – I definitely love the fact that I joined; there’s comradery, the runs, the events, and just giving other people the confidence that they can do what they want to do.
“It’s all about supporting one another, isn’t it?
“Whether you’re a serious runner who chases podium finishes or international representation, or whether you’re someone who simply loves a good ultra and challenging yourself and having fun, joining AURA is one of the best things you can do.”
For those who are yet to experience Julia’s presence at an ultra event, she is well known in WA for dressing up in costumes for her runs, especially those that present the opportunity with a theme.
To reach out to Julia you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org