May 2023

Dear members,

After three years on the AURA committee as Treasurer, I’m excited (and nervous) to now step into the very big shoes as the new AURA President for 2023-2024.

I have been privileged to work closely with outgoing President Ewan Horsburgh and the rest of the Committee. Back in 2020 we started off as a whole new committee, learning the ropes together, dealing with COVID and the landscape that this challenge presented for races and the race directors. Given we had so much to learn, the COVID downtime was almost a blessing in disguise allowing us to find our feet!

For the past two years we have been back in full swing with all of our beloved races and more back on the AURA calendar. Which means more events for our members and therefore more work for your Committee and Marketing Manager, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! We love seeing a thriving running community out there doing what we all love once again.

While the past three years have been very educational, I still have a lot to learn. But I hope that I can do the role justice and continue to provide the support and infrastructure that we have been striving to achieve since 2020.

My goal is to ensure AURA and its member base stays strong and more importantly grows – without our members, what are we? The sport continues to thrive and we must thrive with it. To do this and help the future of the sport, its athletes and race directors, we need membership support. It’s not enough to sit back and watch along on the Facebook page. Being a financial member means you are actively supporting AURA and all we are trying to achieve to foster the growth of ultra running. If you enter just a couple races on the calendar each year you will be ahead financially with your $49 annual membership. Not to mention access to our other benefits and discounts that we are continuing to build on each year.

AURA wants to encourage runners from the ground up, from beginners to elite, to step outside of their comfort zone. Yes, we facilitate international competition and have amazing runners represent our country at events, but everyone must start somewhere and we hope to continue to find and encourage new talent through our members.

We also want to give more women the confidence to step up to longer distances through ongoing advice, local support, coaching and webinars. We plan to provide our runners with expert advice on injury prevention from a qualified panel of sports physios, advice on gear and shoes, shopping discounts and more. We would like to have an AURA podcast ready at your fingertips for your next run that highlights our members and their achievements. We want to feature all levels of runners, not just the ones at the pointy end. Let’s face it – some of the best stories are from the back of the pack!

I hope to continue the work we have been doing for the past three years as well as put my own stamp on things using my 18 years of experience as a personal trainer and running coach where I have been invested in helping others reach their potential and fall in love with the sport too. With the support of our current Committee – Vice President Matt Eckford, Secretary Stephen Redfern and our newly appointed Treasurer Annabel Hepworth – I can assure you we will do our best!

We also have an amazing team of State Reps that are here to support members, answer questions, guide runners to local groups to join and run with, help promote AURA in their respective states and be the biggest cheer squad in your state! So please reach out to them or the Committee if you have ideas or questions – we are here for you.

I look forward to the upcoming 12 months working to support this amazing sport that is very dear to my heart and has changed my life, as I’m sure it has done the same for many of you.

Yours in running,

Simone Hayes
President, AURA