Beth Cardelli (33) only started running in 2007. Just this past weekend, Beth blasted around the TNF 100 course in Australia and set a new course record breaking her own previous best by some seventeen minutes.
In such a short space of time she has had an incredible rise in the sport. Stand out performances have been:
- The North Face 100km 2009 – 13:32 2nd
- Sydney Trailwalker 100km 2009 – 13:25 1st
- Fitzroy Falls Fire Trail Marathon 2009 – 3:32 1st
- Bogong to Hotham 64km 2010 – 9:00 1st
- The North Face 100km 2010 – 12:16 1st
- Fitzroy Falls Fire Trail Marathon 2010 – 3:17 1st
- Great North Walk 100M 2010 – 25:23 1st CR
- Bogong to Hotham 64km 2011 – 8:14 1st CR
- Cradle Mountain 82km 2011 – 9:46 1st
- Six Foot Track 45km 2011 – 4:10 3rd
- Mt Solitary 45km 2011 – 5:39 1st CR
- San Fancisco Zombie Runner Half Marathon (USA) 2011 – 1:47:22 1st CR
- Western States 100M (USA) 2011 – 22:16 12th
- Willy to Billy 34km 2011 – 2:40 1st
- Luxmore Grunt 27km 2011 – 2:30:12 3rd
- Lapstone Lap Race 6hr 2012 – 60km 6:07 1st CR
- The North Face 100km 2012 – 11:18 1st CR
- Glow Worm Tunnel Marathon 2012 – 4:36 2nd
- Centennial Park Ultra 100km 2012 – 9:22 1st CR
- Great North Walk 100km 2012 – 12:36 1st CR
- Tarawera Ultra Marathon 100km 2013 – 11:43 2nd
- The North Face 100km – 11:01 1st and new CR
Beth said in her race report about the 2013 TNF 100:
“I have a certain affinity with this event. It is in the Blue Mountains and I love the Blue Mountains. It traverses some of my favorite locations with stunning views. It was my first 100km event and first big ultra. I ran in the inaugural event (2008), which was held shortly after I started running. During the first event all I could think about was just finishing and perhaps getting a silver belt buckle (then available for sub 20hr finishers). I trained as hard as I could and was absolutely stoked to finish, and more so to have done it in 15:30. The lead guys and girls in that year’s race managed to finish in 10:22 and 12:45 respectively. I was in absolute awe of their athletic ability and couldn’t comprehend how people were capable of traversing such difficult terrain in the times they did. They must have been exceptional athletes to accomplish such incredible times.”
I caught up with Beth just a couple of days after her incredible run and found out a little more about what makes her tick!
IC: Beth you just had a stunning run at TNF 100 in Australia, welcome!
BC: Thank you so much, it’s a real pleasure. I listen to Talk Ultra all the time so it is an honor for me.
IC: Can I go back in time and ask how you started running. Am I correct in saying that you didn’t run pre 2007?
BC: That is correct. I was never a runner; I enjoyed netball and bush walking. It is only when I moved house with my husband to a new area and we joined a local running club to meet new people that things started to progress. My running took off. I started to run longer distances. I did my first 10k with the running club. It took me ages to recover. (laughs) It took me quite a while to adapt my body but I took my time.
IC: Why ultra, what made you think ultra would be good?
BC: I didn’t have lots of speed and I preferred longer distances. I found that I could run for hours but not really run fast. I didn’t seem to tire over long distances. I was definitely more endurant.
IC: You have progressed and come a long way in a short space of time. In 2009 you placed 2nd at TNF 100. That was impressive.
BC: Yes, things have progressed in the last few years. Way back in 2009 I didn’t have lots of races to choose from. Now if I look at the females, the 2nd and 3rd place runners at TNF 100 this year would have won the race with the times they have run in 2009. It’s all about progression.
IC: I guess from your perspective being based in the Southern Hemisphere do you ever think to yourself, okay, I am in a big country but ultra running is a small minority. I may be a big fish in a small ultra pond here but how would I compare to European and American runners?
BC: Yes, I never really thought about it like that but I have always thought about running in Australia and I admit we are sort of sheltered. I look at the USA and European runners and wonder if I could run that fast… it is amazing the times they run. Whenever I have an opportunity to compare myself I will, it is awesome.
