Do you remember the first time you rode a bike?
You stared at it for weeks.
Watched your older brother zoom around the block, confident and carefree. You polished it, pumped the tyres and then one day – you got on it. Yeah, you wobbled at first. You even fell off a few times and skinned your knee. But sure enough, soon the day came that you didn’t wobble, and you pedalled and whooped and left your older brother in the dust. But – you had to start with a first time.
As we get older, the opportunity to try something for the first time becomes rarer and rarer. (Unless you visit South East Asia, in which case everything you eat is likely to be the first time you’ve tried it. Fish eye soup, anyone?) The thrill of having a challenge and succeeding is matched only by the satisfaction of thinking “I can’t”, but eventually saying “I did”.
Better health isn’t about necessarily about riding bikes or fish eye soup, it’s about looking at all the things in life that you wanting to do, and doing them. Want to start ballet training at age 45? Do it! Desperate to give the paleo diet a shot? Why not? Have a pesky 5kg to get rid of? Get started. Want to run a marathon? You can do that, too.
No, seriously. You can.
Meet Erika, Elliot, Stephen and Claire. They have never run a marathon before. So what are we doing? We’re kicking off their training wheels and sending them along to the Medibank Melbourne Marathon on the 12th of October. For those at home doing the maths, that’s just four weeks away.
For the next four weeks, we will be prodding our team of First Timers off the couch and onto the track as they prepare to run the half marathon. They will farewell perfectly good bottles of red wine and embrace not so perfect 5am morning starts in their journey to not just becoming a part of GenBetter, but proving to us all that it’s not impossible.
Let’s meet the team.
Skill level: Gym Junkie
Erika Geraerts is 25 and hails from Collingwood, Melbourne. Co-owner of not one, not two, but three businesses; this smart cookie splits her time between the Frank Body skincare line, Willow and Blake agency and LBSS Café in Abbotsford. Erika’s greatest hurdle for the marathon? Finding enough bandaids to deal with the running blisters.
Skill level: Fit, but limping.
Elliot Giakalis is a 36 year-old lawyer-turned-communications-guy who lives in Sydney’s inner East. Originally from Melbourne, Elliot loves AFL, his rescued golden retriever Sammy, and stealing the last piece of pizza. With a niggling injury refusing to leave, Elliot’s greatest challenge for the marathon might just be making it to the start line.
Skill level: Underdog with grit.
Stephen Russell is 36 and moved from Scotland nine years ago. A freelance journalist, Stephen writes mostly about the arts, design, food, and drink. What does he reckon the hardest part of the race will be? Embargoing that damn fine bottle of red he bought the day before training started.
Skill level: Tough Mama
Claire Hooper, 38, lives in Brunswick, Melbourne, with her husband and newborn baby, Penny. A well-known Australian comedienne, Claire is best known for her stints on Good News Week and Rove Live. Claire predicts her greatest hurdle for the marathon is going to be co-ordinating not one, but two morning runs. For her and her husband, obviously. Penny can’t even walk yet.
DON’T MISS A MOMENT ON THE JOURNEY TO THE FIRST TIME
Simply search #TheFirstTime on Twitter or Instagram, and be sure to use the tag yourself if you’re getting up and active.
Also keep an eye on our First Timer’s Instagram and Twitter accounts (links in their profiles) as they give you a front row seat to their training. Spoiler alert: there are burgers and there are band-aids. Training for a 21km marathon in just under four weeks is not all smooth sailing, folks.
Speaking of training, when was the last time you went for a run…?