Meagan "Brownie" Brown (nee Sims) was there to toe the line for the very first Blackall in 2014, and has gone on to have 8 finishes under her belt. She was the 3rd placed woman in 2015 and has since become equal-first for most podium appearances for the 100km women. She notched up another 3rd in 2020, and then went back-to-back 2nd in 2021 and 2022. Known for her speed, finish line exuberance, and love for dogs, Meagan is one of the genuine Blackall icons and was generous enough to share her story and outlook in the leadup to the 10th edition of the race.
Meagan, thanks so much for being our first Blackall icon. First things first - will you be back for Blackall 2023?
I will be at Blackall 2023 - I just haven't figured out in what capacity! It has been on my list to volunteer or cheer on course, but then I always end up running because, well, Blackall!
What initially drew you to the event, and what brings you back each year?
I can remember being excited that Queensland was going to have a pretty schmick looking 100km event. It was really well organised straight out of the gate and has always had the best community vibes. It's a big family and I love being a part of the Blackall family. That's why I keep coming back. It's been great to witness the growth of the event over the years. In 2014 there were 58 100km finishers and I'm certain we all basically knew each other. Last year there were 223 with lots of new faces, which is fantastic. Our sport is growing!
Image: Meagan striding out in the opening minutes of the very first Blackall 100 in 2014.
You're right in the mix for being the 1st to achieve the coveted "1000 Club". Do you think about that in your planning and prep, and does it motivate you at all?
The '1000 club' hasn't been on my mind actually. The '500 club' was a big motivator for me and I hiked my 5th year in to get into it! I didn't realise I was so high up reaching the 1000 club until the awards ceremony last year, when fellow 8-year runner Andy told me. I was a bit surprised!
Image: Meagan notching up the '500 club' milestone in 2018, finishing with husband Sammy
Blackall is renowned for having a bit of everything in terms of terrain and scenery. Do you have a favourite section? Any sections that you particularly dread?
My favourite section is the newly created downhill out of CP4 heading to the dam. That was a dream last year because I love a good runnable downhill. My least enjoyable would actually be Baxter Falls. I always feel like it's a slog and it's still so early. I seem to take a while to warm up!
Image: We don't have an image of Meagan on the new section, but here she is pretending to enjoy her least favourite part of the course - Baxter's Creek bridge
Favourite all-time moment at Blackall?
Last year was incredibly special for me. I had my best friend crew who hadn't been crew at an event in about 10 years. For her to be there with the one and only Mummacaz was magic. Coming in to CP4 we had a mini dance party, which gave me so much energy. Ultras are tough for everyone so you need to try enjoy it when you can.
Image: Meagan and her bestie & crew (incidentally also Meaghan) all smiles in the pre-race excitement 2022
As one of the most capped Blackall runners, do you have any advice for a first timer who is planning their B100 debut this October?
To accept that it will be hard and know it's hard for everyone. To smile and enjoy the day. Think of it as a celebration of all the hard work you've put in!
What's your post-B100 recovery routine?
Sleep and eat and sleep and eat. I never rush back into running after an ultra and listen to my body. I am very kind to my body because she works so hard for me. A bit of extra time recovering post-race, can save a lot of time off later.
Image: Excited to be commencing the "and eat" phase of recovery after finishing the 2021 event
What does your peak training run look like in the leadup to a 100km trail race?
It changes depending on the race, the time of year, where I'm at. Typically, the longest run I'll do will be 6 hours on similar terrain.
Are you a headphones and music and/or podcast type runner? Or do you prefer to go a la natural?
I occasionally listen to podcasts or music in training, but prefer to race without. I find I switch off when I have music in and that makes it hard to get into race mode!
Any particular tech or equipment that you can't live without on a long run?
Once upon a time I would have said my watch. But just recently at Tarawera however, my watch died on the start line. Turns out I can live without it on a long run!
Image: Setting off music-free (but with a working watch) in 2020
Do you have any pre-race rituals/superstitions or lucky charms that you rely on for race days?
No lucky charms or rituals - I like to think I'm in control of the day! A few years ago I would have ran holding a pine cone if you said it was lucky.
In the moments I see you during races, you always look so happy. What is running for you and what place does it hold in your life?
I'm just always happy to see you Steve! I guess running has meant different things at different times for me and is always evolving. Initially it was just a way to get fit. Now it's more about the adventure side of it and seeing where I can go, and how fast, via my own two feet. As long as I'm enjoying it, I'll keep doing it.
Image: Meagan happy to see SOK on the bluff, 2018
What lies ahead for you in the coming 12-18 months?
I am heading to CCC In September, the 100km sister event at UTMB. It's my main focus and I am very excited about it! Just to experience those mountains and the atmosphere of Chamonix during UTMB week will be incredible.
Any trends in races or running that worry you, or you don't agree with?
I really disagree with the "death before DNF" viewpoint, and the obsessive approach to do more and more, whether in training or events. I feel like our sport attracts a lot of people who use running as an unhealthy coping tool. It makes me sad to see running being used this way, almost as a form of punishment, when it can be something positive and enjoyable.
If you could choose anyone (living or dead) to go for a run with, who would it be with and where would you run?
Good question! I often think about this in a dinner perspective, but not in a run perspective. I think Dave Chappelle would be so interesting and he's such a good story teller. I'm almost certain he wouldn't want to go for a run, so perhaps we could yog a few 100m's along the river to a pub.
Image: Meagan easily outrunning Dave Chappell in 2015. She went on to claim her first podium that year, finishing 3rd in 13:02:59
You're amazing for being so generous with your time giving such fulsome insight into your world. What's the best way for people to follow you?
The best way to follow me is on Instagram @megatron_brown I really only want to post pictures of our dog and cat, but manage to keep it mostly to running adventures.
Image: Meagan flying (figuratively and literally) over the line to claim 2nd place in the 2022 Blackall 100.
Good luck Meagan for all your running adventures in 2023!
Check out our other Blackall icons here.
Check out all our images of previous Blackall races on our Past Events page