“From depressed, down and almost out, to conquering mountains and so much more. Here’s how it all went down. Grab a cuppa, put your feet up and have a read of my story.
“Why don’t you run a marathon?” she said… What a ridiculous idea I thought, I don’t run, and it’s winter… I mean I’d need to hire a treadmill, because surely I couldn’t run outside in the cold and rain?!
I was in bed at the time of this conversation, it was mid-morning sometime, I had recently quit smoking for the third time, was dealing with an abusive partner, and life was pretty shit.
I had few friends, no job, and nothing to motivate me to get me out of bed.
But the idea, like a seed planted in my head, began to grow. Maybe I should take up running and try and run a marathon, what have I got to lose?
That was 2007 and after three months training I completed the Auckland Half Marathon.
I was quickly hooked and went on to complete a number of full marathons, half marathons and 10 km races. I had found something that motivated me, gave me confidence, joy and hope in what were some of the darkest times of my life.
Right from the beginning though, I was interested to see how far I could push myself. I read books by Dean Karnazes and Lisa Tamiti and felt a strong desire to test my own boundaries and limits. I was never overly driven to see how fast I could get or to take a place on a podium – though placing well was always a bonus, no, I was more interested to see just how far I could go.
That desire to run far, that seed planted over 15 years ago, while for some years didn’t see the light, it was always there, and given the right conditions, it began to grow and bloom.
When I found trail running, I felt like I had finally found my place, my people, and my races. The absolute joy of running trails, the beauty and the peace were something I didn’t even know existed. Further, here was a place where running long seemed commonplace.
From 30km to Ultra Marathons
I worked through the distances quickly and within a year had gone from my first trail race of 30km to my first ultra of 80km…It went something like, if I can do 30km, then surely I can do 42km, then 60km…then 80km. All the while transforming not only my body but my mind.
Then 2019 happened. I had said over 10 years ago that I wanted to run 100 miles, and now I felt like I was ready to take on that challenge. I picked a race in May, because I always liked the idea of a birthday run, and what a birthday run this would be… 160km in the forest in Hanmer, New Zealand. I toed that line with butterflies in my stomach and excitement that this was the start of something for me, a new chapter…little did I know just how much this race would change my life!