Crippled by depression and anxiety, Sian Garratt overcame fear to turn up at her first parkrun. She very nearly turned around to go home, but a decision to stay changed her world. Sian found joy and friendship in the most unexpected place. With Club 50 and a half marathon under her belt, Sian learned to love herself again and to live life to its fullest, daily. This is Sian’s story.
My name is Sian. I am 44, married to Mark for 21 years, and I have two wonderful sons, Tristan 15 and Caleb 12.
My first parkrun was in Oct 2015 at The Ponds parkrun. I remember it clearly. I was petrified. I was overweight, depressed and suffering anxiety. I also knew I desperately needed to change my lifestyle. A friend asked me to go with her but she never turned up. Flipping out, I wanted to go home desperately. But I made the decision to stay.
I’ve been overweight for most of my life, school sport was my least favourite subject. I hated it. I did it, but I hated it. Ever since I can remember, cross country was one of the most dreaded days of the year. Every year I would say “this is the year to get fit”, then I do nothing about it.
When my dad died in 2010, my heart broke. A year later, my depression and anxiety hit an all time high. I had lost over 30kg in 18 months and was no longer eating. My friend saw through my facade and took me to the hospital where I confessed I wanted to take my own life. I remember driving and planning which power pole I would drive into, or driving so close to a truck in the hope it would hit me. I started cutting and carved hate into my leg.
In the hospital, they told me they would confine me unless I complied with their treatment. I complied, I just needed rest and help. The next year was hard, but I got through it. I also put on in excess of 30 kilos. As I came off my medication I knew I needed to really do something. I had to choose life, for myself and my boys. I had to show them the right way to live.
parkrun came into my life with perfect timing. The Ponds parkrun quickly became my family, my tribe. I gained confidence and joy. I had lost weight and become healthy. Being surrounded by positive people is truly infectious. You just can’t help but be happy. It’s a natural drug.
I did my Club 50 run on 1st of January 2018 with my running besties at Rooty Hill parkrun. It was the best way to start a year! In April this year, I ran my first half marathon in Canberra before I turned 45. I had my parkrun family running and cheering me on, with my running bestie by my side. This was a memory I will cherish forever. I sobbed the last few hundred meters. I even made my coach cry!
My next challenge is the Ragnar trail relay at Glenworth Valley in October where each team member will run 24.3kms. I can’t wait even if I have never ran on trails before. Nothing is impossible, remember? I am also working towards my Club 100. My dream is to retire and travel around our beautiful country in a caravan to visit all the parkruns.
I love where I am now and I am grateful on how far I have come. My boys see how I push myself every day. I want to show them that we can do anything! I created a Facebook Page called ‘Everyday I’m shuffling’ to document my journey and to encourage others that nothing is impossible.
Don’t be put off by the ‘run’ part of parkrun, just go do it. Run walk, even crawl! You will not regret it. parkrun will become your tribe and your biggest life supporter.
I love parkrun!
The Ponds parkrunner
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