"The 10.10.10. completely changed my life, in so many ways."

What was it that prompted you to sign up for the scholarship programme?

Two years ago I turned 50, which I wasn’t really looking forward to, to be honest. It was a big deal for me and I really struggled with the idea of turning half a century! In true birthday style, we had a bit of a celebration with family and friends and the next day some of our guests added some photos to social media. One photo of me in particular was dreadful and I suddenly realised I didn’t recognise the person in that photo any more - over the years I had put everyone else before me, and in that process, I had forgotten about myself and had become overweight and very unfit.  This photo was my drive to make some positive change. 

A few days later one of my dearest friends tagged me in the Facebook post which was asking for applications for the 10.10.10 Scholarship Programme. For a fleeting moment, I actually considered it but I didn’t think I could ever do it.  For one thing, I couldn’t even run 5 metres, let alone 10km and there were several things against me such as I was unfit, overweight, not eating well, always making excuses to not exercise and I’m asthmatic. As the days progressed, I thought about it more and more and found myself wondering what it would be like to actually run that distance, to change my ways and work towards something so powerful.  Without my family knowing, I applied.

I realised I really wanted this and that I would be disappointed if I wasn’t accepted.  I’ll never forget that day the email arrived - I was so nervous it took me quite some time to actually open it!  I sat there both stunned and excited that I had a spot in the programme but was so grateful that I had the opportunity to start something new. My family were so supportive of me as well which was great.

What sort of things did you learn while participating?

This programme was an incredible journey and taught me so many things.  I found a camaraderie in this group of wonderful people that I had never experienced before and learnt that new goals are very much achievable, especially with a team of friends next to you experiencing the same thing. I learnt to eat well and to train hard, to commit to each training session and never give up (even when my muscles were screaming at me to stop some times). I learnt a whole lot of new skills, both physically and mentally, and I learnt to listen to my body and that rest days were needed just for that.  I learnt to persevere, be patient and to push my boundaries at times and I also learnt to accept those days when it was hard to push through.  This programme taught me so many wonderful life skills that I still practice to this day.

How has the programme had an impact on your life?

The 10.10.10. completely changed my life, in so many ways.  My health is much better, I eat good foods, I think differently about so many things and I really notice when I need to get out and run. I’m fitter, my shape has changed and I find I handle situations differently than I did before. It’s quite addictive this running thing … I actually find myself feeling a little jealous when I drive past a runner and can’t join them! I am constantly thinking of my next events and my training programmes.  I made so many wonderful new friends through this programme and still see most of them to this day. A few of us run regular events together and we train when schedules permit. I never thought I would ever be swapping high heels for runners but now you find multiple pairs in my closet and I’m so proud of them; every pair has a story or two!  I get excited at a new pair of good running socks which still makes me giggle from time to time. It’s had such a positive impact for all the right reasons. I try my very best to inspire and support other runners, or wannabe runners, as I know how beneficial this sport can be.

What was the key take away for you?

The main thing for me was fitness is crucial and so very beneficial to your health. You don’t need to run 10km every day, but you do need to aware of how much exercise you do and regularly.  For me, I mix it up a bit and the days I’m not running I’ll go for a mountain bike ride, walk, swim or spin class.  I’ve learnt to take care of myself and how to fuel my body through exercise. I’ve also learnt that a good night’s sleep is crucial and and I try and get as much sleep as I can, especially when I’m training for an event.

Who would you recommend this programme to and why?

If you’re someone who has trouble exercising or is not that active, and these words have inspired you a little, then apply!  I cannot stress enough how wonderful this programme is for well being, self-esteem and fitness. This programme will introduce you to a wonderful group of people and to running buddies who will support you through thick and thin. This programme is suitable for all ages, sizes and shapes and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never run before, nor had I. It’s something that is completely achieveable and you will not regret it, one bit. This whole 10 week journey will inspire you, challenge you and teach you to be patient, to persevere and to celebrate the wins.  It will also teach you that hard days are okay and to get straight back out there and continue to work towards your goals. It will focus on your personal goals and your group goals and will introduce you to a wonderful running family that you will share great laughs with, and some tears, and a long lasting friendship that is unbreakable.

Leanne Hall

Posted: Monday 30 April 2018