Susan Fleming


Routeburn Classic Category:
Female .. (Is that enough!) and I’m with Greg .. over 40 under 50 .. I think I’m a master

Location on earth of residence?
Sunny Auckland

Current work interest?
Personal Trainer, Nutrition Consultant, Group Fitness Instructor

Favourite quote, motto or thoughts you try to live by?

“There are some people who make things happen
Some people who watch things happen
And people who wonder .. ‘what the *** just happened .. ‘ “

“Success is not a sometimes thing .. its a habit”

Favourite local training track, grounds, area’s, parks etc?

Absolutely nothing beats the Waitakere Ranges in Auckland. To run out onto Bethells, Piha or Karekare beach at sunrise on a summers or even winters day just takes your breath away. Another favourite (if not ankle killer) track is the Te Henga Walkway between Bethells and Piha. Running on the Cliffside with nothing but an extremely steep drop separating you and the ocean makes for exhilarating running.

How long have you been a runner?

Since I was 7 I used to run track at school and as a younger woman and come from a very athletic family. My father was in the 1954 Empire games with Les Mills Senior. I have run all my life doing my fair share of half marathons and fun runs, but truely only found my calling in the bush about 8 years ago.

What do you love about trail running?
As above. The places it takes you, the scenery. I love the technical stuff and the concentration it takes over uneven surfaces and the associated challenges. The like minded and very cool people I have met and now call my friends through my adventures in the wild have additionally added to and opened up my world.

What type of running training do you do in the lead up to the Routeburn Classic?
Funnily enough, when I received Evans email asking me to complete this profile, I was parked on the couch questioning my judgement and sanity, having just completed my very first ultra marathon .. and in cyclone Luci.. What was I thinking! Up until then I had completed about 45ks of the Hillary Trail in training for the above. Until then, completing Routeburn classic 5 times was my claim to fame.
I teach a mixture of balance, core and pump classes as my job and teach about 10-12 classes a week so that covers a few bases. I do indoor cycle classes, a speed work session, I try to get a couple of my own circuit/cross fit type training sessions in of my own where and when time allows. I run road only once a week as my body really doesn’t like it, and then the long Saturday runs are what I look forward to. These are always a mixture of small, medium, large and ridiculously larger & steep hills, and maybe a few more hills just to ensure I keep my strength up.

What advice would you give to a rookie / Routeburn virgin coming into the 2014 from a seasoned veteran of the event?
Expect the unexpected. My first Routeburn I finished in a T shirt, the next year I had 5 top layers on, 2 bottom, 3 pairs of socks, 2 sets of gloves, 2 hats and I was still blue ! Then there was the year in the rain with the spectacular waterfall !
Just enjoy it and yes, take the time to stop on your first run to truely appreciate where you are and how fortunate you are. Trust me it beats doing the housework on a Saturday. DO take the time to train properly though. You need to be comfortable off road and on rocks and be prepared to walk.

Any cross training, other sports you dabble in?
As above, my classes pretty much cover all my bases. I used to compete in fitness competitions and spent a lot of my time doing basic strength training so this has served me well as a base especially on hills for both upper and lower body.

How important are the other performance factors in your training. Namely fuel types consumed and periods parked up in recovery mode?
Because of the nature of my work, I need to be careful to not overtrain and take the time to rest and recover. Funnily enough this isn’t as quick as it once was.
Nutrition of course is huge. I eat really well during the week, but I have only just learnt to eat on my runs as training for my ultra taught me. I have a shocking sweet tooth and usually survive Routeburn on lollies and mini Cadbury crème eggs. This isn’t recommended however I personally have trouble digesting anything solid so I live on baby food, a gel or two.. and of course lollies .. except when they freeze at the top of the Harris Saddle.

What is it you love about the Routeburn Classic?
Absolutley everything. I look forward to it all year. I even recruited some new runners whilst running the Tarawera Ultra in the weekend. I was in hook, line and sinker from day one. I wondered why it had taken me so long to discover it. The ever changing scenery, the people, the challenge, the anticipation on the Friday night of exactly what and what not to wear ! the exhilaration of the finish. .. ok yes .. Evans hug when I cross the line 
But the most pleasurable thing is the bubbles we consume together at the finish whilst we wait for our team members and salute and congratulate every finisher Magic times.

What advice can you offer a new comer to the event?

You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. You are going to experience something so special. Do be prepared though. Do the training so you come into it as confident as you can. Practice running with all your gear, make sure you practice eating on your training runs (and more than crème eggs) and then just go out and enjoy 
DONT forget to shout out and thank the multitude of support crew along the way who help make this event so safe and enjoyable for us all. Also if you see someone on the ground with cramp.. at least ask them if they are ok before you run over them .. You never know if you may need them further along the track!
One tip on that! Pickle juice… ! Don’t knock it till you have tried it.

Parting comments and thoughts?
So now this is year 6 plus one off with an injury; so I guess it would be rude not to aim for 10. I forsake other events to participate in this one; the whole weekend is something I look forward to. To all the virgins out there, hand on heart I know you will never regret signing up for it. Thank you Evan .. for making it happen. See you at the end.
Oh! And don’t eat all the jet planes or milk bottles before I get there.