Elizabeth Bennett loves running marathons
She has run more than 30, and counting. So far her fastest time for the 42.195-kilometre race is 2 hours and 59 minutes (plus 38 seconds) set at the Gold Coast marathon in July 2007. Two months earlier she had finished the Canberra marathon in 3 hours and 38 seconds which was a 9-minute improvement of her previous best time, impressive in all regards.
She has won several races, breaking the tape at five marathons: Perth (2008), Alice Springs (2004 & 2005) and Hobart (2004 & 2009).
"They have all felt different, depending on whether I've had to chase to get ahead and stay ahead or if I've been fading and had to hold off someone coming up to pass me. Neither scenario is comfortable. Essentially, it really isn't over until the fat lady sings or the marathon equivalent, i.e. stepping over the finish line first. I had a few girls in front of me in the Perth marathon for quite a while. At 39km I took the lead. That made the win even sweeter. I really had to fight for it. When I went past the last girl at 39km, I knew that if she lifted I would be unlikely to be able to go with her. Fortunately she was spent and I ended up coming in 65 seconds in front of her. Whew."
Elizabeth is one of the 53 women profiled in the book Running Shoes Are a Girl's Best Friend written by Margreet Dietz. The book is about women who run. It is intended to encourage those who already do so to keep running and to inspire those thinking about it to head out the door today.
There is never a perfect time to start. You simply need to take that first step and keep going. In this, it is all about you. You may not get far the first time. But that's OK. It's the journey that matters most.
The stories of these women explain how running has become an integral part of their lives. As varied as they are and ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 50s, what they describe is a shared experience. It's one of empowerment.
For these women, running has evolved from a simple form of physical exercise to the catalyst for taking charge of their health and giving them peace of mind from otherwise hectic daily lives.
Some run for the simple pleasure it brings, while others race for finish lines. Some run with friends, while others run alone. Most of them run because they can.
As coaches Pat Carroll and Susan Griffith say in two separate chapters, running is about the sense of achievement and wellbeing that it gives to those who take up the sport. All it takes is one step at a time.
For more information, check out Running Shoes Are a Girl's Best Friend at BootLocker.com.
Margreet Dietz is a professional writer. Originally from The Netherlands she has worked as a journalist since 1996 from Brussels, Toronto and Sydney respectively before making Squamish, BC, her home in 2008. She is a regular contributor to endurance sports publications. This is her first book. A five-time Ironman finisher, Margreet is training for the 2010 Rotterdam marathon which will be her 12th.