Q&A with Kate Phillips, heart and double lung transplant recipient and 110km Australian Unity Tour de Brisbane rider.

Which distance are you riding in this year’s Australian Unity Tour de Brisbane?

This year I am riding in the 110km distance. I usually ride as a team with my brother and some of my friends.  

Since having your transplant you have competed in not just cycling events but also triathlons. What got you interested in triathlons?

I’d always been keen on triathlons as my family and friends both competed in them but I had only been able to be a spectator as my body before my transplant just wasn’t built for it. After I had my transplant, I really wanted to be able to fully participate by competing. I think I have done around 15 triathlons so far but COVID has meant that there have been less competitions available, particularly as some were held interstate.

What is your favourite leg in triathlons?

I’d have to say swimming is still my favourite as it was the sport I could always do, even when I was unwell as it was the least strenuous on my body. But I do love cycling too – just being able to use these beautiful new lungs and being active is the best thing in the world.

Did you know that this year the Australian Unity Tour de Brisbane will include a duathlon?

That’s fantastic news and is a great way for people who are traditionally runners to give the cycle leg a go, or vice versa, for cyclists to take on a run leg. Adding a duathlon will hopefully open the event up to a new legion of fans who can take part and fundraise for vital medical research.

What do you love about the Australian Unity Tour de Brisbane?

It really is a great event – this will be my eighth time competing in the Tour de Brisbane, or as it was formerly known, The Cycle of Giving. It is an amazing local ride on fully closed roads through some of the best Brisbane locations. To have a race of this calibre is such an asset to the city of Brisbane. For me though, it also gives me an opportunity to raise funds for The Common Good for vital medical research, particularly in the area of organ transplant. The Common Good is a charity that I am so proud to support. I also love that the event raises awareness about organ and tissue donation. The event really encompasses so many things I am passionate about.

Last year your team raised over $10,000 and won the top fundraising team in the Tour de Brisbane. Do you have any fundraising tips for others?

I think just sharing how your training is going with your friends, family and workplace. People really like to hear about what you are up to and particularly like it if you are honest about the ups and downs. Let people know why you are fundraising too, why it is important to you. Our team fundraising also benefitted from the generosity of Merlo Coffee’s dollar matching initiative where, for a set period of time, they matched every donation made, dollar for dollar. Our supporters really liked knowing that when they donated during this time, that their donations would be doubled. 

Do you have a training tip?

Over Christmas and New Year we tend to have a bit of a break which is great but give yourself time to build up to the distance you want to compete in by starting training early enough. Also, train for the conditions that will be part of the ride you have chosen. For example, for some distances there are a few hill climbs so make sure you incorporate these into your training.

Just $44 powers one hour of life-changing medical research through The Common Good. Start fundraising your Australian Unity Tour de Brisbane ride to power your hour.