Meet Justin Murillo and Leigh Thomas, endurance athletes who have participated in a wide range of disciplines over the last 3 years including 5km-50km road races, short course to ultra-distance trail-running races, and sprint to half-ironman distance triathlons.
Whilst for most of us, participating in a 96km run is something we think could never be possible Justin and Leigh proclaim that The Kokoda Challenge Gold Coast (hailed as the toughest team endurance event in Australia) has been their favourite race event yet?! Teams of four tackle 96km (the distance of the Kokoda Track) through diverse hinterland terrain within a time limit of 39 hours (in honour of the 39th Militia, who were the first Australian response unit at Kokoda). This is the ultimate race to of courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice.
“We believe this race brings the best out of you and forces you to dig deep and find the courage to keep going when times are tough. The challenge brings a special “team” aspect to endurance races. You build an eternal bond with your teammates and make memories that will last a lifetime”.
If participating isn’t a big enough achievement, Justin and Leigh’s team won the 2016 Mixed Team race – congrats guys! Believe it or not, these two athletes main motivator for entry into endurance sport is for “fun, new experiences and the time spent training with friends”.
Justin and Leigh enjoy the variety of training endurance events bring and both credit yoga (especially Ian’s classes) with helping in their physical and psychologically training. They believe that incorporating regular practices into their training regime has assisted immensely in battling fatigue and helping them to remain physically and mentally tough over long distances and durations leading to improved performance.
“Yoga has helped us train our minds to develop psychological coping skills which are critical when you hit the tough parts in any race category. Yoga works well for additional fitness (physical and mental) for whatever your goal event is!”
And we are certain that these coping skills are going to come to good use when Justin and Leigh take on the Ultra-Trail Australia Megalong 100km, Australia’s most challenging, stunning and prestigious 100km Trail running event. This event takes place in May on the breath-taking trails located in the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park. It has quickly become one of the most talked about endurance events of its kind!
Justin and Leigh met through The RatPack Training Squad (based in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast) not only did they meet each other, they also met others who they basically consider family. The pair is lucky to be able to share their experiences together, something they never take for granted. Both love all kinds of endurance-based sports and enjoy all that encompasses them – the initial thoughts, the journey of training, the ups and downs and race day.
Between teaching (yes both Justin and Leigh teach at local Gold Coast schools) training and racing, this dynamic duo have now started Aventura Athletic, their own apparel company. They aim to provide unique apparel and gear that reflects the lifestyle of those who are a part of the sporting world.
“We love the feeling of freedom that endurance sports bring and we are always excited exploring new places during training sessions or races. Both of us also have a passion for clothing; checking out what’s in, or, what’s missing in regards to current styles. Ultimately we have combined both our passion for endurance sport and fashion together to create our brand”.
Justin and Leigh believe that this sporting community brings people from all walks of life together, and strive to help others to achieve goals that they never thought possible.
Justin and Leigh would like to extend a special ‘thank you’ to their sponsors Wild Earth Burleigh Heads, Australia’s #1 store for all types of outdoor adventurers and Mikes Bikes Miami, supplying and servicing Gold Coast’s Bicycles for every kind of riding experience for almost four decades.