Uncategorized - 30th May 2018

My Sub-30


My husband Rick is paraplegic and I’m his wife & sole carer. When I gave up work to look after Rick it didn’t take long for the weight to pile on & for the second time in my life became obese weighing at 110kg. It was in March 2017 that Rick had other medical conditions diagnosed & this had forced me to look at our health & lifestyle. His diagnosis had become the reason I began a mission to get fit & healthy as there was no turning back.


We’re both on pensions and I started looking at gyms as there isn’t a lot of exercise options available for someone in a wheelchair & we wanted to do something together but everything was too expensive! We had to do something & fast! I started to recall the couple of years in 2010/11 that I was a member of a jogging club in Bankstown & started searching my local Campbelltown jogging club to then find Campbelltown parkrun & at zero cost! I thought I was seeing things, zero cost?! What made it better for a large woman like me was it catered for anyone of any fitness level. I remembered in those couple of years of my old jogging club the friendly encouraging people & knew that the parkrun is what I needed to keep motivated.




I remember the first day I was nervous and was relieved to see people of all ages, shapes, sizes and the running people were as friendly as I had remembered. When we were at the starting line my old adrenaline just hit me! My heart was pounding! I was doing ok with a combined power walk & shuffle/jog & even managed to get lost at the turning point where someone had to run up to turn me around. I ended up doing a 54:45 that day. I just thought, I’m better than this & from then on I was on a mission. This mission was to get as fit as I was in 2011 where I ran 5km in 30:01.


While listening to my body, I started doing 5km runs at home & ran down hills at first then gradually increased to running on the flat bits. Eventually & very gradually I started running uphills. It helps that my run at home starts at the bottom of a steep hill & I just used the side streets as finishing points until I managed to go all the way up that hill. So by doing this I had improved little by little each week & the kilo’s fell off helped with sensible dieting and I had lost 50kg’s along the way.


Early this year I was speaking to an experienced running friend at Campbelltown parkrun who gave me some advice. If I wanted to improve my 5km runs, start running some slow easy 10km runs & the 5km won’t seem as hard. So in January I did just that! I even joined Campbelltown Jogging Club this year & have met some wonderful people.


I’ve learnt a lot along the way, watching, listening & learning from the experienced runners. I’ve been picking up tips on the internet about the types of exercises, stretches & speed work that runners should do & I pay attention to them.




There are just so many inspiring, encouraging people who run with injuries, that are big, small, young & old that go to the parkrun & I couldn’t of got this far without them or without the support of my husband Rick.


Finally, after chipping away at my PB’s & running about 35-40km per week, I’ve made the sub 30! It’s been one year & one week after I joined Campbelltown parkrun and today I ran 29:07! I’m absolutely wrapped! It’s the fastest I’ve ever run!


I don’t know what happens from here on but all I know is that I’m so inspired by our seniors & always have been. I want to be fit like them when I’m their age. I want to be able to look after my husband so we are independent for as long as physically possible.


I’ve never looked back since I stumbled across Campbelltown parkrun & we’ve met the most amazing people who have literally changed our lives.


Melissa Balenzeula

Campbelltown parkrunner

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