From a young age I remember being glued to the TV every year on the day of the Comrades ultramarathon in South Africa. It left me feeling super motivated and hoping that one day even I could be part of something really spectacular. Life happens, and as an adult I soon found myself directing all my efforts towards establishing a career as a business analyst in the highly competitive corporate world where being blind I often found myself having to work harder than my colleagues to achieve equal success. By pure chance I took up running ten years ago as a "necessary evil" when I got the opportunity to do Ironman South Africa in 2008. It was tough in the beginning, but steady improvement and better overall health kept me motivated. While I was training for my fourth Ironman I was approached to run Comrades marathon with a sighted guide in 2010. I could hardly believe how lucky I was to have a childhood dream come true. We ran it, loved it and raised some much needed funds for the Fred Hollows Foundation in the process.
Fast forward 5 years to 2015 when I settled in Melbourne. I started out here with much enthusiasm for the place and the people, but over time I increasingly felt the weight of failure taking hold. I wasn't exercising and I became quite good at filing regret letters on job applications. Then Achilles Melbourne was established here in Melbourne early last year. I joined and started running again, and all the memories of happier times came flooding back. As my fitness increased, so did my confidence, and also a the re-awakening of a long forgotten dream to just maybe one day running the New York Marathon. It might have taken me 18 months to find employment again, but I truly believe it was physical activity that helped me get there.
A major consideration when thinking about events such as the NY Marathon is how to find sighted guides as I'm totally blind and cannot run it by myself. By sheer coincidence, one of our Achilles guides was going to be in New York in November anyway, and after she agreed to guide I knew I had to at least try to make it happen. The financial aspect is scary, but with your support we can. It's not about the amount you give, because every dollar counts. I've given small amounts to various causes and it always makes me feel like I'm making a difference. We'd highly appreciate your support in any amount you can contribute. Please also don't underestimate the power of those personal messages with your contribution. We'll be thinking of them when we run up them Five Boroughs!