Runaway back home to the Barossa

22 August 2017
Runaway back home to the Barossa

Melbourne based Judy Somes and Sydney resident Sage Saegenschnitter are living proof that “You can take the girls out of the Barossa Valley but you can’t take the Barossa Valley out of the girls”.

While Judy and Sage no longer reside in the Barossa Valley, their connection to, and love of the region has never diminished, so inspired by the launch of the inaugural Runaway Barossa Marathon (21 October), they are in training for their return home, packing their sneakers and getting ready to enjoy some time in the Barossa catching up with family and friends.

Judy was born and raised in the Barossa, lived on a farm between Tanunda and Gomersal before moving to Melbourne more than 25 years ago. While she enjoys life in Melbourne, she misses the relatives and the things that make the Barossa a special place.

“The Barossa a very pretty part of Australia and a place I always love to visit. Aside from seeing family and friends, our regular visits back almost always include winery visits, a trip to the local farmer’s market and purchasing local produce like Mettwurst and Dill Cucumbers to take back to Melbourne.”

An age grouper, Judy has been involved in triathlon and running on and off since the 1990s and has five Ironman finishes (including Kona) to her credit and last year competed in the IRONMAN 70.3 World champs on the Sunshine Coast.

“When I saw the course for Runaway Barossa Marathon, I knew it was a 'must do' event.  I'm really excited to race Runaway Barossa Marathon, because it is quite literally on home soil, with the early part of the course including a long stretch straight past my family's farm.  Many parts of the course are on roads that I remember vividly from my childhood and I often run some of these when back visiting. It will be a fantastic course and I can't wait to run it.”

“These days I mainly race 70.3s and like to throw in a marathon here and there, so Runaway Barossa Marathon will be my fourth 'on its own' marathon.  As well as completing another marathon, this for me is a great opportunity to catch up with family and friends.  I'll be coming across with my husband and two children and staying with family. Training is going well and I'm looking forward to having a great run on 21 October,” Judy said. 

Like Judy, Sage Saegenschnitter is also Barossa local girl. Born in Tanunda she lived in the Barossa until she finishes high school and then headed off to Sydney in 2000 where she eventually discovered she was a runner.

“Growing up I was far from athletic, I was the kind of kid who was on the SRC cooking the BBQ on sports day to get out of having to participate in any events. I was the kids who was picked last in the sports team and honestly believed I could not run.”

“In the last ten years in Sydney I took up running because the cost of living is so expensive and I needed a type of exercise that cost me nothing. I would walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens every day and see others with various levels of fitness and form out there giving it a go. So I thought 'If they can do it, so can I’.”

“My first running goal was to make it to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair without stopping. This was about 1.5km. I thought, 'If I can do that, then maybe I am a runner’. It took me a few months before I reached the goal but my mindset never changed. Since then I've done a bunch of fun runs including the City2Surf and a few half marathons.”

“I've been toying with the idea of tackling a marathon for a few years now, and when I saw Runaway Barossa Marathon event I knew this was the place I wanted to do it. It's the place to hit that goal and finally claim that I am a runner and undo all those self beliefs that formed early in my life. It might not be fast, it might not be elegant but I'll get it done. And even better the start and finish line is just a five minute walk from my parent’s home.”

“To help me along the way, I've invited a bunch of my training buddies to come along for a weekend getaway to share with them all the beauty and delight that is the Barossa - stunning scenery, magic wine and delicious food. Most of them have never been so they're in for a treat. A few are injured and disappointed that they can't run, but they'll be cheering from the sidelines and soaking up the best of the Barossa vibes,” Sage said.