Thursday, December 15, 2022


Mackay and Whitsunday Life


Breaking The Stigma Of Muscles In Endurance

“If I can inspire someone to get out of the door and run, then that’s pretty special.”

His goal was to run one marathon, but fate had a different set of plans for Kay Nyenuh.

This December, Kay completed his sixth marathon in six months, including the world’s largest marathon in New York City a month prior.

It all started with a desire to run the Gold Coast Marathon, but COVID-19 restrictions put a spanner in the works.

“My goal was only ever the one marathon, but one week before the event in 2021, it was cancelled because of COVID,” Kay said.

Not deterred, Kay ran the marathon anyway here in Mackay, but he hadn’t lost the hunger to pound the pavement on the Gold Coast. Setting the plan in motion for a re-do in 2022, he tackled the Hamilton Island Hilly Half in May and the Mackay Marina Run in June, to prepare for the big show.

“Just before the Gold Coast Marathon, I ran the Mackay Road Runners 30km championships and ran my best ever time over 30km. That gave me so much confidence heading towards the Gold Coast,” Kay said.

With more than 1,400km of training behind him, Kay entered the Gold Coast Marathon in the best running shape of his life. He ran his best-ever marathon time of 3:15:50, despite experiencing cramps during the race for the first time.

In the best shape of his life for long-distance running, Kay didn’t want to stop after the Gold Coast. Having experienced Christmas in New York with family the year before, Kay entered 2022 with a new perspective on life.

“Coming home at the start of the year it was a very different time in my life as my marriage had broken up,” Kay said.

“For the first time I had to deal with not having my kids there when I woke up every morning, not having them there every night. It was a challenging time. I’d come home from work and on the weeks that I didn’t have the kids, it was like, ‘what do I do now’?

“Running is one of those things that helped.

“After I completed the GC Marathon, I walked out of my counsellor’s office and he said, ‘this is your life now, you need to decide what you want to do’.

“And I thought, ‘this is my life, what do I want to do’?

“So, I decided I wanted to travel the world and run marathons. I set the goal to do a marathon every month. I did Townsville in August, then September was the Sydney Marathon, and in October I ran the Melbourne Marathon.”

Kay had his eye on an even bigger challenge.

“I made the decision to do the Abbott World Marathon Majors, which are the six most renowned marathons in the world; Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City Marathons,” he said.

“New York wasn’t meant to be first up, it’s nearly impossible to get in. I didn’t have the qualifying time needed to enter, the charity options were full, and the marathon tour groups were all booked.

“However, I received an email that a spot opened up with one of the tour groups, so New York was suddenly on the list for November.”

Kay said that experiencing the New York Marathon was almost impossible to put into words.

“It’s you and 50,000 other people. It’s the biggest marathon in the world, it’s like nothing else.

“I also had family cheering for me which made it really special.”

Kay ended a phenomenal year back on the Gold Coast in December to run the 50km event, 8km longer than a normal marathon.

“The Gold Coast Marathon is my favourite in Australia,” Kay said.

“It’s along the coast, with people cheering the entire way along the course. When you’re running you spend a lot of time in your head, so when you have people cheering to take your mind off the run, it’s beautiful.”

Kay plans to continue to conquer the Abbott Majors.

“Next year (2023) I’m aiming to run the London Marathon in April, and then Berlin later in the year.

“Berlin is the fastest marathon course in the world so it will be special to do that. London will be cold, but the colder the better.”

He is also hoping to run the Gold Coast Marathon again, which in 2023 falls on his birthday.

Kay says that running has helped him through a difficult year and is hoping to break the stigma that you need to be a certain body shape to run.

“Because I’m in the fitness industry I come into contact with people who say ‘I’m not a runner’, and I think nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.

“My mantra is nobody was born a runner. When I do these events and people look at me like, wow, the big guy is running a marathon. It’s about changing people's perspective on what’s possible.

“If you say, ‘I can’t do that’, if you accept it, then that’s true, but if you say you can, it can be done.

“People have said ‘what are you running away from’ but running this year has represented freedom. I’m in this unique state of my life that I haven’t been in for a very long time, so it’s an expression of freedom.

“Make it a year you do something that’s crazy. Step outside your comfort zone and move yourself forward.”

Kay has recently announced that a fourth gym under his Muscle Garden brand will be opened in 2023 in the Northern Beaches.

“As well as those three marathons, my challenge in 2023 will be the growth of my business and raising my children so they know they are loved. It’s a new world for me as a single dad, that will be a challenge in itself.”

Kay proving muscles can move long distances at the GC50 event earlier this month. Images supplied

Kay’s beaming smile after completing the New York Marathon, wearing a top featuring his three children for inspiration

Kay’s best ever marathon time at the Gold Coast Marathon earlier this year in July

In other news