Australian Woman Training In a Giant Refrigerator To Prepare For grueling Ultramarathon

Sia Kindberg is leaving no stone unturned as she prepares for a five day race in the Arctic

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In just a few days, Sia Kindberg, a 42-year-old Australian mother from Moonee Ponds, will embark on a remarkable journey: she will be the first Australian woman to compete in the Arctic Ice Ultramarathon, a grueling 230-kilometer race through the icy terrains of Swedish Lapland. 

Despite the formidable challenges that lie ahead, including temperatures plummeting to a bone-chilling -40°C, Kindberg is determined to push her limits and test her endurance against the harsh Arctic conditions.

Australian Woman Training In a Giant Refrigerator To Prepare For grueling Ultramarathon 1
Photo Credit: Sia Kindberg

Months of rigorous preparation have led Kindberg to this moment. What sets her training apart is the unconventional environment in which she has been honing her skills: a giant refrigerator at the University of Melbourne’s Carlton campus. 

Inside this icy chamber, where temperatures drop to a frosty -20°C, Kindberg has been simulating the frigid conditions she will encounter during the race. 

The purpose of her unique training regimen? To acclimatize her body to the extreme cold, preparing her for the challenges that await her in the Arctic wilderness.

Collaborating with a team of dedicated engineers and researchers from the University of Melbourne, Kindberg has been meticulously fine-tuning her gear and techniques for optimal performance in the Arctic environment. 

Led by mechanical engineering student Patrick Bradfield-Smith and supervised by Professor Alessandro Toffoli, the team has been conducting experiments to identify the most effective clothing materials and strategies to mitigate the risks of hypothermia and frostbite.

Kindberg shares her experience, saying, “Training inside the fridge has been essential in preparing me for the harsh conditions of the Arctic. It’s not just about physical endurance; it’s about mental resilience and finding the right balance between staying warm and avoiding overheating.”

One of the key challenges Kindberg faces is maintaining the delicate balance between staying warm and avoiding excessive sweating, which can lead to dangerous consequences in sub-zero temperatures. 

Through thermal imaging and extensive trial sessions inside the fridge, the team has been able to tailor Kindberg’s gear to ensure maximum comfort and protection against the elements.

I’ve learned so much from these training sessions,” Kindberg reflects. “It’s not just about the gear; it’s about understanding my body’s response to extreme cold and knowing when to push myself and when to dial it back.

Australian Woman Training In a Giant Refrigerator To Prepare For grueling Ultramarathon 2
Photo Credit: Sia Kindberg via Instagram

But preparation goes beyond physical endurance and gear selection. Kindberg acknowledges the mental fortitude required to tackle such a daunting endeavor. 

Kindberg remains undaunted by the formidable task ahead as she gears up to spend five days running across treacherous terrain, battling wind, snowfields, and frozen lakes.

“For me, this race is about more than just crossing the finish line,” Kindberg explains. It’s about pushing my limits, inspiring others, and making a positive impact in the world.

Her resolve is fueled by a deep sense of purpose and determination to push her boundaries and inspire others along the way.

“As I lace up my shoes and prepare to face the Arctic wilderness, I carry with me the hopes and dreams of those who have supported me on this journey,” Kindberg says. “I may be the one running the race, but I’m doing it for all those who have believed in me and cheered me on every step of the way.”

For Kindberg, this race is not just about personal achievement; it’s about making a difference in the lives of others. 

Inspired by her upbringing in Thailand and driven by a desire to give back to her community, Kindberg is fundraising to rebuild a school in her childhood village, hoping to provide better opportunities for the next generation.

“A group of my closest friends and I are planning to bring our children to do volunteer work at school, while the repair work is taking place. I’m hoping this experince will make the children appreciate the life they have here in Australia and also inspire them to help the less fortunate.”

“Having grown up in the poorest part of Thailand and having experienced poverty firsthand, I feel blessed for the education I have received and for the life I’m living — it’s shaped who I am today and given me the foundation that anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it.”

As she prepares to represent Australia on the international stage, Kindberg’s journey serves as a testament to the power of perseverance, resilience, and the human spirit. 

“This challenge will test my strength, endurance, mental toughness and self sufficiency skills in the unforgiving arctic environment. ‘It’s just like ultra running, we are all equal at the start line and then it’s all about what we do with our time between the start and finish line.’— That’s what I always used to say to my friend Andzelika.”

Photo of author
Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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