Rocky runner's plan to mark 50 years of competition
RUNNING: Rockhampton's Lyn Lewis was just 11 when she placed third in her first competitive running event, the Queensland Women's Amateur Athletics 1500m.
In the ensuing years, she has covered thousands of kilometres, contested hundreds of events and compiled a resume that would make any athlete proud.
The 61-year-old will mark her enduring career tomorrow at the Rockhampton parkrun at the city's Botanic Gardens. When she crosses the finish line of her 10th consecutive parkrun, the combined total of 50km will symbolise her 50 years as a competitive athlete.
Lyn said it was a significant milestone for her, and also a good way to promote parkrun which attracted as many as 400 participants each week in Rockhampton.
"I always liked running. My brothers started before I did. I would go to the park where they were training and I would just run around doing my own thing,” she recalled.
She got her first taste for distance running in cross country events at high school and quickly realised she had a natural talent for the longer, more challenging races. She soon started competing and she never looked back as she strung together an impressive list of victories.
"The first marathon I ran I won, the first ultra-marathon I ran I won and the first mountain run I ran I won,” Lyn said.
"I've competed in more than 60 mountain runs, done about 30 ultra-marathons and two marathons. It is good to win but I don't get upset if I don't.
"Participation is the main thing for me and I've met so many wonderful people along the way.”
There are a host of firsts in Lyn's lengthy list of achievements, including being the first Australian woman to win the gruelling Mt Edgecombe run in New Zealand in 1992.
Ask her which she holds most special and she nominates two - becoming the first Queensland female to complete the 100-mile Australian Centurion Walk, breaking five national age group records in the process, and completing a 12-hour solo fundraiser run at Pomona.
Lyn describes running as "moving meditation”.
"It keeps you fit and healthy and helps you de-stress,” she said. "Motivation is not an issue because you feel so good when you run that you want to keep doing it. Running and walking are also among the cheapest activities out there.
"At my age I just want to keep going and stay uninjured and when it gets to the stage where I can't run I will walk.”
Lyn said her preferred distance had always been the ultra-marathon and she thrived on the physical and mental challenge.