Mother pre­par­ing for marathon ef­fort

Papakura Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - EMILY FORD

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.’’

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