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Team members Kate and Karen...off to 2024 Ironman 70.3

For those who haven't caught up with the exercise journeys of our Clinical Director Kate Smallman, and General Manager Karen Pickering, they take 'walking the walk' to great lengths. 

The key for these two self described "back of the pack endurance athletes", is to do things their own way.  They acknowledge that for many people, barriers to becoming more physically active, such as age, body-shape, slow speed, medical conditions, money, busy lives or whatever else...can seem almost insurmountable, however in their own experience, most barriers can be overcome or gone around with the right advice and persistence.  They are also quick to point out that being active is about doing what works for each person, not everyone needs to or should be running marathons or doing Ironman events to be fit and healthy!

Kate and Karen report that their journeys started after an office team effort at a try-a-tri triathlon in 2005. They then chose not to stop training, convincing each other to do longer and longer distances and taking on new challenges in the years to come. They describe the friendly support (and some might say rivalry) they've provided each other as having been essential to keeping going, and since that early beginning they have both participated in countless events.  This includes many half marathons and marathons, multiple  half-distance and full-distance Ironman races, and shorter events 'for fun'. Most of these have been in New Zealand, but also opportunities have come up overseas, attending a diabetes conference isn't the same for these Diabetes Foundation Aotearoa team members without an event to explore an unfamiliar area.

So as they traverse the 20th year since they claimed the label of 'endurance athlete', neither shows signs of stopping any time soon.  As Kate says, she's "too afraid to stop" and Karen notes there'd never be any trips away in her whanau without races to attend, complaining though that if she gets much slower she'll need to start hours earlier than everyone else to get in before the finish line has been packed away.  They have both already done events getting ready for the much looked forward to Taupo 70.3 Ironman on 2nd March. Kate reports that she loved the Mount Multi-sport Festival in January where she had an outstanding bike-ride, and earlier this month Karen had a ball at the Clevedon half marathon which finished at the Clevedon Market for ice-cream. 

This year, Kate is running under the Mr Smith's team colours, and Karen is in support of Rare Disorders NZ.  We wish them all the best!