I decided to learn to run, literally from scratch, 12 years ago when I was 38. Previously I had been doing ocean swimming, general gym type fitness and wanted a new challenge as I was in a rut.
So I started to run – well actually a shuffle for a few hundred meters and then walk a bit. Making slow but steady progress I thought that having a run goal would be just the motivation that I needed to keep focused. I thought of what the toughest running challenge there is – a marathon and where would be the most exciting city in the world to run a marathon – New York City.
My goal was then set in February 2002 to run the New York Marathon on 2nd November 2002 – that was 10 months to become a runner.
Just to add to this already overwhelming goal I decided to raise money for Breast Cancer Research.
I slogged it out alone for 10 months, increasing my kms each week and ability to keep going for hours on end.
It was a lonely but wonderful experience feeling the fresh air, thinking of nothing, no mobile phone, no distractions when out running – just complete peace and time for myself.
Finally after this hard training I was standing at the starting line on Statton Island in New York with 30,000 runners from all over the world, listening to a band play New York, New York. It was 6 degrees celcius, icy wind and I could not have felt more excited in my life.
The entire race route was lined with thousands of cheering, enthusiastic spectators and to cross the finish line in Central park was truly emotional – with tears of joy and every part of my body screaming I had just run 42.195kms for the very first time in 4 hours, 50 mins.
Not a great time for a seasoned runner but for me a fantastic achievement and who cares about the time – I am not a professional athlete and could not even run a step 10 months previously. I am just someone who set a goal and achieved it. I now knew that I could truly achieve anything that I set my mind to. The bonus was that I raised $97,000 for Breast Cancer Research.
Now that I had the running bug I wanted to do more marathons and half marathons. Since New York in 2002 I have run Melbourne in 2003, Sydney in 2005, San Francisco in 2007, Boston in 2009, London in April 2011 and Berlin in September 2011 and Chicago 2012, plus many half marathons and shorter races with Running Divas.
I am constantly dreaming and actively seeking to inspire and support women of all ages, body shapes and life experiences to achieve amazing things that they never thought possible through running.
My enthusiasm for running and knowledge about fitness and health has lead me on a wonderful journey that continues every day. I just can’t get enough information and opportunities to learn and experience as many areas of fitness and health as possible.
I have felt very anxious about my 50th Birthday approaching and thought that the best way to deal with this milestone was to hide and pretend that it was not happening.
Once 2014 started and while out running, I thought that maybe I could turn my 50th Birthday into a positive for both myself and other women.
Running a marathon changes lives for the better – once completed you absolutely know that you can do anything.
So the idea of running 12 Marathons in 12 Months was confirmed and the planning began.
12 Marathons in 12 Months are:
- 1st: 12th January – Cadbury Marathon, Tasmania, Australia
- 2nd: 23rd February – Tokyo Marathon, Toyko, Japan
- 3rd: 21st April – The Boston Marathon, USA
- 4th: 18th May – Great Ocean Road Marathon, Victoria Australia
- 5th: 15th June – Perth Marathon, West Australia
- 6th: 6th July – Gold Coast Marathon, Queensland Australia
- 7th: 20th July – Sri Chimnoy Princes Park Melbourne Australia
- 8th: 31st August – The Tan Plus Melbourne Australia
- 9th: 21st September – Sydney Marathon, NSW Australia
- 10th: 12th October – Melbourne Marathon Festival, Victoria Australia
- 11th: 2nd November – Auckland Marathon, New Zealand
- 12th – 30th November – The Shrine Marathon (specially designed & organized for this 12 Marathons goal) Melbourne Australia
If I can inspire, support and encourage other women to get out of their comfort zones and run in a half or full marathon, then this journey will have been worthwhile.