on December 22nd, 2022

From supporting EIT students to engaging in competitive sports, EIT Lead Learning Support Officer Holly Maree Ross always crosses the finish line

Whether she is making sure our students get the best learning experience or whether she is running treacherous trails just for fun, EIT Lead Learning Support Officer Holly Ross will always put her best foot forward.

As a testament to her ability to see challenges through to the end, she recently completed one of the most enduring trails runs: the annual Raglan Karioi Trail Run.

We chased down the 36-year-old from Raglan in New Zealand to tell us about her experience with the Engineering Institute of Technology and talk us through preparing for and completing such a tough race

Holly preparing for her 10km run in the Raglan Karoi Trail Race
EIT Lead LSO Holly started training six weeks before.

How did you come to work at EIT, and how has that been?

I was living in Perth in 2011 when I applied for Course Coordinator (now called Learning Support Officer), where Paul, the College Manager, interviewed me and offered me the position.

In 2015 I decided to move back to New Zealand. After careful deliberation, Steve and Paul allowed me to continue to work for EIT from New Zealand remotely.

What do you love most about your work at EIT?

I love helping students through their learning journey. It can be tough on students, so I always encourage and help them. I love when students graduate and go out of their way to thank me for helping them. It makes it all worth it.

Was this your first Raglan Karioi Trail race, and how did you find out about it?

Yes, this was my first time doing the trail race. I registered to do it last year but got canceled because of COVID-19. The race takes place in my hometown, and I can see the mountain from my house. So, I have been meaning to do it.

When did you start training, and what did that entail?

I generally keep fit because that’s just me. But I started training for the run about six weeks prior as I am not much of a runner. I started with some smaller four- to five-km runs, then did a couple of 8km runs, including a few big hills. But nothing could prepare me for the run, and I underestimated it (laughs). It was tough.

Ten kilometers on rugged terrain can’t be easy?

Yeah, it wasn’t just your casual 10km run, as it was six km uphill at the start clawing through mud and using trees to help pull you up along the track. That was a killer. But the most challenging part would have been on already shaky legs, using a rope to kind of abseil down a bit of a cliff face that was muddy and slippery. The arms and legs hurt for that one. If you slipped or fell, it’s pretty unforgiving.

What position and time did you finish in?

I came in 12th female out of 23 with a time of two hours 38 minutes. I won a spot prize which was a camping kettle. It will be beneficial for our upcoming camping trip.

Raglan Karoi Trail Race Finishing 12th out of 24
Holly at the six-kilometer point in the race.
Holly finished 12 out of  23 Females in the Raglan Karoi Trail Race
The big finish. Holly took 12th place out of 23 females.

Give us some tips on how to stay motivated in training.

For me, it’s how I feel after a run or after a workout. The endorphins are flowing, and I feel so good and happy once I finish. The first few runs or workouts are always the hardest, so generally, people give up, but if you can push through those first few, it becomes enjoyable and addictive.

I keep fit because it’s essential for my mental health as well as my well-being. These days the more I exercise, the better I eat, the more energy I have, and the better I feel. It’s a cycle of goodness and starts with just getting out there for that first run, walk, or fitness class.

Will you do the race in 2023, and will you do the 10km again?

Yes, most definitely, I will do it again next year. I would like to do the 10km again and beat my time by finishing it in under two hours. So, watch this space!

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