Growing up in Wagga Wagga, exploration and adventure formed a large part of Jodie McLeod’s upbringing.
This freedom stimulated a sense of creativity, which has helped her journey as a writer and, more recently, a passion for ultra-trail marathon running.
Jodie credits her older sister for unlocking the endless possibilities that writing provides.
“I do remember the moment when I thought, ‘Ah, that’s what I want to do’. I remember she (older sister) came home from one day at high school and she had written this beautiful story…she read it out and I just remember feeling ‘That is so amazing’,” Jodie said.
“I was so inspired and in awe. (From there), I just started honing my story writing skills and tried really hard.”
Jodie’s early love for the written word took her to university, where she completed an Honours degree in creative writing. Post-university, an opportunity to move into writing for and editing magazines attracted Jodie’s writing energy.
In 2018, Jodie threw herself into ultra-trail running (competing under her married name Jodie Earl), first contesting the Six Foot Track race. With hard training and disciplined routine, Jodie went onto win the 2019 Mount Solitary Ultra in a course record and reached the pinnacle, representing Australia at the World Trail Championships in Portugal last year.
“The idea behind the book is to foster a connection between children and nature and particularly the Blue Mountains,” Jodie said.
“More generally, it’s about connecting children with the Australian bush.”
Off the back of the success of Leonard the Lyrebird, Jodie is close to publishing the follow-up book – Lilah the Lyrebird.
In 2018, Jodie threw herself into ultra-trail running, first contesting the Six Foot Track race. With hard training and disciplined routine, Jodie went onto win the 2019 Mount Solitary Ultra in a course record and reached the pinnacle, representing Australia at the World Trail Championships in Portugal last year.
Pushing through the barriers of fatigue – mental and physical – prove to be the most satisfying part of ultra-trail running.
“Encountering that point where you feel really fatigued and your body is telling you to stop, but you find something inside of you that urges you to go on,” Jodie said.
“If you get on the podium, that’s just a bonus. The best runs have been when I’ve maintained that level of focus and come through the other side, knowing that I gave it my all. That’s the most satisfying thing.”