Club Champion - Jess Dudley

Club Champion - Jess Dudley

From being a below average swimmer only 5 years ago to finishing Ultraman Australia, Jess is an incredible athlete that is proof that the impossible is possible. Hear about her Ultraman experience and what made her start triathlons

 

What inspired you to decide to do the Ultraman? 

About 5 years ago I decided to get into triathlon training as a hobby after being a below average swimmer, I had a very close call with death. 

A friend and I went for a causal afternoon dip/swim in the Noosa mouth and unfortunately a large current took us straight out and into a cannel. Ending up in no mans land, we began to struggle and panic. It was a public holiday and her being from overseas (myself not overly fit at the time) was almost the end of me. I remember looking up at the top of the water, the sun shining brightly and I felt as though I wasn't going to resurface. At that point in time a man in a tiny tin boat had seen us (the only passerby in 2 hours) he pulled us both to safety.

From that day on I made it my mission to learn to swim and get over a fear of the ocean as I never feared it before. After that day I couldn't even go waist deep without fear of a panic attack. Fast forward 6 months, I tried slowly re joining the ocean and becoming comfortable again.

Ironically, 4 years later I would be swimming 10km in the Ultraman at Noosa, not too far from the incident. 

 

How was Ultraman 2024?

This event is unlike any other I have ever done before. It's hard to describe the feel of becoming a family over 3 days with people you have never met before. From strangers to being on first name basis and everyone supporting each other! I believe they say welcome to the "Ultratribe" and it's exactly how this event is.

I certainly wouldn't say I have done a lot in my short few years. I've completed 3 Ironman's - Western Australia, Port Macquarie and Kona Hawaii 2023 - and a few local triathlons. Running is my happy place so I have done a lot of half and full marathons being my happy places. As for swimming, I've always just gotten by originally wearing a nose peg for the first 2 years! Haha so attractive!

Day 1: 10km Swim + 140km Bike.

I had a terrible time in the water being seasick and 12/10 pain in my shoulders hampered me badly i ended up spending almost the full time in the water, with the cut off being 6 hours and I finally came out at 5:45. My paddler Jo did everything she could to help me!! After that I had given everyone a huge head start. It was normal for me to be last out of the water.

When it was time to get onto the bike, in the back of my mind I was aware i might not make cut off on, so I rode that bike like i stole it!!! With an hour to go I had 30km to ride and coming back through Noosa traffic was dense my crew car was behind me but I kept pushing as hard as I could to make cut off i was not giving in!!!! I heard spectators call out 6 mins till cut off and I came over the line 4 mins until cut off I was delighted and relived to make it, not just for me but my crew who did everything they could.

Day 2: 275km Bike

On the bike was my happy place again my crew did amazing! We all worked together and got it done.

Day 3: 84.5km Run

The final leg 84.5 km run my happy place the two pacers I had with me did amazing the hurt kicked in at the 72km mark a nasty knee niggle I had to again find a happy place in my mind and push through what some couldn't... I hit the finish line and the overwhelming sight of hitting the finish line the tears flowed (my medal was placed over my neck and my paddler Jo was the lady to do it) a true moment I will cherish forever!!!!  Words cannot describe finishing this event and having so many people behind me just made it even more special !!    

 

Looking back at the whole experience of the Ultraman, what are your main takeaways from it?

My main takeaways from Ultraman is that persistence, consistency and hard work will trump talent any day. A strong mindset and being able to find a happy place during the hardest of times to be able to push past pain levels and fatigue that you never knew you could was just the most amazing feeling going over the finish line... I had the most amazing crew and supporters through the entire event a true community was behind me. 

  

What LAB Brand value do you align with the most and why? 

I value all of these but No One Left Behind stands out to me. No one should ever be scared to step forward and try to do things that seem impossible!! Because i am proof the impossible is possible. My favourite jumper from LAB has to be the 'No D!ckheads'!

 

Anything else you want to add?

I just want to thank LAB and everyone who inspires others to be there best version of themselves 

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