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Member Profile - Joanna's Story

I have been an open water swimmer for 20 years, and about 3 years ago I took up running as a challenge with the idea of completing a triathlon. It did not come easily to me. I was (and still am) really slow, but I am also quite stubborn and don’t give up if I decide I want to do something. I completed the Surf Coast half marathon in my second year of running then decided I wanted to do a marathon for my 50th birthday

I first met PTR when I was working toward that, 2 years ago. I noticed on their fb site that they were looking to start a social Thursday night run, all abilities catered for. I had heard of, but not contacted them as I was sure they would be too fast for me. However with some trepidation I decided this was worth checking out.

It turned out I was the only one who showed up. So there I was, running along in the rain on a dark Thursday night in May at Langwarrin, flanked by 2 guys I had only just met. They kept up the chat and I contributed with heavy breathing and the occasional grunt.

The fact that I turned up again the next week, and have kept turning up ever since, is a testament to the welcoming, friendly, non-judgmental attitude of these 2 amazing guys Johnny and Pitty. I call myself the first non-original member of PTR, and I have loved being involved as the group has grown in number and become a recognised trail running group.

I love the trail running, it gives me a sense of peace, makes me feel alive, challenges me. But PTR connects me. They are my tribe. My Thursday nights are not complete without a run with them. I feel comfortable with the group and can just be myself. I do often feel that I am too slow, that I’m not good enough, that people won’t want to wait for me. But that’s part of my depression/anxiety backstory. I am never made to feel unwelcome or unwanted and there is always someone at the back to run with. More often than not, it is Mark…early on I rather tersely told him to stop asking me questions, as I couldn’t run and talk at the same time. Since then Mark has learned to maintain a stream of conversation and interpret my grunts and I have even managed to contribute the occasional intelligible (and maybe even intelligent?) comment. Jayne and Mark have become two of my closest friends.

Before PTR, I did all my training by myself. Since then, there is always someone to train with if I want, and I would have found it difficult to complete what I have without that and the support that people provide. The SCC50 and SCC100 were huge accomplishments for me, and I wore my PTR t-shirt with pride during both of them.

People may wonder why I called myself ‘The Flying Brick’. I took the name from the Flying Brick Cider Company over on the Bellarine Peninsula, who say that it is named after the yellow-tailed black cockatoo who ‘defies the odds and can actually fly’. The bird is also said to have spunk and a happy, playful and somewhat ‘naughty’ disposition …….!?!?. The number of crashes I have had lately points to more brick and less flying, but it is just a plot to challenge Ron Tait (Black Hawk Down).

I haven’t got around to that triathlon yet………….it’ll need to be an off road one.


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