Kate Brown's speech

By Kate Brown, Year 13 | Posted: Thursday February 23, 2017

Speech given by Kate Brown at Assembly on 21st February about competing in the Coast to Coast - Resilience!

Our school theme this year is resilience. For me this means digging deep, finding what you need to find in order to achieve your dream, or sometimes it's finding what you need just to get through a tough time.

I know from my recent experience what a useful tool resilience can be.

The toughest thing I have ever done was competing in the coast to coast.

The first day was really good but hard. A 3k run, 55 km hilly road cycle followed by a 33k mountain run through the southern alps. At one stage during the mountain run I slipped and fell but luckily my foot got stuck between two rocks as I was hanging over a cliff, upside down over a rocky stream when a guy rescued me. It was definitely an experience in itself along with a challenging day, but it was what I had trained 6 days per week for. It was what I had looked forward to for the past 12 months.

Day 2 came and I wasn't as fresh as I had been the morning before but I was really excited to get into it. We had a 15k cycle, 70k kayak and another 70k cycle to look forward to.

I'd been through the 70k stretch of the Waimak gorge a few times previously...once with Art Green from the bachelor...that was definitely my favourite time. Anyway I hadn't fallen out on any of the previous trips through the gorge - but on race day - when it really counted - I fell out. I was tired, I'd lost my focus for a second and paid the price. It was at this time that I knew I needed to forget feeling tired and get on and do the job I'd come to do.

I managed to finish the kayak leg in a pretty good time despite my short swim.

The last and final leg was a 70k cycle into the city. This leg was where my resilience was really tested. A gusting headwind had come up and we had to ride into that wind for the majority of the ride.

When you are cycling it's much easier if you cycle in a bunch. Bunch riding cuts down wind resistance and its not nearly as hard as riding alone. My problem was that the bunch in front of me were mainly large guys. They were faster and stronger than me. I had to stay with them, I knew if I dropped off the back of the group it would be way harder physically and I just didn't want to do that. By this stage I was in a lot of pain. I couldn't afford to take my focus off the group long enough to even get a drink or some food. Nutrition is a huge part of the race but I couldn't risk falling off the back. My body was screaming for me to stop or at least slow down. I really wanted the pain to stop but I knew that the pain of giving up would last way longer than what I was currently going through. So I had a choice, listen to my body - and stop the pain - or listen to my mind. I had to get my mind to convince my body to keep going. So I dug deep, deeper than ever before, and kept going. I knew that to finish first, first I had to finish.

Running up the shoot at the finish line with hundreds of people cheering you on was the best reward.

I had tested myself, pushed myself past what I thought I could do, and come out the other end. I'd made it work for me.

We all have that ability within us. The more we do it, the more we push ourselves, the more we believe that we can overcome whatever hurdle is in our way, the stronger and happier our futures will be.