Friends that are like family, my own mental health battle, oh, and cider..

Why do I run? So many answers.

·         Because I can. It sounds simple, but given that I only discovered it 3 years ago, it still surprises me. I’ve been a ‘swimmer not a runner’ for many years, and eventually learned that running could be fun at about age 49. (I still love swimming and will be doing the Wreck to Reef the day after the run.)

·         Because it challenges me every step of the way. I don’t find it easy but have managed to go from telegraph pole to telegraph pole, then 10k then half marathon, all the way through to full marathon and a 100k ultra. Lots of walking but a massive achievement for me nonetheless.

·         Because I’ve been to places and seen things I never would have otherwise.

·         Because I can inspire others and show that the unlikely is still possible.

·         Because I have made so many friends through trail running. They have become family and have made my life so much richer.

·         Because being out running the local trails every Thursday evening at 8pm with my running friends is slightly crazy especially in the dark and rain in the middle of winter. But it makes me feel really alive.

·         Because there is nothing like the feeling of peace when running slightly downhill on single trail in the bush!

Why am I running the Bellarine Sunset Run?

Because of its support for mental health. Because mental health is so important and mental illness still has a stigma attached to it. I have been fighting my own battle against anxiety and depression for a while now and Dion’s courage in speaking out about it has led to him becoming a friend and me becoming slightly more comfortable in being able speak out too (although this is the first time I have done so publicly). Chatting with my friends in trail running there are certainly more affected than the 1 in 5 number often quoted.

And because I love cider, Flying Brick cider is damn good and I have adopted the running name Flying Brick, from the yellow tailed black cockatoo who defies the odds and can actually fly.

Oh, and the medal is really cool!!

by Joanna Maidment

2016 and 2017 21km Flying Brick Bellarine Sunset Run entrant