Pam Goes The Distance For L4Life Kids

Tuesday, December 10 2019

We’re looking back on 2019 and one of the highlights was Pam, our L4Life Co-founder and Executive Officer, leading our Run Melbourne team and running in the half marathon!

We are so proud of you and your amazing efforts and achievement Pam!! Hear from Pam about her inspirational running journey.

Christie, Pam & Anna at the start of RM 2019 Anna & Pam at the start of Run Melbourne 2019

Tell us how you got started in running?

I started walking at Parkrun a couple of years ago in my local area most Saturday mornings. I started running (shuffling really) some parts of it and eventually, after a year or so, I could run the entire 5kms.

Who inspires you to run?

I was invited to join the Northern Rivers Running Chicks group and it was made up of several people, a lot of whom I had met at Parkrun. I saw the achievements and progress they had made and thought perhaps that it wasn’t unrealistic to think I could be a “runner”. They were such an inclusive and supportive group and it didn’t matter that my goals were more modest at the beginning.

Who helps you to keep going?

My family. My husband and kids have been extremely supportive and encouraging and have accepted the early morning starts on both weekdays and weekends, as I will often be out running for 2-3 hours. When my mum rings from the U.S. on a Saturday, the first thing she asks is how I went at Parkrun. When I start doubting myself, I have two personal trainers behind the scenes who make sure that I remember I can achieve anything I set my mind to.

Pam in the half marathon at Run Melbourne 2019 Pam being welcomed by Robbie, Di & Mel at Run Melbourne 2019 Pam at the finish line Run Melbourne 2019

What were your goals for RM 2019?

One year ago, I went for a run and was able to achieve 13 kms and I thought why not push myself to a half-marathon. It was out of my comfort zone but I thought that participating as part of the L4Life Team was very fitting because individuals with Autism are often out of theirs. My goal was to run the entire race without stopping, no matter how hard it was.

How did your training pan out?

My training went relatively well – a few weekly shorter runs (3-7 kms) and one long run on Sunday mornings (10-18kms). Real life gets in the way sometimes, so there were some gaps for illness and overseas travel.

What were you thinking…

At the start? I was so nervous at the start of the race – “what if I can’t do this and let people down”.

At the half way mark? I got off to a great start and actually achieved PBs for both 5km and 10km marks. I started thinking it was actually possible that I would do it.

Towards the end? When I hit 18kms, it got so much more difficult. I started doubting myself and thought I might not make it. So I broke it down into smaller steps, 500 metres at a time. I kept going and the encouragement that was offered by those around me, other runners and spectators, kept me running. These were people who didn’t know me but were cheering me on. Because your name is on your race bib, you hear people shouting out to you by name. I was thinking about our kids we work with – they keep learning because of the positive reinforcement that we and the L4Life Village give them.

Afterwards? “I did it!”

Pam & Anna finished at Run Melbourne 2019 Pam DID IT at Run Melbourne 2019 Pam with Robbie & Di at Run Melbourne 2019

What were two highlights of the day?

At the finish line, the gentleman handing out medals saw my emotion and he enveloped me in a huge hug. Mel, Di, and Robbie were there at the finish to greet me which made it extra special.

After we gathered back, it was amazing seeing our team in their green L4Life t-shirts coming through with such a sense of pride and achievement. We had staff members, family members, siblings, etc. all participating for a common goal.

What are your future goals for running?

Continuing on outside of my comfort zone, I have registered to run a full marathon on the Gold Coast next July! I will follow that with a shorter distance at Run Melbourne 2020.

Amanda, Pam, Mary and Scott at Run Melbourne 2019

How do people get involved in Run Melbourne for 2020?

Early bird registrations for Run Melbourne 2020 (26 July) are now open. Click here to sign up to the 5km, 10km or half marathon – stay tuned for further details about joining Team L4Life at Run Melbourne 2020.

Committing early gives you plenty of time to prepare – no matter what your goal is, I would love to see an even bigger team of people representing Learning for Life Autism Centre at Run Melbourne 2020!

Final thoughts?

More recently, I am absolutely inspired by Eliud Kipchoge whose personal motto, ‘No Human is Limited’ resonates deeply with me. In an interview after running a sub-2 hour marathon, he said “anything is possible when you put in your heart and your mind”.

I do believe we have the capacity to achieve great things for ourselves and others when we invest fully in the possibilities life has to offer.