United by a love of running

The social side of exercise groups has lasting benefits.

Chatting to Melbourne runner Judy Wines and her fellow runner and friend Jane, it’s clear that running means so much more to them than just a way of keeping fit. As members of an active running group, both Judy and Jane commit to training three times a week and enter all the big fun runs together, along with some interstate and overseas events.

“We train every Saturday and Sunday, we meet religiously. Unless you’re ill or away, you just go along. On Saturdays we usually do two laps of the Albert Park Lake and on Sundays we work on whatever event we’re training for, which is generally the marathon,” shares Judy.

“At our training runs we’re always there for each other,” Jane adds. “Even if we don’t finish our training run together, we’ll have our cup of coffee and breakfast later so we can go over the training regime and how we feel about it.”

Celebrating her 76th birthday in January, Judy’s dedication to running is inspiring. With 40 marathons behind her, 24 of which were run in the Melbourne Marathon event, running has enriched Judy’s life and brought her good health, great friends, group holidays and so many special achievements. Aside from the obvious health benefits that running has afforded her, it’s the special people she now calls friends that have made running such a lasting part of her life.

“I’ve met some very close friends from our running group,” she says. “We’ve celebrated a lot of special birthdays together – 50, 60, 70. I just love the atmosphere.”

Running became a part of Judy’s life in 1979, when she entered a women’s fun run around Melbourne’s Tan track. “Women didn’t run much in those days and I thought, I can do this. So I had a practice run around the streets, not having run much since school, and I ran the Tan,” she remembers. “After the event some ladies asked if I would like to join their club, so I did. I went from doing nearly 4kms to starting to run marathons.”

Her first Melbourne Marathon was back when the event started in Frankston, and Judy ran it in 4 hours and 30 minutes. One year later she was back, taking an hour off that time and winning the event in her 40 – 45 age group.

Judy continues to be inspired by the running club’s long-time coach, Kevin, who at age 76 has run 70 marathons and plays a supportive role in the group.

“He comes along each week and tells us what we’re going to do and predicts the time we’re going to run. When we do the marathon he follows us in the car and brings water and sweets. He’s one of the inspirations looking after us all,” Judy says.

Jane, who ran her 106th marathon at the recent Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival, has always looked up to Judy and Kevin and been inspired by their running achievements.

“I’ve got a fabulous finishing photo from my very first marathon, which was the Melbourne Marathon,” she says. “I finished after Kevin and Judy, and the photo is me coming over the finish line with my hands in the air and hanging over the fence. At the back of the photo are Kevin and Judy and some of the other group members all watching me finish. So they’re in my first finishing photo and it’s probably one of my favourites.”

An unlucky ankle roll saw Judy out of this year’s half marathon event at the Melbourne Marathon, but she was still there on the sidelines, cheering along Jane and supporting all her great friends. What she now has her sights set on is resuming long distance training in March for the Gold Coast Marathon and finishing her 25th Melbourne Marathon event next year.

We look forward to seeing her cross the line.

For more information about the 2014 Medibank Melbourne Marathon follow Medibank on Twitter @Medibank

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