IC: In 2011 you went to Western States and this provides comparisons. We can look at it and compare you to some of the best runners in the world. That gives you and your performances a perspective. You placed 12th, you must have been very happy and positive with that?
BC: That was a favorite race experience. Going over seas and racing an incredible field. All I want to do is go back. I know I can do better now. I just want another go! But that is the point of ultra, you do an event and when you have done it you think, I can go back, I can do better. It is important to have goals and to strive for something.
IC: Currently in Southern Hemisphere running who is your main female competition?
BC: Shona Stephenson and Ruby Muir for sure. Shona is incredible; she can run back-to-back races without much recovery. I can’t do that. It is incredible. I got to run with Hanny Allston at the weekend, she is powerful. I don’t think she was focused on TNF100 but if she really wanted to she could fly through that course. She is someone to watch out for.
IC: You mention the course, what is it about that course you like, you perform consistently well?
BC: I train on the course a lot. It helps mentally, I know what is coming. It provides strength. I also have a house in the Blue Mountains. I love to train in that area.
IC: What is the course like in comparison to European mountains or lets say Western States.
BC: Well I haven’t raced in Europe so I can’t really compare. I have raced mainly in Australia but in comparison to WS I found it an amazing trail to run. The trails are smooth and the scenery is pretty. Hard to compare the two. I got sick at WS due to altitude so I missed lots… but TNF100 certainly requires more hiking. Having said that, they are both very runnable courses. The course has variety, lots of trail, mountains and road.
IC: In 2012 at TNF100 you set a CR, what was your ambition for 2013. Did you just want to win or did you want a time?
BC: I got 11:18 last year so I wanted to go sub 11:00 this year. I just missed it by 1 minute. But as you say I got a new CR. I tried hard but I just missed my target… next year?
IC: When you are racing, what inspiration do you take from the men as you placed high overall too?
BC: The guys are pretty good when I catch them. I have a chat with them. It’s funny; I always seem to see the same guys in the same place as the years before. It’s like the race is on repeat.
IC: Like déjà vu?
BC: Yes, absolutely. Even at the beginning the same things happen. Funny how this happens but you have to run your own race and take the rough with the smooth and do your best. If you catch people, you catch them and that is good, it’s a distraction and it helps take your mind away from the moment.
IC: What is your training like; do you break your training down into a structured format?
BC: I do hover around a 100k a week. I try to do a couple of quality runs but I do lots of ‘junk’ miles. Time on my feet. I am told it is not the most effective way to train but I find I don’t get injured and it works for me. For the time being anyway. Every second weekend in the months leading up to The North Face to put in solid training sessions of up to 50km on sections of the course.
IC: It works!
BC: For the time being… I always look ahead and try to get information. For example I listen to Talk Ultra to find out what others are doing I mix that into my training…
IC: Glad to hear you listen to Talk Ultra!
BC: (laughs) Absolutely!
IC: Apart from running, do you work?
BC: I am a director for a center involved with child care. I work 0700-0900 and then 1430-1830 so that split shift allows for training and rest.
IC: Perfect for training.
BC: Yes, I can often get an afternoon nap.
IC: Now that you have a new CR and the TNF100 out of the way, what is next?
BC: In five weeks I have Lavaredo Trail in Italy and then I have a couple of other plans.
IC: Other races, what are they?
BC: I am doing a VK and the European Skyrunning Championships.
BC: That is the plan anyway.
IC: I will be at the VK and the championships.
BC: Awesome, cool. Be nice to meet up.
IC: VK, wow that is going to be new for you.
BC: Yes, I am going to be really interested in that, I can’t do a VK in Australia.
IC: The Europeans will be a great race. Another new experience. Very exciting for you… once you have the Skyrunning bug you will want to come back more.
BC: It’s a great opportunity to plan holidays and racing together.
IC: Great to catch up for just a brief chat. Many congratulations on a great TNF100 and I look forward to catching up later in the year.
BC: Thank you so much. It has been great and as you say, really looking forward to catching up in Europe.
TNF 100 Results:
- Beth Cardelli 11:01:08 (12th overall)
- Joanne Brischetto 11:44:35
- Shona Stephenson 11:45:38
- Brendan Davies 09:16:12 new CR beating Kilian Jornet’s previous best
- Vajin Armstrong 09:42:22
- Andrew Tuckey 09:44:52