Running for their lives
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.