Resilient Strides: Conquering the Cape to Cape
Ambassador and Distance Runner Mackenzie Burgoyne shares how he broke down barriers and records, running Western Australia’s famous Cape to Cape track.
On the 28th of October 2023 I ran the new fastest known time for the Cape to Cape Track in the South West of Western Australia. The Cape to Cape is an iconic 128km hike stretching from the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in Augusta to Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse in Dunsborough. Known for its beautiful yet brutal stretches of beach walking and lack of shade, most people complete this journey in four to six days, but in 2019, the previous record was set at 15 hours, 54 minutes and 44 seconds.
That same year, I embarked on a journey to challenge myself each year to complete at least one task that took me well outside of my comfort zone. In the years that followed I’d climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Aconcagua in Argentina, hiked the 1000km Bibbulman Track in three weeks, ran for 30 hours straight in a “last man standing” ultramarathon and even attempted the Cape to Cape record run itself, having to tap out at the halfway point due to my teammate getting lost.
I believe in the power of goalsetting and using adversity to challenge myself and grow as a person. No matter who we are or the direction our life takes us, we are going to be faced with challenges along the journey. But it is how we respond to those challenges that will make or break our progress in life. By reframing life’s challenges as opportunities to learn and to grow, we can take confidence in knowing we can persevere and come out the other side stronger. .
I came upon these learnings through what I first thought was luck. But I have since found that luck occurs at the point of intersect between opportunity and preparation. I have always used fitness as an outlet to improve my mental and physical health. So when I was presented with the opportunity to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, I felt confident that although it would be difficult, I could make it to the top. On the final day on our summit attempt, arguably the most important day of all, there were points where I felt like I wasn’t going to make it. I’m so thankful that I had the strength to persevere and learn this life changing lesson on resilience.
By pushing past my negative self-talk and lack of belief, I successfully summited Mount Kilimanjaro. This sparked a fire inside of me. If I could push through these emotions and ultimately achieve my goal when I felt I had nothing left, what else could I achieve if I simply didn’t give up? Are there other people out there who are listening to these negative thoughts and not reaching their full potential? I began a mission to inspire those around me to pursue their ideal life of health and happiness.
By using S.M.A.R.T. goal setting techniques, I began to look for other opportunities to test myself and show others that if we continue to move toward a goal, regardless of whether we achieve it, we will become better. Ultimately at the end of the day, it’s not achieving the goal that is the most important thing. It’s about becoming the person who COULD achieve that goal. Whether your goals are fitness, career, or financially related, I encourage you to find a goal setting framework that works for you.
Once you’ve outlined your goal, you can then set smaller actionable steps along the journey to achieve them. It is in breaking these goals down into smaller actionable steps where you will truly achieve success. In order to become the person who can break the Cape to Cape Record, I had to become the person who could run 50km, and then 100km and then ultimately 128km.
Along the journey to your goal, you will no doubt experience challenging times. These are the times you need to embrace. When you face a challenge two months in to your 12 month goal - view it with a positive mindset. It’s not going to be the only challenge you face along the journey, so ask yourself what can you learn from this challenge? How can you deal with it better next time to resolve it faster or avoid it all together. It is in these moments that you will learn to foster self-belief and confidence that if you could overcome this challenge, what is stopping you from overcoming the next challenge.
On the 28th of October 2023 I set the new Fastest Known Time on the 128km Cape to Cape Trail in a time of 15 hours, 43 minutes and 6 seconds. The day did not go perfectly to plan, I experienced challenges along my journey where I was forced to adapt my plan and overcome difficulties. But I made it. This is an experience that nobody can ever take away from me and I’m so incredibly grateful for it. For now, it’s time to rest. But inevitably soon I’ll be asking myself “If I could do that, what else can I do?” I encourage you to do the same.
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