Cooranbong’s Josh Hockley is no stranger to distance running, nor the battles that competitors undertake while in races, but he still had to adjust his thinking when he made the swap from Ironman events to the gruelling ultra-marathon challenges.
It was lucky for him then that the first event he tried his hand at was based in his “home turf” in the Watagan Mountains, with local knowledge and experience guiding him home to a maiden first place finish.
“It was very overwhelming, I had been feeling very unmotivated to continue in the top level for Ironman competitions so when I made the switch I was looking for that spark again,” Hockley explained.
“I had this crack at ultra-marathon, and I’ve always been a competitive person, so to take it out has been overwhelming, and as well as the return of that spark there’s a lot of doors opening for me.”
Hockley was also glad he could find a win on his own back door, and said it was a “really special” feeling to take out the local event.
“It was a massive benefit, it was one of the biggest advantages for me,” he said. “I trained on the course throughout my preparation so I knew every single part of the track.”
“I was running it Monday, Wednesday and Friday and that really changed the game for me. I grew up in Cooranbong so it really is a home town advantage.”
The extended distance in the GNW 50 Mile Ultra-marathon did play on Hockley’s mind “a bit” as he prepared for the event, but once he was on the track he revealed muscle memory clicked in.
“I was a bit concerned it would be really different, but the highs and lows you get in Ironman events were all there exactly where I expected them in the Ultra-marathon, so that helped a lot,” he said.
“That first race has really given me a great idea of what I’m in for now, and I’m looking forward to continuing onward.”
While Hockley is definitely aiming to get into more ultra-marathon events in the near future, his focus has turned to his wife Krystle as she prepares for the professional world title later this year.
“I’ll be taking it slow with my stuff, I want to make sure I can support Krystle because she’s taken that next step up,” he said.
Hockley also thanked Levi Martin from Fit Life Health Club for helping him train.