By Casey Neill
Dandenong’s Kate Cumbers burst onto Australian television screens decked out in bunny ears, a bunny tail and a tutu.
The self-proclaimed Energiser Bunny was among 100 competitors who were selected to tackle the Australian Ninja Warrior obstacle course.
The 30-year-old appeared on the Channel Nine program’s debut on Sunday 9 July, crashing out on the first obstacle.
“I saw the American and the Japanese version,” she said.
“I thought it would be really cool if it came to Australia.
“We started off with an application video, explaining who you are.
“After that they filtered out from nearly 10,000 people down to 1000.”
They auditioned with a five-minute plank, five minutes of pull-up burpees, a five-minute hang and five minutes of skipping.
But Ms Cumbers said the hardest part was the interview section, where she was thrown probing questions about her life.
“I was just myself and they liked it,” she said.
“We didn’t even find out if we made it to air until two weeks ago.
“I was one of 10 that made the cut out of 100 ninjas.”
Competitors woke up at 8am on the day of the obstacle course.
“Then it was a full day of interviews in front of the camera, right up until 2am when I ran my course,” she said.
“All the courses were ran flat-out in the middle of the morning.
“When they called us up, my heart was just thumping out of my chest.”
The crowd was chanting her name and she was “freaking out”.
“You don’t even remember the course. It’s just such a blur,” she said.
“The hard bit is you’re not allowed to touch it beforehand.
“You get one look at it.
“It was probably one of the most crazy, most fun experiences I’ve ever actually had.
“Never have I felt that pressure in any competition.”
And Ms Cumbers has had plenty of experience, ranging from fighting championships, surf life-saving, gymnastics, swimming, taekwondo, athletics at state and national level, and calisthenics.
She’s been involved in various sports since she was four years old and said this served her well in the competition.
“I was well-rounded,” she said.
Ms Cumbers has also worked at Genesis Fitness Dandenong for four years.
“Everyone was supportive,” she said.
“Training here saved my butt. We had six weeks to prepare.
“Ninja training’s special.”
She had to improve her ability to jump and work on other techniques she’d never needed before.
“Some of the members here were really good at it and helped me out,” she said.
Since the show aired she’s been recognised at the supermarket and inundated with Facebook friend requests.
“The main thing that’s come of this is the ninja community,” she said.
“Ninja’s a fun sport. It’s like adults being kids.”