Rewind back to my late thirties. There I was, the unhealthiest I’d ever been and at a real crossroads in my life. From personal experience, I’d seen how the way we treat our bodies, dictates our quality of life later on. The writing was definitely on the wall and I needed a new fitness challenge. So, although I didn’t really have an athletic bone in my body, I decided to run.
When I say I decided to run, I really mean shuffling. For a few hundred metres at first before my legs would tire out and I’d have to walk for a bit. While I was definitely making slow but steady progress, I knew that having a run goal to focus on would be just the motivation I needed to see my new commitment through. That got me thinking and asking a couple of questions…
What is the toughest running challenge out there? A marathon.
Where is the most exciting city in the world to run a marathon? New York City.
In other words, I had 10 months to become a runner. Just to add another motivation, I also decided to raise money for Breast Cancer Research. With my goal in mind, I slogged it out training alone, gradually increasing my kilometres each week and my ability to run for longer periods.
Back in 2002, there wasn’t much information out there, especially tailored to women’s running and female runners. I hit the internet and absorbed as much information as I could about how to run your first marathon—I was a bit like a sponge.
Fast forward to the starting line and there I was. Staten Island, New York. A chilly 6 degrees celsius. I stood alongside 30,000 runners from around the world as a band played New York, New York. Honestly, I remember it all like it was only yesterday. I remember taking one last look at the enthusiastic spectators who were cheering as I crossed the finish line in Central Park. With tears of joy streaming down my face and every part of my body screaming, I’d just run over 42km for the very first time. And raised almost $100k for Breast Cancer Research.
And as they say, the rest is history. From there, I had the running bug and set out to complete more marathons and half-marathons. Since hitting that starting line on Staten Island, I’ve run 21 marathons including all 6 major world marathons. If you told me this was possible back then, I would have laughed.
Since starting my running journey, I’ve never been able to get enough and I was always taken aback by the connections my love of running has helped to build. I wanted other women to enjoy all of the wonderful experiences I had because of running and in 2007, while at the San Francisco marathon expo, Running Divas was born.
Honestly, the friendship, camaraderie, support, advice and encouragement I receive from our online community from women around the globe, is the best part of my life. All women deserve the opportunity to share in the love of running. I’ve seen firsthand how women of all ages, body shapes and life experiences can achieve amazing things they never thought possible.
At Running Divas, we’re helping to transform lives one run at a time and we’re incredibly excited about what’s ahead in 2017. We’ve launched our online memberships for the first time ever and I’m preparing for a whirlwind tour around Australia to host running workshops and help more women to achieve their running goals so they know they can truly achieve anything.