Mother preparing for marathon effort
Evelyn Lemalama never thought she’d run a marathon in her life.
Now she’s preparing to tackle one of the world’s most challenging ones.
The South Auckland resident is looking forward to crossing the finish line of The Great Wall Marathon in China in May.
Over the past two years Lemalama has turned her life around completely, and credits running for that.
‘‘Running is my Lemalama says.
‘‘I always put myself last, now I put myself first.’’
The mother-of-five committed to her fitness journey a year ago, connecting with South Auckland marathon runner Doug Healey, who she credits as an inspiration.
Lemalama had never been able to walk more than 2 kilometres before, now she’s run five half marathons.
Each marathon medal hangs on her living room wall.
She’s lost 15 kilograms so far, and plans to lose 15 more this year.
‘‘This journey has enabled me to start enjoying life. I used to be suicidal and wanted to give up and just looking at my kids was the only reason I hadn’t.
‘‘I used to look at runners and think they’re crazy, now I’m running 7 to 10 kms every night and therapy,’’ morning.’’
Running has helped her conquer her demons.
While she once turned to alcohol if she had a tough time, now she laces up and hits the pavement.
‘‘Counsellors and therapists haven’t been able to help me the way running has. This journey has given me a new lease on life.’’
Lemalama is part of a contingency of 93 New Zealand runners going to the Great Wall Marathon on May 20.
The marathon was established in 1999 and attracts about 2500 runners from around the world each year.
It includes 5134 stairs and Lemalama has to make the 36km mark within six hours.
She’s been training in the heat and saunas to prepare for the humid climate, but she says the mental training is a lot bigger than the physical one.
‘‘I just envision the finish line. Once I’ve crossed that line a whole lot of grief I’ve endured and trauma is going to disappear,’’ she says.
‘‘That’s something I’m excited for. I’ve endured a lot as a person and running has helped me become a better wife and mother.’’