Run­ning for their lives

Sunday Mail - - NEWS - RE­BECCA DIGIROLAMO

A WID­OWED father of two hon­our­ing his wife, can­cer sur­vivors, a 72-year-old for­mer MP, sin­gle par­ents, grand­mas and grand­pas are among a re­mark­able and record-break­ing num­ber of South Aus­tralians run­ning their first marathon in New York tomorrow.

“A marathon was never ever on my mind,” says Liz Keogh, All Saints Catholic Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal. The breast can­cer sur­vivor says she was mo­ti­vated to join the NY marathon team be­cause of “FOMO” (fear of miss­ing out). “If I fin­ish it in un­der six hours I will be lucky, but I feel healthy and well,” Ms Keogh says.

She is among 50 SA run­ners aged from 22 to 73 run­ning and walk­ing the marathon, which has 15,500 en­trants, from 1.30am tomorrow (SA time).

They’ve col­lec­tively run thou­sands of kilo­me­tres, over­pretty come ill­ness and lack of faith in their bod­ies, and shed more than 300kg over the past 18 months, says trainer Anna Lip­tak. “Ninety per cent of the group haven’t run a marathon be­fore,” she says.

Her mum – Mar­garet Lip­tak – the old­est of the group at 73, is among the first-timers. She’s joined to make it across the fin­ish line with Anna and says the ex­pe­ri­ence has made her trust her body af­ter a 2014 breast can­cer di­ag­no­sis.

“The can­cer has made me de­ter­mined to en­joy life while I can,” she says.

Wait­ing at the fin­ish line for their dad, David Briggs, will be 11-year-old Lach­lan and sev­enyear-old Caitlin from Shei­dow Park. David made a pledge to his dy­ing wife Kerry to keep fit and one day take their chil­dren to New York. Kerry lost her bat­tle with breast can­cer in 2016. “I can’t go any­where – my kids need me.,” says David who has raised more than $76,000, with the help of his NY run­ning team, for a can­cer and well­ness cen­tre at the Flin­ders Med­i­cal Cen­tre.

For­mer MP Barry Wake­lin will also be run­ning his first. The grand­fa­ther of eight, 72, has lost 20kg , “shuf­fling” along the dirt tracks of Kimba.

“It’s given me ... the un­der­stand­ing that you can im­prove your­self wher­ever you are on the spec­trum of life.”

The group will fea­ture in a doc­u­men­tary I’m Not A Run­ner. which aims to de­bunk the myth marathons are only for elite ath­letes.

BEST FOOT FOR­WARD: South Aus­tralian run­ners show their ex­cite­ment at Glenelg, above, be­fore they left for the New York Marathon – top row: Dave Green, Yvonne Evans, Jodie Hamil­ton, Shaw Callen, Chantel Pea­cock, Camp­bell Dandy, Kylie Grigg, David Bed­son and Heather Bed­son. Bot­tom row: Leanne Parkes, Tonya Surynt, Lee Jones, Anna Lip­tak, Marika Ya­coub, Liz Keogh, Barry Wake­lin, Mar­garet Lip­tak, Yvonne Evans, Amelia Bolt, David Briggs, Naomi Szetu-Tay­lor, Chris­tine Wake­lin and Chris­tine Tin­ney. Far left: Can­cer sur­vivors Mar­garet Lip­tak and Liz Keogh. Left: David Briggs – with chil­dren Caitlin and Lach­lan – hold­ing a pic­ture of his late wife, Kerry.

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