Athlete Profile – Adam Smith
Today’s Athlete Profile is on Adam Smith. Adam most recently had a win at the Magnetic Island Adventurethon in the BNG Sports Ultra (Masters 40+ category) beating men much younger than himself. We spoke to him to find out what keeps bringing him back to Adventurethon (yep, we know…it’s because it’s awesome).
Have you always been active?
Yes. I like being fit and active as there are huge benefits with more energy and you get more enjoyment out of life. I was lucky to live next to the beach in Sydney and have always loved swimming, surfing, waterpolo and diving. When I was younger I played competition squash, tennis, cricket and rugby. My lifelong exercise has been running as it can be done anywhere, anytime. It does get harder to exercise and recover as you get older and have a demanding job. I plan to do about one hour of exercise every day.
Adventurethon is very popular in Townsville due to great locations, organisation and the challenge. I enjoy a physical challenge and the opportunity to be outdoors in beautiful places. Four years ago my friends asked me to join a team at Magnetic Island as a paddler and although I fell off over 20 times I was hooked. The second year I did the Enduro, and then the following year I stepped up to the Ultra. So far I have only competed in Townsville Adventurethon events. In future I hope to travel to NSW and WA and perhaps overseas to experience other Adventurethon events.
Tell us about why do you do off road events
I love the outdoors rather than a gym, bitumen roads and footpaths. I enjoy the fresh air, looking at ocean, rivers, beautiful trees and wildlife and the un-predictability of nature and exploring.
How do you feel about your win on Maggie? Did you realise you took over an hour off your time?
I was very pleased to win the 50+ age category Ultra at Magnetic for the second year. I was better prepared this year and the weather was cooler. Yes I realised I had improved a lot on the bike and run legs of the event. Hopefully I can improve a bit more next year.
Where do you feel your strengths lie?
My strengths are water based sports and I have competed at several World, Pacific and Australian championships for freediving and spearfishing. I prefer longer endurance events compared to shorter sprints. I am over 90kg so my body is more comfortable in strength events such as kayaking rather than cycling and running. I have learnt a lot from other athletes and friends about goal setting, training, nutrition and attitude.
Who inspires you to push yourself?
I like to improve in everything I do. The obvious measure of improvement is a quicker time in an event. I also get great satisfaction about improvement in technique. I am inspired by the skill and commitment of world class Townsville athletes like Sam Stedman and Mick Deroy. These guys are always ready to help beginners and intermediate athletes to improve.
Describe the atmosphere on magnetic island during race weekend?
It is great fun and friendly atmosphere with a strong connection to family and healthy living. I really enjoy the company of great people, atmosphere, food and music at Picnic Bay and around the island. It is great that the volunteers, locals and other competitors support each other.
Where do you live and play?
My home is Townsville and I love the tropical lifestyle and weather. I work as a marine environmental consultant for Reef Ecologic. I have a good work-life balance and play whenever I can in our beautiful city, the Great Barrier Reef and wherever my travels take me overseas. In the past two years I have been to New Caledonia, Tahiti, Tonga, Peru and Japan. I love freediving and Spearfishing and the ability to swim with amazing sealife and also catch a fresh fish or crayfish.
How important is your support crew to achieving your goals?
You cannot do your best in an Adventurethon or life goals without support of family and friends. I am very grateful for the support of friends for the months of training before the event and to keep me going on race day. The Bourke Street boys kayak paddling crew train hard 3-6 days a week and are always helpful in setting goals. My partner Joanne Stacey competes in the running leg of adventurethons so we can enjoy the events together. Now I have done a few events I am helping family and friends achieve their Adventurethon goals.
What does your race day breakfast look like?
I have a healthy breakfast of cereal and banana and two pieces of toast. I focus on hydration for the 24hours before the event. I have a healthy meal for dinner the night before with rice, vegetables and some meat and a glass of wine to relax. I also have an eating plan for the day of the event so that I have regular intake of food which keeps my energy levels up.
What’s the one piece of equipment that goes with you to every race and why?
I have evolved my equipment over time as I have improved my skills. My mountain bike and ocean kayak are now better quality and faster than when I started Adventurethon. I never use new equipment in a race. I focus on safety so the mandatory safety equipment and spare parts are essential.
What piece of advice would you give someone attempting their first Adventurethon?
My advice would be to always have fun and to train with a friend or professional coach who is fitter and faster than you and who is also doing the event. I booked 10 x 1 weekly lessons with Sam Stedman from Outerlimits for the lead-up to the event and this really helped my physical fitness and mental approach. I set a long term goal and plan a weekly program and keep a record of what I do each week.
What is the difference between Maggie island Adventurethon and (Pallarenda) National Challenge
In my experience Maggie Island Adventurethon is longer, hotter and more challenging event than Pallarenda. Maggie suits experienced kayakers as the distance is longer, rougher and more challenging than Pallerenda. The bike riding leg at Maggie is technically easier than the single tracks at Pallarenda. I prefer Maggie because it is a weekend away on a magical island.