Runner tackles pain for marathon gain
Wanaka mother-of-two Pia Condren took her time to take up running but has found her paradise and a way to keep pain at bay.
In November, she will take her passion further and run her first marathon, the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon.
Condren settled in Wanaka three years ago via Australia, Indonesia and Columbia and has been indulging in her passion for running, cultivated when she lived in Papua New Guinea.
‘‘I had a car accident when I was 24 and did some damage inside my pelvis. I started running when I was 39 and running has pretty much saved me. I have to keep it up to keep the pain away.
‘‘A lot of people think that running would exacerbate any problems like that but it seems to have really helped me,’’ Condren said.
Last year, she ran the Queenstown 21km half and enjoyed it so much she decided to do the marathon, which she hopes to ‘‘plod through’’ in under five hours.
Condren finds running not only helps with the physical effects of her accident but also helps her cope mentally with everyday challenges.
‘‘Mentally being able to allevi- ate the pain is a big deal for me. It is very stressful to live with pain. I also went through a marriage breakup and running helped a lot with that, just to get out on my own,’’ she said.
Condren and her friends now share a plan to run on every continent.
‘‘As an expat wife [in Indonesia], there wasn’t all that much to do and a group of us got into running, going to events together. The first event saw eight of us travel to Perth for the City to Surf half marathon, and others in the same group did the Athens and Melbourne events together.
‘‘If I can do it anyone can. I am in no way crippled by the pain that is a part of my life . . .I might be as slow as a wet week but I love the personal challenges . . . seeing the sheer guts of other participants.’’
Condren hopes her daughters Mikaela, 17, and Tia, 7, will be able to see her conquer the marathon, after they missed her finish the half last year.
The Queenstown International Marathon is on November 18, 2017. The event also includes shorter distances and kids races. More info: queenstown-marathon.co.nz
Pia Condren at the start of the 2016 Queenstown half marathon.