Its never too late and you're never too old to start a new fitness challenge.

Just look at the amazing Pauline Wrigley who plunged into her first marathon at 51!

Marathon running has taught Pauline that she is strong and she is capable of backing herself despite fears she may fail.

Read on to find out how Pauline got into Marathon running and the benefits she's gained from it.

1. How did you get into marathon running?

A few years ago when a friend asked me to run NYC marathon with her, I laughed. I couldn’t run 1km. Two days later I couldn’t think of a single reason why I shouldn’t or couldn’t, so signed up. I was 51 when I did my first training run, felt OK as it was a gradual build up.  THe first run/walk was 5k.

2. Had fitness always been part of your life?

Not really,  I ran my own business for years plus bringing up 3 boys on my own until Colin and I met and married. My excuse was too busy. However, in more recent years I started going out for runs but always lost motivation and it didn't last long. I wanted to get fit though for a bit of work-life balance once the kids became more independent, but I tried various things and never really stuck at it

3. How many children do you have and were they encouraging of your crazy marathon plans.

3 sons, and a step son; aged 22 -32, plus 2 daughters-in-law and 1 wee granddaughter of 18 months.   They have been brilliant in their support, although not sure some of them thought I would actually do it!


4. How did you feel competing in your first marathon ...and then two!

When I finally got to NYC in Nov 2014, I have to say it was the most incredible experience of my life and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The experience blew me away. Running over the Queensborough Bridge at the 32km mark with a stream of runners both in front and behind me as far as the eye could see, I could see the Manhattan skyline on a clear cold day with the Statue of Liberty in the distance. It brought tears to my eyes.

It was one of those magic moments for me. And I finished on a high. I nailed it, 42.2km around NY and what seemed like the whole of NYC there supporting every single one of the 50,000+ participants. Even me.

Six months later I have just returned from completing the Paris marathon which many say is the most beautiful marathon in the world. I am hooked. What about London, or the Great Wall, or Berlin…..

5. We imagine marathon running to be quite a spiritual activity in that you’re left with your own thoughts.  Did you find that when you got seriously into training. 

Yes, to pass the time I would start thinking through issues and solving problems, thinking about my life and what I wanted to do differently, and generally just worked at my mental attitude to get through the pain barrier, and believe in myself more.

6. What have you learned about yourself through marathon running.

Heaps! I've learnt that I can do it and do it well, that I had to start backing myself better than I had many times in the past,  Ive learnt that there is so much more to it than just running - IVe had to build core strength, better balance,  Ive had to change the way I run and move.

I've learnt about good diet and race nutrition (pre, during and after).  I've learnt how to prevent injury and manage minor injuries.  I've learnt not to despair when I have to take some time out due to illness or injury, that I can get the fitness level back quite quickly.

7.  Do you do any other fitness activity? 

I sometimes do rev classes at the gym, I have a weekly personal training session at the gym for strength work, I got to pilates 1:1 as well.

This has made the difference between being able to continue with my training and success with the marathons, and not have to give up due to injury - injury due to poor posture and balance and all sorts of dysfunctional movement patterns. 

In all honesty, that is the singlemost thing that has been most instrumental to me achieving the marathons - and not only that, to achieve them without pain and good recovery by the next day.  I wouldn't have believed it possible a few years ago when my body started to protest bigtime with all the training I was doing.

Apart from that, I enjoy walking - bush walks, anything that gets me outdoors breathing fresh air.

8.  When’s the next one? 

London in April 2016,  also Queenstown half in November this year.  Maybe another half as well, not sure


9. Is competing in other countries an incentive for you?

International marathons are a huge incentive to get out and pound the pavements, when you know you are going to travel to one of the world’s great iconic cities to achieve this amazing goal.

Many of them are very hard to get into, so secure your entry and complete travel package with Marathon World Travel, (www.marathons.co.nz). Judy will take the hassle out of it for you and you will enjoy the camaraderie of other Kiwi participants as well.

So go for it, you won’t reget it.


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