Stephen J - Auckland Marathon 2012

On Nov 1st 2010 I was having birthday drinks with a bunch of friends and it turned out that about half of them had done the Auckland Marathon or Half Marathon the day before. I had never enjoyed running but looking around at this collection of people I decided that if they could then I could!  I went home, found a half marathon to do in March 2011 (Coatesville) and started telling people that I was doing it.  I followed the training programme from the Auckland Marathon website and ended up doing a 1:53 half marathon.

I then signed up to do the Rotorua Half with my bro-in-law who unfortunately had to pull out due to injury. I didn't enjoy this weekend - I travelled to Rotorua on my own, stayed in a terrible hotel, found the run to be quite dis-organised, hung around for prize-giving then drove back to Auckland feeling a bit pissed off that it had not been the fun weekend I had planned.

A good friend of mine mentioned that there would have been a group from GetRunning in Rotorua and I should have teamed up with them. I contacted GetRunning and found out they had a new 12 week block starting that week. I signed up wondering what the hell I was getting in to! I can honestly say that signing up that week has changed my life. I found out that I love running with a group. I've met a fantastic, motivated bunch of people and picked up many running tips and skills along the way. I've run 11 half marathons and 2 full marathons in the past 18 months and have got my times down to 1:40 for the half and 3:41 for the full.

I have also lost 18kg in the process which just happened along the way (cut back a little on beer and chocolate bars of course).  I love the variety of the training and have discovered many pockets of Auckland that I never knew existed. The best part of it all has been the many new friends I have met along the way - all ages, all backgrounds but all with a common goal - to get out there and run and have a lot of fun doing it!

Thanks Gaz and team.  It has been an incredible journey with GetRunning. Bring on 2013!

Stephen J.