‘Chasing Dreams: A Recap of My Journey to the New York Marathon’, Ros Read.

As a beginner runner, I never thought I’d be able to tackle a marathon. But with the help of Anna Liptak’s 12 Month Online I’m Not A Runner Program, I was able to not only stay motivated and on track, but also achieve my dream of completing the New York Marathon.

The structured training plan and supportive community made all the difference. Keep reading to hear about my journey, from the first steps of my training to the exciting experience of crossing the finish line 11 months later…

Pinch me, I am actually here at the start line of the New York Marathon.

The last few weeks seemed to take an eternity to pass by. I was so pumped & excited to be here chasing down my big goal. I wasn’t nervous in the lead up, I was just focussed on what I had set out to achieve.

There was a group of us – Brooke, Alison, Kerry, Catherine, Nat & Cathy on Staten Island together. I was thinking about how much we had bonded on this journey together and it made me smile walking to the start line with them.

The start area was electric, hearing the National Anthem (this always gives me goosebumps) and “New York, New York” being played, along with the cannon ball being fired was unreal. We were off and I remember when we got to the bottom of the Verrazano Bridge and we heard the roar of the crowd, Brooke & I looked at each other and it was like “wow, we are really here doing this!”

The first few km’s went really quickly and I was conscious of not going out too fast – as everyone had said not to! Michael, Andrew & Shaun were at the 10km mark, we weren’t expecting to see them there, so that was really cool.

The crowds were just magnificent, they made it so much easier to just keep going. I got to the 20km mark and I was feeling good. I knew we were going to see the supporters at the 26km mark and I was looking forward to that. I remember hearing N’Tonya call out to me, so I ran over to her and gave her hug and said “How good is this!” I then saw Michael and he was like “How are you? Are you going ok?” I said I’m feeling great and he said “Well keep going, don’t stand here talking to us!”

At around the 28km mark my watch went totally flat, so I told myself – just run on effort, it wasn’t a bad thing. There were so many people stopping, or collapsing on the side of the road it was hard to see that. I came up along side a girl that started crying and I just said to her, “you have to keep going”. She was sobbing and said I can’t do this, it’s too hard. I said to her “you’re stronger than you think, you can do this”. I hoped she made it to the end.

The 30km mark came around and I was still feeling good, just running a consistent pace (I was hoping!) & soaking it all in. I knew at this point that I was going to make it and I smiled.

I got to the 35km mark and this is where the effort became harder. Coming onto First Ave with the gradual incline made it harder too. This is where I began to think about my journey and what it had taken to get here. I thought about my injuries & my perseverance to get on with it and not worry about what I couldn’t do – I think mentally these injuries were a blessing in disguise. I thought about my family and how much they mean to me, they are my why & absolute world. I thought to myself, I hope they are proud of me after this! I thought of Karen – as she had been such a big part of my journey to get here, and I smiled because I knew she would be experiencing all this too.

Before I knew it I was at the 40km mark. The crowd was packed, and everyone was screaming & yelling, it was awesome. I saw Michael and the guys again around here, I didn’t stop this time but I just yelled out an obscenity to them! Seeing them inspired me to dig deep for the last 2km’s, it seemed to take forever and I thought to myself “it’s my time, nothing can stop me now!” When I finally entered Central Park again I knew I was home and I couldn’t stop smiling, I could see the finish line and I ran across with a double fist pump – I had done it!!!

I had set out with a big goal at the start of the year and now I was a marathoner – after 43 weeks of training. I had achieved all my goals that I set myself throughout the year, it was a surreal feeling being in that finish line area. I found Brooke and it was great being able to walk out of Central Park together.

It has been an awesome, amazing journey which I feel so fortunate about and have just loved everything about it. All the runs, training sessions, recoveries, running events and most of all – the absolute best part was feeling part of a team again. This was huge & extremely important to me right from the very beginning.

What a year it was, I am beyond proud. I know there will be more ahead for me, but this is one of the best (if not THE best) things I have ever done. I will be forever grateful.

So to anyone new to the group or anyone contemplating their first marathon, I hope this shows you it CAN be done.

What I have learnt is this – if you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don’t you’ll find an excuse.

Remember never wait, just go get it!