Updated: Apr 4, 2019
When Brett Standring’s name was drawn in the Western States lottery, he raced out the door and did repeats of Mount Ngun Ngun. It had taken five years to win a place – the fulfillment of a dream.
For five years Run Qld director Brett Standring had been waking early on the first Sunday in December for the live Western States lottery draw.
On this December morning in 2017, he was close to giving up hope of his name ever being pulled out.
It had been his dream to run Western States since reading Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-night Runner by Dean Karnazes as a beginner running through the quiet country town of Glass House Mountains.
“Running long distance started for me when I missed a turn on a run and ended up running 22km when I had never run more than 7km before that,” says Brett.
“Then I read Dean Karnazes’ book about his ups and downs in trail running and it was like a metaphor for life.”
Brett’s passion for the sport (some would say lifestyle) of trail running is such that he began staging trail running events on the Sunshine Coast under the banner of Run Qld.
He entered UTA six times in his bid to build ticket numbers to give him a better chance at Western States.
“When my name came up I was 47th in the draw and I ran down the hall and told my wife Megan and she said ‘You better start training’.
“So I raced outside and ran repeats of Ngun Ngun from 3.30am until the sun came up.”
Brett’s training regime consisted of mileage and long runs with training partner Chris Jacobson, a fellow Queenslander who had also scored a place.
“The last three weeks before the race I did no training because I was injured – I think I overtrained,” he says.
“I had a dream of finishing in under 24 hours but then I thought I would be happy just to finish.”
Brett says he struggled in the first 50km but kicked into gear after catching up with his family at the first checkpoint.
After that, he recalls having “lots of fun” as he ran-hiked through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
“The scenery was nice but I think the people really made the event for me,” says Brett.
“It was like a four-day party.”
The highlight was meeting Dean Karnazes and having his photo taken with the man whose book started Brett’s new life as an ultrarunner.
“It was like coming full circle,” he says.
“I feel like I have closed a chapter running Western States.”