Picking up the pieces and moving on after the death of a spouse is incredibly difficult. Kathy Rae, mother of four sons, was widowed in 2010. After the death of her husband she decided to hit the ground running, literally.
Having been a running enthusiast since her teenage years, things slowed down quite a bit after marriage and motherhood. Soon after she lost her partner, she threw herself back into the sport and has become an inspiration to so many in the process. “I think that if I just stayed at home and did nothing and was depressed after my husband died”, said Kathy, “then it would have been a loss of two lives”.
It seems quite fitting that I find myself on an early Sunday morning, keeping pace with her and the other fit ladies from the Jordan Springs and Surrounds Women’s Community Group, on one of their frequent Bridge to Bridge walks. While we walk, her story unfolds, and I am in awe. Kathy currently holds the title as the first and only woman to have participated in every single parkrun in NSW, having completed 171 park runs in 60 different locations! This takes her all over the state. “I travel everywhere”, she said with excitement, but that wasn’t always the case. She recalled a time when she travelled to Melbourne for the City2Sea run. “It was scary to be in a motel alone, travelling alone, I wasn’t sure I could do it. It was the start of me going places on my own”.
She has since participated in countless events on numerous occasions: the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival, the Blacktown M7 Running Festival, the Western Sydney Marathon at the Regatta Centre Penrith, City2Surf Sydney, City2Sea Melbourne and the Sydney Marathon Clinic. She is currently on the committees of the Penrith and Nepean River parkruns.
Asked why she does it and her answer is this:
“I think it’s important to be a participant in life”.
After our walk, we shared coffee, breakfast and laughs. Then, I went home and signed up to parkrun. All because of Kathy Rae.
c/- Jordan Springs Gazette | June 2017
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