Running club is changing lives

TWELVE months ago Queanbeyan grandmother Raelene Thorton suffered a breakdown but she refers to it as her breakthrough.

The former-Indigenous aged care co-ordinator was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

Her doctor suggested she take up more exercise which led her to join a local Indigenous boot camp.

From there, she didn't to become part of the Queanbeyan Deadly Runners, a running group coached by local personal trainer Georgia Gleeson.

"It was a bit daunting because I couldn't run a minute without stopping," Miss Thorton said.

"But I liked the fact that Georgia said she would teach us how to run up to five kilometres."

The Queanbeyan Deadly Runners meet three to four times a week to train and with the eventual aim of completing a five kilometre fun run.

This weekend, the group of 10 - including one participant who is almost 60-years-old - will tackle the Tuggeranong Park Run.

Miss Thorton said she's feeling good ahead of the run; she ran six kilometres just the other day and has already got her sights set on the City to Surf.

"[Running] is like my medication. It's a release for me, all those natural endorphins," she said.

"It's the group too, they inspire you. We all sort of support each other.
"They'll rouse on you if you don't turn up- you have to have a good excuse. People bank on you being there, just as I bank on them being there."

Miss Gleeson, the group's coach, is also a former participant of the Indigenous Marathon Project - a squad made of 12 individuals who strive to promote healthy lifestyles in their communities.

Running completely changed her life. She quit smoking, started training and completed the New York City Marathon in 2013.

The mother of four is now a personal trainer and hopes to motivate others to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

She has certainly helped Miss Thorton who is currently studying to also become a personal trainer.

"You have to walk the walk and Georgia does that. She's out there doing it and you're inspired by that," Miss Thorton said.

Miss Gleeson said the Queanbeyan Deadly Runners is not just about fitness, it's the social and community aspect of it as well.

"Being healthy and fit is something that everyone has in them and everyone wants to get there but some people just don't know how," Miss Gleeson said.

"I'm just a mum of four kids and once people saw that [I could make the change], they saw it as being more achievable and that's what I wanted to do when I joined the Indigenous Marathon Project.

"What gives me a lot of pride is all these participants go home in the morning and their kids are waking up to their parents coming home from a run.

"It's changing their 'normal' and that is what I think needs to happen."