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Great health road

Follow Medibank IT coordinator, Julie, on her journey to the Great Ocean Road Marathon.

When Julie’s daughter asked her to do a 10 km run with her, it was the start of a new journey to better health and fitness. Although she would regularly go for a leisurely 3 km jog at weekends, 10 km was definitely a challenge. Julie’s goal was simply to finish the event without feeling exhausted and to raise $800 for charity – but with hard work and training, she achieved this in a heartbeat.

From there, Julie caught the fitness event bug. Taking part in programs by Can Too – a non-profit that provides professional coaching for fitness events, with participants encouraged to raise money for Cure Cancer Australia – Julie has continued to challenge herself and has gone on to raise over $11,000 for cancer research. It’s a cause that is close to Julie’s heart, having lost numerous close relatives to cancer at young ages, and she is now contributing further to the organisation as a Can Too mentor.

This year, Julie’s goal is to run the Great Ocean Road Marathon – an iconic marathon event held along Victoria’s stunning coast in May. We had a chat about her training, motivation and experiences…

How is your preparation for the Great Ocean Road Marathon going?

I eat the correct foods and do cross training at home with a stationary bike and weights. I also include the training program with Can Too coaches. I have attended Step Into Life programs as well. I look forward to seeing all the locals out cheering us on, which is unique to the Great Ocean Road Marathon. It’s not often you get a whole town involved in cheering strangers on! I also like the commentators’ comical and interesting comments.

What motivates you to stay healthy and fit?

I feel good in myself when I am fit and healthy. I have at times not done any exercise for a short stint (say over Christmas/New Year) and have felt sluggish.

What have you gained from your experiences with Can Too?

Each program is unique but each one has the same feel about it – belonging to a big family to get you through the tough times and knowing you can do it.

What challenges have you faced on your journey to better health and fitness?

While I could run, I could not swim. I struggled putting it all together (breathing, arm movement and kicking). I also struggled with the bike riding but with perseverance and help from my fellow Can Too-ers and experienced coaches I have managed to complete my first Triathlon.

Why did you decide to become a Can Too mentor?

My first experience with a Can Too mentor was running up a hill which I said I could not do. My mentor said of course you can, just look at the top and run to it. I wanted to share my positive experience and mentor others in such a way that they could achieve anything they wanted.

You have raised an impressive amount of money for cancer research. Tell me a bit about what this cause means to you?

Supporting Cure Cancer Australia is close to me as both my parents died at an early age from bowel cancer. If there was a cure for this disease I would be elated to know I have helped even in a small way.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to take on a personal health and fitness challenge, but who might feel a bit daunted?

Believe in yourself and there is help out there. Whether it be Can Too, Step into Life or another program. Don’t give up on yourself.

The Great Ocean Road Marathon festival runs over Saturday 17 May and Sunday 18 May 2014. To register for an event or for more information visit greatoceanroadmarathon.com.au

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