Viv's Story

Viv's a party girl turned marathon runner. Having taken part in her first marathon in 2006, Viv's on her way to completing her fourth - the Great Wall Marathon 2015.

Being a party girl it came to no surprise when I accepted a half marathon challenge under the influence – Kerikeri, 2006. With no fitness to speak off, a tad on the porky side and grand total mileage 3kms, this was going to be a mission. I did survive and achieve, just. Kerikeri half was going to be the turning point of my life…

After Kerikeri  I was hooked, nothing was stopping me and I wanted some friends on the ride. The Roturua marathon 2007 seemed like a good idea. So the walking training began (we couldn’t run yet). We would jump into the car after our walks to drive the route so see how many k’s we had done, no one had told us about mapmyrun app! With accommodation booked, the girls, wine, food and runners were packed into the car.

Jane and I hit the start line, we felt we were doing pretty good when we realised that we were racing the road workers opening the roads again, and then they pass us, we were on our own. It wasn’t long till we saw the finish line and friendly faces of the girls with huge water bottles filled with gin and tonic for us. We were definitely invincible now finishing our first marathon in 6 hrs 40 mins!

Roll on 2008 – Christchurch. A lesson learnt here, read the fine print and off we went again, only to realise at the halfway mark, no one in front or behind, did we miss a turn? was a fast marathon, only fast people enter! Once again family and friends came to the rescue and begged the finish line people to keep up the chute and timer for us. Time to learn to run.

I started by running the width (not the length) of Kensington park. At that stage I didn’t think it would ever happen, each day I would go out determined to add another 2 lengths. One day I managed 11. Motored home so proud of myself in knowing that I was ready to hit the road as a runner!

With a respectable amount of time to forget the pain of Christchurch , New York was hatched. So back on the phone to my exasperated friends, and our places were booked. But that was still 2 years away and I still had a lot of work to do, so off to the Gold Coast marathon we went, this one I remember fondly, I hooked up with a nice NZ chap at the start and ran with him, my first marathon running nonstop, I had gone from running the width of Kensington park to a full marathon, this was definitely a very high point.

The New York journey started out with Julz ,Angelina, Effie and I, sadly Jane had to pull out. Effie has a great story of this journey also, that maybe she will share…

We decided to do a stop over in San Francisco , it’s a definite recommend, what a fab city, we explored , checked out Alcatraz , climbed the steepest street, rode bikes like teenagers over the Golden Gate Bridge, and drank wine in the Napa valley.

Arriving in New York was pretty surreal, you sorta wanted to pinch yourself, I personally couldn’t get over all the yellow cabs! Just like the movies.

On the day it was everything and more, just getting to the start line was its own marathon, the officials were like army, very organised, so many people cultures and all different sizes and ages, the spectators just drew you in ( 2 million, how can they not) there was a constant stream of entertainment. Spectators were also offering food, so I was happily fuelled all the way, even a shot of iced coffee. There is so much I could share, but suggest you do it and have the experience we did, it is definitely on the top of my best list.

Later that night we went a bit silly in the heads, drank champagne, laughed and cried  it was just a  crazy excitement.

After New York I felt rather flat, what now….My sister suggested we push bike Tuscanny and the winery’s , not being a cyclist, I knew I could adapt ,more planning.

In the mean time, my dear friend and marathon rival Angelina had brought up the China Wall again, this time I said Yes, and once again my friends shot into hiding, they knew I was on another mission and I had them in my sights.

Italy done, dusted and home again I felt a bit unwell…Few tests later I was diagnosed with bowel cancer, waiting for results was very nerve wracking. End result, yes I will survive but had a year ahead of ops, chemo and radiation, plus a bag attached, welcome “Gucci”, I decided then that I wouldn’t let it take over my life and tried to continue normally as possible, there were days when I practically had to climb Parahaki on my hands and knees, fortunately I had some great mates… As from today, I have one more operation and then recovery time ahead.

It was a chance meeting between hubby and Mike and the Dream It team into our lives. So the girls and I all got together with Mike and he laid out his plan…

Are we excited! Finally got the “big” guys helping us, no more winging it and crawling over the finish line… Introducing Mike, he’s our go to guy, organiser, always there always available. Murray our trainer, not a one fits all either, all individually assessed. Ady, lovely smiley Ady, who sorts out our nutrition, the nots and cans. Ayless who will make sure the body keeps working, Harry, who sorts our running shoes….. and more, these guys are a great team and I have total faith they will send me on my hardest ever marathon fully prepared.

To be continued…..and I can’t wait to tell.

To all of you that think it’s not achievable to run a marathon, it is, I wouldn’t of believe it back into 2006 either. Running has made me mentally strong, happy and well tuned. You don’t have to be skinny or fit, you just have to start.

To my mates and hubby, don’t expect any quiet times from me, I’m already plotting 2016.

“Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, be Batman”.

An update on my story….home from the China Tour and ready to run another marathon, ( never have I said that before! )

Thank you Mike and the Dream it team , I still can’t believe I was street running 3 days later, the guidance/ training/ training camps, nutrition and info that was given was superb.

To my team mates and friends, I’m still smiling and so very proud to have run the Wall with you, and yes I’m plotting again.

The tour.. Crazy, fun, weird, & Wonderful, and our team leader Mike.

If you are thinking of giving it a go, grab some good mates, give the Dream it team a ring and go for Gold, it was way up there in the best ever!

Viv  Finish Line Photo