My name is Dianne McGrath and I am the typical 40+ year old office worker living in Melbourne, Australia.
I grew up in numerous states and territories in Australia and was always into team sports. I competed in both soccer and cricket for over 20 years, playing at elite levels, including at state level for indoor cricket. I always loved high impact physical sports such as AFL and soccer. When I hit my late 30’s/early 40’s the body just wasn’t recovering from the hits as much. Broken ribs, a dislocated ankle and a bad back all in what became my last season of soccer was my body’s message to drop the hard stuff. On went a few kilos.
I felt that there were few options for me except the gym and running. Signed up to the gym – tick. Running was different. Running had always been a means to an end as part of a game of soccer, or to grab a quick single between wickets in cricket. The idea of going out there and running for no reason except….to run… just seemed so foreign. Running down the end of the street puffed me out. A short 4km fun run (the Mothers’ Day Classic) seemed the best way to try this thing called running and give me an achievable distance goal to aim for. Amazingly I did not die, and I managed to finish the run! Yep, you guessed it – I became H.O.O.K.E.D. on fun runs!
I still saw running as a means to an end though – it was the way I could get a better time for the next 4km, 8km, 10km fun run. It was not until I was targeting my first half marathon that I started to enjoy running more just for the sake of running. I found a couple of picturesque routes to take that made the distance fly and I found that I loved being out there by myself (or with a running partner) for as long as possible.
I have now run too many fun runs to keep tabs on, as well as two Melbourne marathons. My first marathon was an accident. I agreed to help a friend train for her first marathon – the long slow distances are far easier with a like minded soul running next to you! A handful of weeks before she was to run the marathon, I realised that, naturally, I was also now marathon ready, so why the heck not! On the day I did not care too much about my time. My goals were: 1) finish!, 2) run all the way, no walking, and then worry about 3) try to finish in less than 5 hours. I finished in a respectable first-timer’s pace of 4:39. I knocked this time down by over 16 minutes in my next marathon. Loved every second, and know I have faster times in me!
Running has now become my time of mental solace. I still run with others at times, but the peace and personal time that it gives to me is irreplaceable, so I prefer to tread the footpaths alone.
I run because I am.