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World Champion Rower, Ultra Runner, Stair Climber and Doctor! Meet Dr Alice McNamara

29 Apr 2020
Randall Cooper
Rower, Doctor and now endurance runner! Alice is one of the busiest people we know! From stair climbing the tallest buildings in the world, endurance running, rowing and on the sidelines of some of Australia's best sporting teams as a Doctor. A great insight into life of elite sport.

 

My Sporting Journey


My journey as an endurance runner began with rowing, which I took up during my school years. Rowing came with a big training program which involved many hours of endurance training each week. I spent hours at a time rowing, cycling and of course, running, much of it with my team-mates at the Melbourne University Boat Club and the Victorian Institute of Sport.

Even before rowing though, my family would go bushwalking in the high plains, which is where I found a love for the mountains from a very young age.

Combine love of the mountains with an endurance background, and you meet trail running. I love the sense of freedom and adventure that it gives you. I’ve been fortunate enough to find my niche in the running community and run alongside others who gravitate to the hills and the trails; they are a wonderful group of the most down to earth, socially conscious people you can find.

Sports as an avenue of progress for women


Women in sport today are providing the next generation of young women with something to aspire to. These role models are important, particularly as “you can’t be, what you can’t see”.

In particular, the women who I train with- my female teammates, acquaintances and role models continue to surprise, amaze and inspire me.

Sport teaches you to be passionate about something, and if you want to perform and be at your best, you have to contribute and commit to the process. Sport exposes you to direct feedback, via coaching or with data, times and results. It exposes you to disappointment and provides opportunity to build resilience. It exposes you to challenging communication, in stressful and high stakes environments.

All women benefit from these experiences and can build confidence as they roll with the punches to get better, stronger, quicker, faster. These lessons are so vital to take with you into all areas of life. Indeed, there is strong evidence that the vast majority of women who lead in the C-suite of major US companies competed in sport to at least a college level. This isn’t an accident. Sport teaches you to have a “strong back, and soft front.”

I draw inspiration from the people around me. Specifically, those people who create opportunity for themselves, even when there are work, family, travel and other considerations to keep in mind; those who are motivated by self-care and self-improvement, but also those who have an eye on the broader community and their place in it all.

I am lucky I know many of these types of people, and I make sure I follow and stay connected with them.

What Motivates Me


Daily motivation is something that has to come from within, but it does take repetition and practice. For me it’s about not thinking too much about the hard parts, like getting out of bed, getting started, and instead just doing them. I try to direct my thoughts to what I’m looking forward to: a coffee, a few laughs with friends and if it’s training, then feeling good at the end.

What do you do for work?


Currently I’m a Sports Medicine Doctor (Registrar) working in a private clinic in Melbourne. Our clients are not limited to those in sport (we do see many athletes), but we also see people who are active in their day to day lives, and those who wouldn’t call themselves athletes! We also work with sports teams; at the moment I am working with football and rowing teams as well as covering endurance trail running events which I absolutely love.

I also do some work as an Emergency doctor.

At work, I’m focused on keeping clients active and helping them pursue their goals. Having been an elite athlete myself, I understand why so many athletes want answers instantly and want to get back into routine immediately. I also try to focus on the big picture of community sport and wellness. In particular, I’m interested in female specific performance considerations like the menstrual cycle and training and nutrition considerations. I am passionate about setting people up to have a good life “after” sport – it does exist!

Highlights


Looking back on my career so far, my highlights span the 11 years I spent on the Australian rowing team. I was in the Lightweight Women’s Rowing squad and won two World Championships in the Lightweight Women’s Quad Scull. I had some really successful years in the Lightweight Women’s double scull, winning World Cup medals with Hannah Every-Hall, Maia Simmonds and Ella Flecker.

After and around rowing, I was lucky enough to race in stair climbing events, in which I’ve competed across the “Vertical World Circuit”. I have had seven wins competing in the Eureka Tower Stair Climb, and also won the Empire State Building Run Up, Taipei 101 and last year I came second in the Eiffel Tower Run up. I’ve run at the Sky Running World Championships in the Vertical Kilometer in Scotland, and I’ve raced in Norway and Italy. These events are incredible and will always be on my lengthy bucket lists!

Working in medicine makes travel and training much more difficult, so my goals are currently less race-specific and more big-picture focused. I focus on staying fit and strong, so I can do the things I want to do and take opportunities that come up both now and in the future.

How Premax Helps Me


I came across Premax at the Victorian Institute of Sport, where our staff used the massage and physiotherapy creams. We were extremely well looked after there and I was lucky to have had some great coaches, doctors and allied health providers. Through the VIS Women’s Health Week seminar and initiatives, I was lucky enough to trial Premax’s Anti Friction Balm and Weather Defence Facial Cream, and I can tell you, I am hooked!

I use the anti-friction cream most days, when cycling to work, or on ZWIFT- it’s the key to having a sustainable and comfortable cycling routine, and I can highly recommend!
I also use the 50+ SPF sport sunscreen, as the amount of time I spend outside on the water makes it critical to protect skin from the harsh Australian UV rays.
My favorite product is the Weather Defence Facial Cream. Not only does it smell delicious, it really does turn dry, outdoor weathered skin like mine into a more normal complexion. I think it’s perfect for my lifestyle, and the amount of time I spend outside in the great outdoors, doing what I love.

 

Follow Alice on social media 

@https://www.instagram.com/_alice_mac/

 




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