An Event Inspired by Community
Saturday, 13 February, 2016
In Victoria Park for the past four Februaries, Christchurch’s iconic remembrance run has kicked off with an unmistakable sense of community.
Most participants share a similar motivation.
In the words of Jane O’Flaherty: “I love seeing other people out there. I never come out of an event without looking at someone and thinking, you’re amazing.”
That very same word that could very easily be used to describe Jane herself.
Jane started running in her mid 20s and recalls: “I hated it when I started; I could hardly run a lamppost.”
She loved the flexibility however, working in the health sector.
“It was really easy when you’re shift working and you can’t commit to team sports. When I had children it was something I could do…handing my husband the baby on my way out the door!
“(Running has) always been a good friend to me. It’s kept me connected and it fit in with family life.”
The busy mother of four has been training for the Buller Gorge Half Marathon next weekend. It isn’t her first half marathon; she’s even gone the full distance, in the Christchurch event a few years ago.
Jane’s second full marathon attempt in Auckland, however, was curtailed by illness.
“It was just a virus,” she recalls. “I was probably run down. But it affected my balance.”
Symptoms continued for eight or nine months.
“I could stand up and walk around, but to walk around the block I had to go with my husband.”
Life changed suddenly and without warning. Training runs became a distant memory.
“It was quite an unsettling time, quite scary. I thought, will I ever run again?”
“A fantastic GP” (Dr Mark Cohen) and Rebecca at Balance Physio teamed up to support Jane’s recovery. “Rebecca gave me exercises to help my brain pick up the messages of where my body was. There’d been an interruption to that messaging.”
Jane tried to be patient, but one day asked her physio: “When I will get to a point in my rehabilitation when I can run like I used to?”
Rebecca didn’t have a simple answer, confirming: “This is going to be one step at a time.”
Walking around the block alone was a huge milestone. Jane, however, remained haunted by uncertainty. “I thought, what if I’m out there and fall over? And it caused me to get a bit stressed. So it was a bit of a head game.”
She persevered. And she discovered Jo Knight, of MOJO Coaching.
“Jo gave me a programme that was really aligned to where I was at. She helped me manage the symptoms. She really listened to me.
“And then she said…we’re going to get you up to 10km. And I thought, can I do it?”
On 13 February, Jo set out to do it….twice. And then some. To complete one of her favourite events, the Buller Half Marathon.
Less than a week later, on 21 February, Jane will line up in Victoria Park for an event that brings together an awful lot of people with an incredible amount in common. After all, if “amazing” has anything to do with determination and resilience, then it’s a word that was almost made for Canterbury.
Sunday 21 February 2016 – Mitre 10 MEGA – A Run to Remember
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Mitre 10 MEGA - A Run to Remember is a 10km charity fun run/walk to honour those who lost their lives in the February 2011 earthquake.
The course features views over Christchurch, across the Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps, allowing for reflection and remembrance.
It’s an occasion that encourages Cantabrians and visitors alike to come along and be part of a very special community event.
Like Jane O’Flaherty, many participants come to the event on their own, while others enter with friends and family members, or workmates.