Gympie girl now sixth in the world after stormy Spartan race
ATHLETICS: A freak storm just one day before the Spartan World Championships in North Lake Tahoe, USA wasn't enough to stop 15-year-old Gympie fitness freak Mackenzie Keable finishing sixth in the world for her age group.
The Victory College student, who trains at The Real Body Movement and only completed her first Spartan race last year, earned qualification for the Worlds after finishing as one of Australia's top three athletes in the 14-17 age bracket at the Spartan National Series in April.
From there she made her first trip to America, joining athletes from more than 30 countries to compete in the gruelling obstacle course encompassing 22.5km and more than 30 obstacles on September 28 and 29.
Mackenzie said she was surprised with her ranking after entering the race with a focus simply on finishing.
She said the extreme conditions she faced in the wake of the pre-race storm added to her nerves.
"I didn't really know what to expect as far as how hard it was going to be, this was my first race overseas," she said.
"They had a freak snowstorm the day before, so my goal was to not get hypothermia and just finish because I've never done that length of race before," she said.
"Originally I was going to race in a singlet and tights, but we had to go out and buy a thermal long-sleeved shirt and jacket.
"I was very nervous, the day before they had races and lots of people were being pulled off the track with hypothermia, because there's a swim at the top of the mountain.
"My legs were really cold, I couldn't feel my legs, my nose or my hands, and a lot of the obstacles were grip-based, like monkey bars and stuff."
Willing herself through mountainous terrain, icy lake swims and even punishments for failed obstacles in the form of burpees, Mackenzie completed the course in about six and a half hours.
That time would have been quicker, she said, if she hadn't stopped to help a fellow competitor struggling with hypothermia.
"We were going up the second peak and up ahead I could see a group of people huddled together on the side of the track," she said.
"There was a lady who was hypothermic, and everyone was trying to use their body heat to keep her warm, and nobody had a phone on them to tell medics. We waited until someone with a phone came along, and we waited there to keep her warm.
"We were there for probably 20 minutes, it got quite chilly standing still.
"My time was a lot longer than I hoped for, but the conditions were completely unexpected too."
With an eye on returning to the World Championships next year, Mackenzie said she hopes Spartan Race will become more popular back home.
Find out more about Spartan Race at https://www.spartan.com/en/championships/world-championships.