Skip to Content
13th May 2024


Newcastle’s Kylie Read is set to run her first ever trail event when she takes on the 22km at Ultra-Trail Australia by UTMB on Friday 17 May.

Kylie will be joined on the Blue Mountains trails by many others, made up of family and friends, with the group taking part in the event in memory of Kylie’s son, Archie, who sadly passed away suddenly on his first birthday in August 2022.

Archie was taken to the emergency department on 21 August 2022 with symptoms including a fever, rash, and reduced urine output. His situation deteriorated and by the next morning Archie, swollen and blue, had gone into cardiac arrest and his parents were told his organs were failing. They were later told that their son had two viruses described as the common cold and a bacterial infection known as Group A Streptococcus, which had turned into sepsis.

With Archie not responding to any treatment, Kylie and her husband were forced to have a conversation no parents should have to go through, agreeing it was in their son’s best in to turn off his life support machines and let him go. At midnight, as the day changed to 23 August, Archie passed away on his first birthday surrounded by balloons and his closest family.

After losing her son so young in such traumatic circumstances, Kylie spiralled into depression and struggled to leave her home.

“After it all happened, my husband and I just both just pretty much hibernated at home and didn't want to leave the house,” said Kylie. “I gained a lot of weight and we both had quite a few months off work.”

But nine months after losing Archie, Kylie fell pregnant. Elated but knowing her pregnancy could lead to further isolation, Kylie decided something needed to change. That same month, in May 2023, Kylie stumbled across Ultra-Trail Australia by UTMB (UTA) on Facebook, and something sparked in her.

“UTA is completely out of my comfort zone. I have never run a single thing in my life, I've never done fun runs or anything like that, but I knew that I just needed something to work towards,” she said. “I saw the event last year and though okay, I've got twelve months, this will give me something to work towards, it'll get me out walking and it’ll help me mentally.

“I needed the challenge to be that little bit far out of reach. I know the 11km would still be extremely hard for me, but the 22km was just that little bit further out of reach. I just thought that's what I needed to really challenge myself, physically and mentally.”

Kylie, along with her friends and family running and supporting the event will all wear specially designed t-shirts in honour of Archie. The t-shirts will bear the number 23, Archie’s birthday, and his ‘milestone lion’.

“I thought if I was going to do this, I want to get a shirt made up for Archie with his name on the back, his number 23, because he passed away on his first birthday, on the 23rd, and with Archie’s toy lion. We used to take a photo with Archie and his lion on the 23rd of every month. People affectionately called him ‘Little Lion Man’.”

Since deciding to enter UTA22 Kylie has been training hard, spending lots of time out on the trails in preparation for the race.

“The longest we've done in training so far is 24km, I was hobbling back to the car afterwards, but I made it. Literally all we think about is Archie because there's always a group of us when we go and we all wear our Archie shirts,” said Kylie.

“When we did the 24km one of my work colleagues messaged me that night and said she honestly didn't think she was going to make it, but all she kept thinking was this pain being nothing compared to what we have been through and that just got her back to the car at the end.”

When she takes on the UTA22 this Friday, Kylie will keep the memory of Archie in every step. It will be an emotional journey from start to finish, but one she knows her son would be proud of.

“Every time I think about it, my eyes well up, and so do other people as well. They can just picture us all having the biggest hug at the end because we've made it. Mum's already told me she's having champagne ready for us all as soon as we get across the finish line,” said Kylie.

“It’s going to be extremely emotional just to know that we did it, we got there, something that none of us thought we would ever be doing. This journey has not only been good for me, but it’s also been good for everybody else as well.

“One of our biggest reasons for doing this was knowing that Archie wouldn’t want us to sit around and mope and be at the point two years down the track where I still don't want to leave the house. So that was the biggest motivation behind it all.”

Kylie says finding trail running and setting the goal of finishing Ultra-Trail Australia has helped get her and those close to her through some of the darkest times of their lives.

“I had no idea how much this would actually help people mentally. Getting out on the trails has definitely helped to heal us, just getting out and getting fresh air, being able to free your mind a little bit. It's crazy how much it's helped us all.

“Even my husband, he'll get up at five o'clock in the morning and go for a walk because he knows how much he wants this, and we are not those people to get up to exercise. I've even got a personal trainer now at the gym, he's really working my legs hard and he's cheering for us. Everyone's just been so supportive,” she said.