Faces of UMC 2017: Susie Blissner

Watch out for us: Team “Happy 60th Susie” – we’ll be the team at the back of the field and I’ll probably be the competitor with the biggest grin on my face.

Since I was a little girl I’ve had a bucket list: countries I wanted to visit, Mountains to climb and as I matured triathlons and later Adventure races to compete in.  You name it and I’d be Keen, as long it involved being outdoors. And for more years than I can remember the Upper Murray Challenge has been on that Bucket list. Set in an area of Australia that I love I couldn’t resist the temptation to compete in an AR Duo category at this year’s Upper Murray Challenge.

I’ve always been a driven person and over the years I’ve achieved many of my goals: in the sport of Triathlon I wanted to wear the green and gold and represent Australia at the ITU World Champs – tick: achieved. And then the lure of Ironman Triathlon grabbed me.

Moving into the sport of Adventure Racing I found my niche: I asked myself how many events could I conquer. The Bucket List exploded and my first Geoquest in 2005 will always be one of my greatest achievements. With 3 other ladies namely Kim Beckinsale, Jan Leverton (Tri Adventure) & Thor Edgerton we blitzed the GeoHalf and won the event outright (much to the disbelief of the all male teams). Since then I’ve competed in many events in Qld, NSW, Tasmania, Northern Territory & Vanuatu.

Moving from the 24 & 48 hr races I set my sights at XPD. I was 50 years old and racing with younger guys. Unfortunately we didn’t finish and even though I was “still standing” at the end I knew that the expedition races would forever remain on the Bucket List.   I’d been training hard for most of my life and my body was telling me it was time to slow down. Since maturing into my 50’s I’ve still enjoyed many Adventure Races achieving good results in the Female team categories. Whether I’m on the podium or not I am proud to still be contemplating doing these events.

The Bucket List stalked me and for my 55th birthday I decided to cycle across the Simpson Desert (as you do!) and tick off another goal. At the Birdsville Pub after 5 days cycling up to 130km per day in sand, strong winds and 40+ degree heat I excitedly told my husband I’d do it again. But I haven’t: I’m focusing on other events.

SO to celebrate my 60th birthday I’m ticking another goal off the List: The Upper Murray Challenge in 1.5 weeks: I’m underdone, I’ve struggled to train, the heat of Brisbane zaps me, I don’t seem to fit as much into my days as I used to but I’m giddy with excitement about doing this year’s Upper Murray Challenge with a good friend who is (hmmm) 17 years my junior and fit as a gazelle. Thank goodness she is also very patient.

Watch out for us: Team “Happy 60th Susie” – we’ll be the team at the back of the field and I’ll probably be the competitor with the biggest grin on my face.

Kiandra2014 Fotor

 See you there and Good Luck to All competitors.

Susie Blissner