Empowering and inspiring women to achieve more than they ever imagined was possible is Erica King's passion. She is achieving this via her running network – Running Divas Australia.
Women of all ages and running ability have been following Erica's 12 Marathon journey and are now coming together from all over Australia to share in the positive spirit of the No 12 Marathon in Melbourne on Sunday 30th November 2014.
2014 is an exciting year for Erica, she has just celebrated her 50th Birthday. Not satisfied with a party and a cake, Erica set the goal to run 12 Marathons in 12 Months to challenge herself and to let women from everywhere know that there are no limits and we are all capable of much more than we think we are.
Women are running in greater numbers than ever before in history and to feel better about themselves, to manage weight and self-esteem, to assist in managing depression and to take time out of busy lives to de stress.
Erica wants to -shout from the rooftops' to all women that they can be amazing, to never set limits, to not allow stress and depression to control their lives – share in this excitement on Sunday 30th November 2014 in Melbourne.
Question: What is your 12 Marathons in 12 Months goal?
Erica King: To run 12 marathons (each official marathon is 42.2kms) in 12 months from January to December 2014.
Question: What inspired you to set this goal?
Erica King: I wanted to do something positive to celebrate my 50th birthday this year (6th Oct) rather than feel depressed that I have reached this milestone of age in my life It is about being fitter, healthier and stronger both mentally and physically than ever before in my life.
Question: What do you hope other women learn from your achievements?
Erica King: That no matter what age we are, what athletic ability or not (I have zero athletic ability – just lots of determination) we have that we can achieve anything that we set our minds too.
By achieving a huge goal women feel confident, positive and empowered and this translates into all aspects of women's lives.
Question: How does running allow you to manage stress?
Erica King: Running in the fresh air without any phone or distractions is the perfect way to clear the mind, feel strong physically and shake off any negativity from the day.
Question: You've completed 10 of the 12 marathons for 2014; which was the hardest mentally and physically?
Erica King: I have completed 10 marathons in this challenge.
Boston has been the toughest (it was my second time running Boston) because I significantly injured myself two weeks prior to the race and was in extreme pain from about the 20km mark, had to keep stopping at the medical tents for painkillers, the crowds were overwhelming due to the bombings in Boston last year – very tough mentally and physically. I cried for the last 10kms because of extreme pain. Crossing that finish line was a huge relief.
Question: What's special about the 12th marathon other than it being the last for 2014?
Erica King: After much angst about where and what my twelfth marathon should be it was my wonderful running friends here in Melbourne that offered to help organise a specially designed marathon for me.
This is so very special because I will have fifty friends and Running Divas Facebook followers coming to run with me, plus volunteers and supporters from all over Australia to share in this end to my twelve marathons journey – I have 40,000+ Facebook followers who have been with me every step of the way, so this is for them as well as the end of my goal.
Question: Can you tell us about your first ever marathon in 2002?
Erica King: I had never run before, so when deciding that I was going to learn to run and then complete a marathon in New York it was a slow road to the start line.
Once on that start line as the song New York New York was playing with 40,000 runners from all over the world it was the most incredible feeling. I loved every agonising step and cried as I crossed the finish line with relief that I had made it.
Question: How can Australians support this marathon?
Erica King: By either being part of the event in Melbourne (running or volunteering or supporting), following it on Facebook and my website.
I would also love to have a sponsor so that I can spoil all of the participants and volunteers at the No twelve marathon by providing tops, bibs, and a lovely celebration lunch which would be such a lovely way to end this 12 Marathons journey.
Question: Can you tell us about Running Divas Australia?
Erica King: I started Running Divas because I have gained so much from running with my friends; it has changed my life for the better. So I wanted to share this with other women around Australia and NZ.
We are an online community providing information specifically for women and their running needs (I have experts that write articles regularly on everything from nutrition, injury, training, race prep etc), motivation via stories from other Running Divas achieving their goals, support plus we have some carefully selected and trialled products that can assist with running and fitness.
Question: What advice do you have for someone hoping to run a marathon?
Erica King: Set the goal, find a race that you want to complete, have a training program and then take each step at a time and don't let anyone tell you that you can't achieve this goal.
Question: Can you talk us through your training?
Erica King: I do the following training each week
X 4 strength sessions – to improve leg, glute and abs plus cardio conditioning without running
X 1 run on an Anti Gravity treadmill – due to my injury this is my speed, interval session in the week. I can run fast without the impact
X 2 other runs outside – one approx. 6 to 8kms and the other one approx. 10 to 15kms
X 1 yoga session – to stretch out my muscles and have greater flexibility
Interview by Brooke Hunter