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!


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