On the Run – Kellie Emmerson

Kellie Emmerson as started the year strong in what will be 12 months of some seriously competitive racing. But she is no spring chicken to this sport and how things go down at the sharp end. Right before she hops over to the neighbours back yard for Tarawera Ultra Marathon, we get a few tips on how she will continue her success.

How do you manage race day chaffing and blisters?

That’s a pretty weird question to start on! Haha.

I am fairly prone to chaffing, unfortunately, but have this pretty well-covered thanks to a proper fitting sports bra from She Science, the occasional tape under the chest, and some Butt Butter (Wildplans) or TriSlide spray for the other bits.

What advice do you have for people starting out in running? 

My best advice is to join a local training group. It can be pretty daunting at first, but everyone is always lovely and everyone has been in your position before. Experienced runners have a wealth of knowledge and encouragement to give.

The only vice is to be cautious of going too long too soon. It can be easy to get caught up in other people’s excitement. Stick to your own plan, be smart, and have fun. 

Most useful piece of advice you have received?

Hike the shit out of it.

I may not be the fastest uphill runner, but I have learned to hike well. If I can move at a steady pace on the ups, I can conserve some energy for my strengths on the flat and downhill sections.

How do you respond to people who say ultra running and trail running are unhealthy due to their extreme nature?

The people who have this perspective are usually those who don’t do enough exercise and are a little envious of your motivation and drive.

I like to point out the fact that in Australia, we have a very serious obesity problem. I work in public health and see the effects of this every day. I am a strong believer in preventative medicine, and whilst extreme, ultra running is better than sitting on the couch doing nothing! It also sets you up for everything you do in life.  Ultra runners are well known to be high achievers.  If you can get through an ultra, you can get through just about anything. And if I can be an influence on other people to get out there and have a go, then I’m all for it.

I don’t see it as unhealthy at all. It’s my idea of fun, meditation, travel, and fitness. As long as you listen to your body and acknowledge the times when you need to pull back, then it’s a wonderful hobby.

Currently training for?

Tarawera Ultramarathon 100km on February 11th! Then it will be the IAU Trail World Championships in Tuscany, Italy in June and my first 100 miler at UTMB in France on September 1st.

What do you use for race nutrition and how do you fuel?

VFuel is my fuel of choice.  I will usually carry one flask of VFuel drink (Ginger twist is my favourite!) and one flask of plain water. Gels every 45mins-1hour.

Coke goes down a treat in the back half of a race too!

Do you have rest days? If so, why?

Fridays are my rest day! I tend to squeeze in some yoga, but no running or strength training.

I think rest days are really important, not only for your body to recuperate, but mentally I really need this day off.  For me, the working week is crazy amongst working full time, studying, teaching and coaching.  It’s really nice to know I can come home on a Friday and just switch off. The other advantage is feeling fresh for a good weekend of training or racing!

Kellie can be followed on social media at

Facebook ( @Kellie Emmerson- Ultra/Trail runner )

Instagram ( @Kelemmo )