Jo Spencer Bower, Challenging Herself to Inspire The Family - 'For Me And My Girls'
Training for the Kathmandu Coast to Coast with two young children and dairy farms to run might sound like a tough challenge to many, but for Jo Spencer-Bower, the bigger the challenge - the greater the appeal.
The former Canterbury Tactic netball player is used to tough training regimes and says the Coast to Coast is an event that has always interested her.
“I did it a few years ago as part of a two-person team and we actually did quite well, finishing fourth.
“I hadn’t had much time to prepare for it, as I filled in for someone who had to pull out just a few weeks out from the event.
“I guess after that I always knew I wanted to do it again but the timing just hasn’t been quite right.”
Spencer-Bower has also taken part in the mountain run leg of the event along with her brother former All Black Richie McCaw and sister-in-law Gemma McCaw. Although she says there are no plans to team up with her brother in the future.
“Not at this stage anyway, I don’t think I’d be quick enough.”
Spencer-Bower, who has two young daughters Chloe, 7 and Ruby, 5 says training around kids can be difficult but at the same time it has given her an extra boost in motivation.
“I think having the opportunity to set an example for my daughters has been something really positive. My daughter Chloe is doing a duathlon later this year and has told me as soon as she is 16 she wants to do the Coast to Coast with me.
“Growing up, my parents never pushed my brother and I into any sport, they just gave us every opportunity to be involved and enjoy it and that’s what I want to be able to do for my girls.”
Spencer-Bower is no stranger to overcoming injury setbacks over the years, but says it hasn’t put her off competing in multi-sport.
“I’ve done two ACLs on the same knee and a couple of years ago I did my achilles coming out of retirement and playing netball. I’ve definitely made the decision to stay retired from netball now, but I’m not ready to give up on the multi-sport.”
Spencer-Bower says despite the injuries, she hasn’t shied away from the challenges of training.
“I think I’m getting closer to 40 and I’ve got a lot of wear and tear on the body but I may as well compete while I still can.
“My husband will tell you I’m a much better person when I’ve exercised. I love pushing myself. Running a marathon doesn’t interest me, but running a marathon up a mountain – that appeals.
“It’s that bit extra, it’s being fit but still having to push through the pain mentally and physically to achieve your goal.”
Having just completed the Spring Challenge and relishing the warmer weather to get her kayak out on the water, Spencer-Bower is now firmly focused on the Kathmandu Coast to Coast.
“I’m just really looking forward to doing it and preparing the best I can.
“I think that first bike leg is the unknown and I’m not yet fully prepared for the kayak – I haven’t really done it since high school.
“But that’s what’s so good about this event too. Having to be prepared for anything and everything -being fit is only part of it.”