“To cross that line meant so much more to me than just a marathon, it was knowing I can accomplish anything.”
Meet Diane McCartin. Di is from the beautiful Victorian Mornington Peninsula in Australia. She is a mother of four gorgeous sons aged between 11 and 32, runs her own building estimator business full time and despite many health issues including arthritis in her hands, feet and shoulders as well as a kidney disease, has now completed her first-ever marathon.
After having only run a couple of half-marathons in Australia, Di’s husband surprised her with her first marathon entry to the 2018 TCS New York Marathon, a dream experience she has always wanted to do. Not only was this Di’s first marathon but also her first overseas trip, making this experience one she will remember for the rest of her life.
We love inspiring personal stories from our marathon runners, and Di is no exception! Her strength and determination shows us that anyone can do a marathon if you persevere and keep your eye on the end goal. Check out her story, marathon experience, tips and training routine in our interview below.
1. What sparked your interested in running marathons?
I have always been keen on sports and running but have only ever run a couple of half marathons before over the last eight years. My job is stressful and I love the freedom of running – it clears my mind and gives me time to myself, free of anybody talking to me. I love to challenge myself and really feel like I give it my all – which led me to running half marathons and the dream of running The New York Marathon.
2. What was your favourite part of the marathon experience?
There were so many! However my favourite moments would have to be, firstly, the starting line, when the songs were playing, made me teary as I just could not believe I was standing at the start line of the New York Marathon. It was a dream come true.
Secondly, the crowd itself was truly amazing and something I will never forget and don’t think I could ever put it to words to truly describe it. I had my headphones on my neck for nearly five hours as I could barely hear the music because the crowd was so intense and supportive! The crowd really helped me get to the finish line when I was struggling in the last 5kms. Chatting to the other runners and just running in the enormous group of like-minded people is such an inspiring experience.
And finally, seeing my husband when I was about 1km from the finish line. I broke down crying, hugged him, wiped the tears off and kept running to cross that finish line.
3. What was the hardest part of the whole experience?
The hardest part for me was running the marathon with my health problems. I have arthritis in my hands, feet and shoulders which I take medication to help me, but it is painful. My feet in particular are the worst, so to cross that line meant so much more to me than just a marathon, it was knowing I can accomplish anything. I also have a kidney disease where I make kidney stones non-stop and have had to have surgery three weeks after the marathon to remove them. My kidneys were burning but there was no way I was not crossing that line! There were times when I was training that I just broke down and cried and thought it was too much and I couldn’t do it. But I did and I am so proud of myself for accomplishing the marathon.
4. How long did it take you to prepare yourself for the marathon?
I had only got back into running at the start of 2018 as I had a few years off due to arthritis and being told to stop running. I ran two half marathons in 2018 but I received my gift of the New York Marathon in the middle of July so really only had three and a half months to train for it.
5. What sort of training were you doing?
I have a friend who has run quite a few marathons so I followed his schedule. I did a short run (12 – 15kms) on Monday, XTrain (30-minute work out sessions) on Tuesdays, interval sprints or hike local National Park hills on Wednesdays, weights and a 45min run on Thursdays, rest on Friday, a long run on Saturday, rest Sunday. It was very hard to fit this schedule into my lifestyle as I work 11 hours roughly every day so I did miss some sessions, although never missed the running days.
6. Any personal tips for others wanting to run a marathon?
When you have a tough day when training (I had a few), focus on the end goal and the personal achievement. I also saw a myotherapist once a week for the last four weeks to loosen hamstrings, hip flexors and it made the world of difference.
7. What’s next for you? More marathons?
After The New York Marathon I thought I could never run another marathon again, as it took me a long time to recover from it. But I loved the experience and personal achievement so much that I have now decided that I am going to run the six big marathons of the world – New York, Chicago, London, Boston, Berlin and Tokyo. I have already got my name down for Chicago 2020 through Keith Prowse Travel. I can only run every second year as it is just too much on my body to run one every year, but within the next 11 years I will have travelled the world doing what I now love – running marathons!
8. Why did you choose to travel with Keith Prowse Travel?
My husband chose them when he booked the 2018 New York Marathon for me and we were super impressed with our travel consultant, Ryan. The way he organised the trip, his enthusiasm for our holiday and the places he booked for us were all fantastic! We are already sorting my next marathon in Chicago with them and I would not have it any other way!