Sisters with spirit
Zoe and Stephanie Melanko took on a challenge to run five races in six weeks, travelling around Western Australia for the City to Surf series.
A love for living well and being active is something sisters Zoe, 26, and Stephanie, 23, certainly have in common. Both are physiotherapists, both are pilates instructors, and both are keen netballers – and this year, they both took on the challenge to run in all the Chevron City to Surf for Activ WA events.
Medibank was proud to support these two inspiring women each step along the way of their journey. We caught up with them just before they headed to the starting line for the half-marathon in Perth…
Why did you decide to take on the City to Surf challenge?
We have always enjoyed keeping active and pushing ourselves to take on new challenges. The saying “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” reflects our decision to take on the Chevron City to Surf for Activ WA Series. Five races in six weeks, each at a unique location, presented as the perfect opportunity for a sisterly adventure. Setting a goal to complete 12 km regional runs and a half-marathon in Perth ensured that Stephanie and I would be consistently training all year to reach the fitness required to meet the challenge.
We have met many inspirational people in our travels throughout the WA Series, each pushing to reach their own unique goals. The City to Surf is known as Perth’s biggest and most loved event and so we wanted to join in on the fun plus raise money for a charity we are passionate about.
What has the training journey been like?
Really good, thank you! For the most part our training has been consistent. Having a training schedule or committing to do some form of exercise on certain days of the week helped us to form good exercise habits. Having a goal to work towards also acted as motivation to keep training to make it through the WA Series.
We mix up running training with other cardio exercise such as cycling and swimming, and also include yoga and pilates for strength, balance and relaxation. The Medibank training sessions have provided us with some race day specific tips to help us cross the line. Cross training not only helps with overall fitness for race day but also is a way of reducing the potential for overuse injuries
We motivate each other to run and we also have friends, family and work colleagues who we train with.
Do you have any specific goals in mind?
Our number one goal is to have fun out there!
Zoe only started running in the last couple of years firstly with a very slow jog, gradually increasing the distances. I’m no race leader; I just keep pushing myself with the goal of finishing. Steph, who has participated in this event for the past two years, will be hoping for perhaps a sub-two hour time.
What is it you love about running and being active?
Being fit and active has always been important to us. Exercise is vital to keeping our mind and body happy and healthy.It leaves you feeling refreshed, energised and ready to take on the world! Group exercise can also be enjoyed socially.
Running specifically is a great sport because you can measure your progress in terms of distance and speed with relative ease, and you get a great sense of satisfaction when you achieve new milestones. Running is an easy and accessible form of exercise with no equipment needed, it’s free and not too technical. As well as being a really good form of cardiovascular exercise, we both find running to be a form of mental relaxation and meditation. After a busy day at work it can be just the thing you need to unwind.
As sisters, you're clearly close and seem to have a lot in common. How would you describe your relationship?
Stephanie and I are very lucky to have a close friendship as sisters. We hang out socially with the same friends, train together and we are both physiotherapists. It has been an amazing experience to complete the WA Series City to Surf together.
When it comes to health and wellbeing, how do you inspire and motivate one another?
Stephanie started running first, and certainly has a talent for it. She encouraged Zoe to start running and has motivated her to continue with it.
Zoe makes up for any difference in speed with competitive drive and determination, and is always setting new challenges for us to take on.
We certainly do motivate each other to get outdoors and exercise and we are always grateful once we have started training.