Niva Retimanu - New York to Marlborough Marathon 2012

I am now a marathoner .

Hard to believe as I have led a mostly unfit and unhealthy lifestyle.

Just two years ago I ditched the cigarettes, alcohol and fast food.

The word ‘exercise’ was never in my vocabulary.  The thought of running  let alone walking outside my front door made me feel nauseous.

But as a Pacific Island role model I knew I had to make a positive change concerning my health.  I did not want to become a statistic.

My goal became to run the New York Marathon 2012 after being inspired by Kerre Woodham’s book, Short Fat Chick to Marathon.

I joined Get Running in May this year...and so my journey began.

During a seven month period I had access to coaches, programmes, personal training and group run sessions.

There’s a great team spirit and camaradie at Get Running.

And although I was always running at the back of the pack the team never stopped encouraging me.

Despite the New York marathon being cancelled I knew I had to run my first marathon before the end of the year.

So I headed down to Blenheim to run the Marlborough Marathon in December.

One of my biggest challenges was running in the heat.  Nearly 30 degrees and no shade.  At times I wanted to give up and cry.

At the 37 kilometre mark, the ambulance officers drove out to check on me.  I had been running for six hours and I was still running.

The three D’s got me through the tough times – my Drive, Determination and Dedication. I knew I was not going to break any records but I just wanted to finish.

My coach, Kiri Price, ran the whole way with me along with support from the Get Running crew.

I cried with emotion when I reached the 41 kilometre stage. My dream of running a marathon was turning into a reality.

As I ran to the finish line with Kiri,  15-hundred people gave me a standing ovation.  I was overwhelmed and cried with sheer happiness.

I was the last runner to come in  – 6  hours  43  minutes.

It was one of the best days of my life.

I am elated and still on a high, I have changed my life for good and there is no looking back.

Now I am looking at a goal for 2013 and that includes another marathon for this Samoan runner.

Niva Retimanu