19 May 2018
Our latest member profile is Jo Andersson – our most recent finisher (finisher number 23) and our first finisher in the OVER 70’s age group – an amazing achievement!
I was lucky enough to meet Jo at Jodi Willet’s finish a few months back. As I couldn’t make it to her finish last week, I sent Jo an email just before her final few kms and asked her for a few words on how she found out about Run Down Under and what it has meant to her. Jo replied.... “I've always been moderately fit, but not a runner as such. When I moved to Budgewoi 17 years ago, I joined the local gym and Jodi Willet was a trainer there. We became good friends, and she inspired me to better myself through her training programs. It was Jodi who put me on to RDU. I've never been fitter, or more committed to achieving goals, since attacking RDU. I did my first 1/2 marathon at GCAM in 2015 (where I first met you Travis), and my first marathon in 2016 at age 69.
In between I've done several trail runs, including Jabulani and Raftery’s, and road runs from 10kms to marathon. I've really enjoyed my RDU experience, and don't hesitate to tell everyone how great it's been.”
So how do you stay so fit and healthy? “I'd like to say I am injury free” Jo replies sheepishly. “At the moment I have plantar problems on my left foot, and a spur. Two needles still haven't fixed the problem, so a lot of my activities lately involve walking only. My body maintenance is eating properly and exercise. My motivation is RDU and not wanting to get old (don't know if that's working real well)”. I’d say its working just fine Jo!
You’re part of an awesome run group that has produced two previous finishers (Coastie Runners) so do you run with them or alone? “Nowadays I run mostly on my own. Especially with the injuries I'm carrying. I've got between 20-30 years on most of the runners in our awesome group and don't like to hold them back. A few years back my good friend Jodi Willett inspired me to get fit and better myself. I find now that if I set myself a challenge, such as RDU, I'm inclined to give it my best shot. Being able to do things that others my age can't do is also a good reason.
What events do you or have you run Jo? “I haven't run any "events" for 6 or 7 months now due to injuries. Until then I was running regularly. It's hard to pick a favourite. I really enjoyed Jabulani, GCAM, and City to Surf, but the one that gave me the most satisfaction was the Relay for Life marathon in 2016. That was my first ever marathon when I was 69 years old.
I went on to ask Jo about her running background, and she told me.... “I was never a runner as a kid. We emigrated from Holland to Australia when I was 10, and never got the opportunity to experience real childhood”. Seems she has made up for that in her later years which is awesome.
Jo concludes by telling me.... “Most people are in awe at what I've achieved, which gives me a good feeling. Some think I'm stupid, my physiotherapist says I'm crazy, and my doctor said I shouldn't be running. I ignore him lol. I love this challenge and will continue on for another lap. My husband has done some incredible collages which are a pictorial record of my run, and which take pride of place on our wall. He pulled out last year because of injury, but I've talked him into re-joining. He has nearly 2500kms up, so my inspiration now is to beat him. HA HA.
Well done Jo and enjoy your extended journey with RDU2.
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