Who are we?
We are a diverse group of Australian women who range in age between 30 and 60.
We work both part-time and full-time and have vastly different careers with professional titles ranging from Helicopter pilot, Gym owner, Teacher and Scientist/Physiotherapist. Three of us are married, and have children ranging in age from 3 - 24 years, while our fourth member is single. We vary in our ultra-running experience from relative beginners to experienced athletes who have been running for a number of years.
Donna is a wife and mum, physiotherapist, medical scientist/researcher and ultra-runner, and is passionate about supporting women
Donna currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband Rhys and their 3 year old son, Max. Donna is a physiotherapist specialising in low back pain, and after completing a PhD in 2003, has become a medical scientist/research fellow.
Endurance sports have been a huge part of Donna’s life for the past 20 years. From her humble beginnings of completing a 'mini' triathlon (250m swim, 10km cycle, 3km run) at Lilydale Lake in Melbourne, she has gradually progressed to complete 5 ironman triathlons (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42 km run), including the World Ironman Triathlon Championships in Hawaii.
Donna has also competed in national and international multisport and adventure racing events; one of the highlights being a non-stop 48 hour adventure race, involving paddling, mountain biking, trekking and navigation, in which she had the opportunity to race alongside her husband, Rhys.
Donna is passionate about empowering women to reach their goals. In 2011, Donna set out to support and encourage other women in adventure racing by establishing the first regular female feature, The Feminine Edge, in Australia’s leading adventure magazine (Outer Edge).
Donna’s commitment to this cause has not wavered with 'The Trail Beyond' being her second baby and a project she has been devoted to over the past 12 months. Donna hopes that the 'The Trail Beyond' will inspire other women to strive for their dreams. Donna is excited about the project’s prospects and as her son Max would say “This is the best project ever!”
Caroline is a mum, foster carer with husband Brian, 24/7 gym owner, ultra marathon runner, vegan, and keen traveller!
Caroline lives in Melbourne, Australia with Brian, 3 year old son Kynan, 16 year old daughter Chloe, and Jet their black Labrador. “Brian and I are involved in fostering children as we want to provide a safe and stable foundation for young people, to allow them the freedom and opportunity to become healthy and happy adults.”
Caroline’s sporting background includes running, triathlon, duathlons, swimming, netball, soccer, tennis, body builder (non competing), and she is a black belt in
Muay Thai kickboxing.
Caroline has represented Australia in World Championship ultra-running events on 3 occasions, as well as being one of the few Australians who has been selected and has completed the Western States 100 mile. She has completed numerous Trailwalker 100km team events, and has been a regular at Australian based ultra marathon events, as well as club representative cross country and track, and road races including half and
Caroline’s greatest experiences have been when exploring new places and meeting incredible people along the way. Whether it be hiking to Mount Everest base camp, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, trekking in the Swiss, French and German alps, meeting the gorillas in Uganda, cage diving with great white sharks in South Africa, floating in the dead sea in Jordan, and visiting the great pyramids of Egypt, to mention just a
Caroline commented that “nowadays I appreciate being given the time away from looking after my family to pursue my own goals, and I remind myself of this when the going gets tough in ultra events”. A positive mind set to have heading into 4 ultra marathons in
4 months in 2015!
Helicopter pilot, adventure racer, endurance tragic, self-propelled traveller.
In May 2012 Olga crossed the finish line of her first ultramarathon (The North Face 100 in Blue Mountains) less than 7 days after deciding to enter it on the spur of the moment.
In just over 2 years that followed, she went on to race in a non-stop 700+km expedition adventure race in the Flinders Ranges, 2x 48hr events, over 10x 24hr races, some on foot, some on a mountain bike, the rest on all three (running, paddling and mountain biking); on holidays covering 4000kms of unsupported bike travel (2500kms of which solo).
Juggling an often very high paced job with no guarantees of geographical stability, on the trails she finds peace, calm and incredible camaradery away from man made noises.
Considering that at age 13 she was told by a surgeon that running would only make her back worse and in her early twenties that she will never run more than 5kms without severe shin splints by numerous podiatrists, these days she is no longer as inspired by proving those people wrong as discovering what is actually possible if one believes
it to be.
In 2015 Olga is keen to focus on ultra running to both enjoy the pure
simple joy of movement but also to explore deeper the ageless
question: when should you listen to the little voice that tells you enough
is enough and when is it holding you back from something amazing?
AGNI (anne) ZIOGOS
A devoted wife and mother to two amazing grown up children, for the last 37 years she has also been working as an inspirational teacher. Having trained in primary and special education, Anne has also worked with special needs students from the ages of 5 to 18 years and is now a dedicated science teacher.
At 60 years young, Anne has “only” been running for 26 years. What started as a result of a friend’s dare led to a full marathon within a year. Eight years ago through another accidental encounter, Anne competed in her first ultra marathon ‘Oxfam’. It was a new experience to combine with 3 other women she hardly knew! From there she went on to complete: Comrades in South Africa, a number of 50 km events, Marathon De Sables in the Sahara Desert and The Big Red Run in the Simpson Desert, followed by a few 100 km events and a 163 km run in the Waterous Trail on Foot, which could have just as easily been called a swim, being drenched by torrential rain for the duration of the race.
Her most rewarding moments are both from being able to help young people to look after themselves and to develop their independence through special education and also in her current role as a science teacher. Having the front row seats to watching young people develop confidence and by being inspired by role models is an honour and a privilege.
More than simply by watching their journeys, Anne has inspired a number of students to believe in themselves and to have enough confidence to have a go at physical activities. Through the inspiration of the young students in some cases, the whole family would become involved in running. First challenging themselves in running half marathons and then eventually progressing to a marathon- a very proud moment for everyone. Anne also enjoys working and encouraging young women to do their best in their chosen sport. She feels very strong about passing on positive messages to young people especially young women to try and do THEIR best.
With a heart of gold, Anne is a great training partner (some might say she is able to talk under water!) and is anything but a quitter: this tough cookie truly embodies the saying “Your body can withstand almost anything, it is your mind you have to convince”!
SUPPORT TEAM FOR THE TRAIL BEYOND
Femi is an integral member of The Trail Beyond Team who has supported and facilitated the development of the project from its infancy through branding and design, including website and social media development. Although Femi won't be participating in the
4 ultra-marathons, due to her relocation to Canada, she has and will continue to
co-ordinate the branding and design for the project, as well as the project's social
In the future, Femi's role will expand to not only be an athlete in The Trail Beyond Projects, but work towards facilitating relationships with female athletes who
Femi is a perfect fit for 'The Trail Beyond' team as not only is she a creative and vibrant designer (from Melbourne), she cherishes adventure and exploring boundaries in work and life. She is a keen runner (5 x marathon, 11 x ultra marathon and 3 x IRONMAN finisher), mountain biker and is eager to dive into adventure racing.
Running is second nature to Femi and it has always been part of her life. She loves the way it makes her feel, both physically and mentally. She sometimes refers to it as 'therapy'. Life's worries seem to easily float away and new ideas are sometimes generated on an epic training run. All you need is a pair of shoes and off you go.
In 2008 Femi set her sights on completing her first marathon and IRONMAN. However, during a solo training ride she was involved in a serious car accident. It was a huge shock. Femi was young and naive and thought she was indestructible. The experience put life into perspective. She was determined to compete in both events. She recovered and crossed both finish lines.
Femi feels blessed and privileged to be able to run, participate in events and travel through amazing places; meeting people and sharing adventures with family and friends.
Femi has played a huge part in getting 'The Trail Beyond' off the ground. You can see more of her work at www.femicoppi.com