My first running event was on September 13th, 2015. It was in my hometown of Geelong and was a charity run to raise awareness for alzheimers. I was drawn to the event because it was something new that I'd wanted to try and because it was for charity. My mum does age care and works with people with alzheimers so this charity was close to home. That race I didn't get a medal, but felt so good about myself and was soon searching for the next run.
The first run where I received a medal was a 3km family walk. It may not seem like much, but walking a lap of the MCG at the end felt so empowering and relieving. I felt supported by people who I'd never met before. When I was given my first medal after I crossed the finish line, I felt so proud of myself. I felt like I could do anything and that my hard work could and would pay off.
That's when I really took off. I started doing virtual races with my dogs at home and earning medals. I've met some great friends on the race course that I've teamed up with to do future courses with. I've found that people on the race course are very supportive of each other and are always looking for ways to help other people. After running a few courses, I've even started doing obstacle races, stair climbing events and a kids triathlon. They are a lot more challenging and demanding than running and require a lot more teamwork, but they're still a lot of fun and are a great way to build friendships.
What I've learnt along the way is we all have our different journeys to go on. We all come from different backgrounds but if we try hard enough and believe in ourselves, we can achieve great things and even encourage others to follow in our footsteps. Running has made me believe in myself more and now I really appreciate the sport of running and hope to keep improving and challenging myself as I get older. The longest run I've ever done is 11km, but I'd like to do a half marathon and even a marathon one day. I guess that's one of the beauties of running, there's always a goal to aim towards.
Chase Bautista, Geelong, Victoria
2017 Flying Brick Bellarine Sunset Run 4km Walk for head space