A Half Marathon back home in Oz...Sunday, October 13th, 2013.

Late 1970’s I was at Uni in Melbourne… running, young and fit! Inspired by the very first Melbourne Marathon held in 1978,

Big M Melbourne Marathon
Sunday 5th November 1978
Frankston, VIC

I trained for but, due to injury, failed to compete in this grueling event!


Whilst I was in Tanzania, I ran the Kilimanjaro Half Marathon!
(see also Blog: 2012, 28 October....Hongera!...)

I had joined in with the VSO team and left Dar es Salaam anticipating running the 6km Fun Run. By the time our bus had arrived in Moshi, 11 hours later, Margaret had convinced both Liesbeth and I to run the 21.1km Half Marathon with her! The difference was….. Margaret had been training and we hadn’t! I wasn’t entirely unfit as I had been swimming 1km after school each night for nearly 3 months but hadn’t pulled on my runners since I had arrived in Tz …16 months prior.

Mount Kilimanjaro herself.....!
 Margaret, Liesbeth and I after completing the Half!
Where it began and finished!

On Sunday 26th February 2012, having ascended 700mtrs over a wet, hilly course, I finished the 21.1kms in  2:40 hours, loving the fact that I had actually finished and not caring what my time was!!

This event ignited our enthusiasm and resulted in VSO entering a team in the Kigali Peace Marathon, to be run 4 months later.

My training program was indeed unique and I have reflected on these training sessions many times since! It was easier to run the rural tracks near SEGA than around Kihonda where I lived. Daily at 5pm after Clubs were over and the heat of the sun subsided, I would don my running gear and pound the dusty red soil. I would happily greet the locals who soon got used to seeing this ‘crazy mzungu woman ‘ running their tracks!

 Naturally, the girls wanted to know everything: what?/ why? /how? /where? I trained. Their enthusiasm inspired me to challenge them to join in….not dreaming that they would!!

At assembly I invited anyone who wanted to join me to be ready and meet me at 5:15pm the following evening…….. ALL 85 girls turned up!!!.....

And so the first of many training/running/power walking sessions began. In two lines and paired, we sang/laughed/puffed/panted/sprinted/shuffled ourselves off the campus and into the freedom of the country tracks! I ran from the front to the back of the long drawn out line of girls and at the half way mark we stopped to regroup and exercise. Many girls really wanted to improve their fitness; others simply wanted to be involved in the fun and venture out… (Especially when the local school boys were doing footy training and Madam Fran took the SEGA training session past them!!) From this initial enthusiasm we ran other fun fitness sessions but more importantly, it launched us into nurturing an active, regular sports program!

This event allowed me to fund raise for my beloved SEGA girls and some of the money I raised enabled the purchase of much needed sporting equipment. The girls had prayed for me before I left asking that I 'win the race'. Knowing that I would be lining up at the start with many Kenyans....renowned for their stamina and speed, I didn't have the heart to tell the girls I didn't have a hope of winning!!....
I considered myself a winner before I had even started the run because I had had the amazing support of so many of my friends and family in raising much needed money for the SEGA girls. I came in on a time of 2:20 which bettered my Kilimanjaro run by 10 minutes! I was later to learn that I was actually the first woman to come in for my age group!!! It seems that not many  women over 50years of age run distances in Africa!!!!


Over 30 years later, the Melbourne Marathon was still calling me! Having been back in Australia since March, it seemed appropriate that I do my third Half here in my own state of Victoria!

Sunday 13th October, 2013 finally arrived! This was the event I had been training for after having made my decision back in June to compete. Jo, my long time friend, took on the challenge with me…. Thanks Jo for sharing the SEGA journey and doing your bit towards fund raising too!

I don’t do winter and cold weather very well, having lived in the tropics for the past 6 years, so the prospect of me training outdoors in Ballarat (renowned for its ‘bitter’ winters….Australian ‘bitter’ … not Canadian/American ‘bitter’!!) was not appealing!

My local gym and I established a great relationship as I hid from the elements and slowly improved my fitness, and eventually ventured outdoors to train as the weather improved.

I was also able to incorporate some local fundraising events into my training. I trained consistently and enjoyed once again, using this event to fundraise for our beautiful, deserving SEGA girls! I trained consistently …always with my girls in the forefront of my mind. Working towards this goal has made my separation from them a bit easier to endure! I was so excited to be running on my own turf; to have reached my fund raising goal..... and ecstatic to realise that I had smashed my PB..... coming in under 2hours (1:56)!!!

everyone who has donated, supported and encouraged me in my fundraising journeys for SEGA. 
We are making a difference!


2013.......Back in Oz ... My SEGA journey continues..... Fundraising: Food Fun!!

How did that happen???
How can nearly 12 months have gone by without having made a blog entry when soooo much has happened and changed!
I will try over the next month to fill in the gaps but for now I want to share with you how I am managing to cope with being home in Australia and so far away from my beloved SEGA girls and life in Tz!

On returning to Australia in March this year I came to live with my darling Mum in Ballarat, Victoria which is the southern most state on the east side of mainland Oz and close to my family!
I became a Nurturing Minds Board Member.... It is such a privilege for me to have joined the people whom I respect so highly. Having worked closely with them during my time at SEGA I know how hard they work to raise money, create awareness and make productive decisions for now and the future of SEGA!!
Bringing SEGA to Oz has been exciting and challenging yet extremely rewarding. I have been able to stay connected with the girls and feel that my time spent 'on the ground' at SEGA is continuing here!

During this time of acclimatising back into my own culture (I don't think I have both my feet back here yet!) I have engaged in two fundraising events; established Aussie pen pals for many of the SEGA girls; printed the Australian versions of our Nurturing Minds brochures....Many, many thanks to Ian Clarke and his printing business:
for donating their expert service and time to Nurturing Minds to make this happen; spoken to numerous classes of Primary and Secondary students and to many, many interested people about my SEGA journey.... and continue to receive generous donations to help educate our girls!

Our First Food Extravaganza Fundraiser

Monday 2nd September, I traveled to Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar Secondary School in Melbourne, where Donna my good friend with whom I had taught for many years, was setting up for our Food Extravaganza Fundraiser. She had secured the School Home Economics room for the function and we worked furiously for 2 solid hours until suddenly it was 6.30pm when our guests arrived and filed into the dining room in excited anticipation of a great night.

Donna had been planning the food side of the night for weeks. Together with the amazing support of the Ivanhoe Info Tech Department who printed the flyer and recipe books; Ivanhoe Grammar management for supporting our event and an extensive repertoire of supportive colleagues and friends, Donna arrived at the set date armed with ingredients purchased with a keen eye to savings.
Donna was demonstrating the main courses and had enlisted two of her current colleagues and our friends, Rong and Liz, to demonstrate entrĂ©e and dessert! 

                             My role was that of sous chef and chief dish washer!!!!..... …..and informant: Intermittently throughout the night, I shared the SEGA story and answered many questions from our very eager and interested guests!
….and so the night unfolded…

With lots of preparation; planning; laughter; team work; cooking…cooking….fixing behind the scenes challenges; creating the atmosphere; demonstrating and distributing each course to the 30 guests; sharing with the very receptive crowd who were acquiring new culinary skills, sipping on quality wine and learning about our beautiful SEGA girls……..

We all had so much fun whilst raising a very impressive $2,000.00 for SEGA!
ASANTE SANA.... THANKS HEAPS.... everyone involved for your generosity... 
you are THE BEST!
We were very happy with the outcome of our inaugural culinary event…. We have already started planning and refining how we can make next year’s event even better and more lucrative!