Julie Piening

I am contacting you as you wanted to touch base about how I was planning my finish to RDU.  Lets just say it isn't what I had originally planned for when I started out!  I would never thought we would experience something like the current climate in our lifetime.  But looking at the positives of it I am still able to run, in fact my km's per day have increased due to not having to go into work everyday!!!

Originally I had planned to finish with a group of the people I have shared this experience with.  My sister and fellow RDU member and my two consistent running buddies over the years.  Due to the social isolation and lockdown rules I have been out solo the last few weeks and if things don't change in the next few weeks I assume this is how I will be completing my journey.  (Except for my loyal four legged partner who has joined me for most of my km in the last year and a half!). I am thinking I may FaceTime my sister as I finish ... just to share the moment!!!

I have loved my RDU experience.  Back in 2015 when I joined I would never have guessed the impact that RDU would have on my running. The motivation has been huge as you get to each town it is like a mini celebration and I have learnt so much about different towns in our country that I may never get to visit in person.  The people I have met have on my journey has been amazing.  Wearing the RDU singlet at events is a great conversation starter and a support base as we yell "Go RDU to each other".  I have kept in contact with quite a few people I have met at events thanks to RDU.  I also had the highlight of meeting yourself at the 2016 Gold Coast Marathon Expo!  My two work colleagues who are not runners have even joined up and are walking their way around Australia!

My journey has seen me train and complete three full marathons, one 50km and numerous 21km, 10km and 5km events.  

Not long into my RDU journey I was officially diagnosed with MS after a long time of symptoms, tests, hospital stays and specialist appointments.  Whilst I was happy to finally have a diagnosis all I thought about that day was I want to keep running and I will finish RDU!  That goal is so close now.  I have had good years and not so good years and have done a lot more walking than running at times but still getting those km in!  I have learnt it is not a matter of how fast- its a matter of getting out there and doing what you can and as you say- it's your own race!

Bearing all that in mind, I have no specific date in mind to finish on.  I hope it is by the end of May, I will just see how my journey plays out in the next few weeks. Thanks for all your hard work you put into this and it has been an amazing experience which I do not want to end...