As Season 2 of Hunted Australia premiered, 10 new pairs of Fugitives scattered across Victoria in the hopes of surviving for 21 days on the run. If they’re able to outsmart the team of Hunters following their every move, they’ll have the chance to reach a final extraction point and win their share of $100,000.
For Cath and Kel, sadly their time on the run was cut short as they became the first team captured by Hunter HQ.
“I remember sitting at home watching the first season very distinctly thinking I reckon I could do that and I reckon I could do it really well. Turns out… I couldn’t,” Kel said as the pair burst into laughter.
“I think also you get to a stage in your life, we’ve got kids, we work, and life gets into a bit of a pattern,” Cath added. “I think we both saw this as something fun, something different. Having an opportunity to play hide and seek with grown-ups, I mean, how much fun is that?”
Knowing that they were at a disadvantage when it came to being tech-savvy, Cath and Kel planned to go “old school” with their time on the run, prepping friends that they might simply show up on their doorsteps at some point, or planning the occasional phone call.
“We had a sense that we were probably going to be what I guess is commonly referred to as the ‘low hanging fruit’”, Kel said, “but we thought if we went old school they wouldn’t be looking for us. Maybe technology would be what gave other people away.
“We were hopeful, but we were wrong,” Kel laughed.
“To be honest, we don’t even know how we were caught but we’re assuming it’s because we stuffed up with tech,” Cath added.
The pair had initially popped off the Hunters’ radar but their hunger for fun got the best of them and they enlisted the help of their kids at home to begin posting taunts to social media of Cath and Kel dressed up like Where’s Wally.
“We just thought that was fun and we liked the idea of taunting and teasing because that’s a hoot but, clearly, it came back to bite us on the bum,” Cath said.
“We poked the bear too early and they went right, they’re going!” Kel added, “maybe it was a bit too soon.”
Though the pair clearly had a lot of laughs on the road, the experience of being fugitives — even for a few days — really opened their eyes to the reality of living life on the run.
“I remember laying in bed, Kel and I were just chatting, and thinking; imagine if this was something you had to do for the safety of your family,” Cath said. “You know, people who are victims of domestic violence… it’s tricky because you can be found and we were very aware of that as we were going through.”
“We became aware of how privileged we are,” Kel added, “if you had to spend your life looking for the next place you’re going to be putting your head down for the night, it becomes utterly exhausting. Always worrying about being caught, being found, it’s pretty scary stuff.”
And it wasn’t too soon until that reality came quite literally knocking on the door as the pair took refuge in a friend and colleague’s home.
“We had four sets of plans fall apart, everything was falling apart,” Cath said. “We got to George’s house and we were so happy to be somewhere safe that we relaxed! We were chilling out. Kel was washing dishes, I was sweeping, then all of a sudden the doorbell goes.
“It was so disappointing and scary and, the weirdest thing was we froze. We thought we would take flight — flight, fright or freeze — everyone thinks you’d run but we froze,” she continued.
“Because we hadn’t seen the Hunters at all, suddenly it was real,” Kel said. “We both teach kids about protective behaviours and being aware of your body signals [and] when Cath said we both froze, we talk about how we react in situations under pressure… It was such a fascinating insight for women of our age to be caught off-guard by our own bodies.”
“Lots of people will say,’ I wouldn’t have done that’ but until you’re in that situation you have no idea how you’re going to react,” Cath added.
“We were all talk beforehand,” Kel continued, “and then we’re in the moment and it’s so real, you’re betrayed by your body!”
With grand plans to use their network of friends to gain access to yachts, cars and holiday homes, the pair also said they had plenty of plans including an array of wigs, disguises and decoys.
“I’d love to go back and give it another go knowing what we know now,” Cath said. “I don’t think they’d let us back on, but I reckon we’d be great next time.”
“Maybe we’ll just keep running anyway, regardless of if the show has stopped or not,” Kel joked.
Cath agreed, “Let’s pretend we’re still on the run and never go home to do the housework!”